Friday, August 25, 2017

Leadership Still Counts in Supply Chain

There is a lot of talk (even on this blog) about the cool and "sexy" technology being deployed in Supply Chain today. Things like block chain, robots, drones and apps to do just about everything are all the rage. However, it is my thesis that until and unless you get a full "lights out' warehouse, load control center, and planning department, leadership capability will still be the single competency you cannot do without.

You do not need block chain to run your supply chain (at least today).  However, try to run a 1m square foot warehouse or a sophisticated load control center without great leaders.  It cannot be done.  What do I mean when I say a great leader? It is simple and the good news is you don't need to be General Patton.  You do need to:

  1. Treat everyone with dignity and respect... always. 
  2. Help people look to leaders to solve problems not just point them out.
  3. Lead from the front and on the floor. You cannot be a great leader sitting in an office. In fact, ditch the office as it is too tempting to hide out there.
  4. Be visible always. If you have 3 shifts then you have to work third shift as much as you work first. If you can't or are unwilling to do that then you cannot lead a 3 shift operation. That simple.
  5. Communicate, communicate, communicate...  every day that goes by where you are not communicating, a gap is being created, a void appears and the associates fill the void with rumor and innuendo.

You have to have a true passion for the subject of leadership and study it like you would any other subject. Through some trial and error you can figure out what works. Finally, write down your personal leadership playbook. Keep it with you.

So,  as much as I love technology,  my travels,  observations and work tell me great leaders can get great results in almost any environment. Go out and lead!!!  You will be surprised at what great things can happen!

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