Culture fix for supply chain issues

Written by chellie

July 19, 2023

Data, streamlining processes and benchmarking are words you normally associate with improving supply chain issues. However, there’s one word that I think a lot of people leave out and that’s culture.

Culture is what causes things to get done inside an organization. Culture can both hinder and improve your supply chain. I speak directly to building what I call a V.A.L.U.E. Culture inside your organization. It’s a culture that has its foundation in 5 area – vision and value, accountability, leadership, uniqueness of the people, and engagement.

Supply chain and culture

When you’re specifically looking at supply chain issues, you can tie accountability, leadership, your people, and engagement directly to the problem or problems you might be having. I believe you can also see elements of vision and value in there as well. 

Just look at these issues Supply Chain Management Review listed as hinderances to a strong supply chain. They tie directly to culture issues in the workplace.

  • Lack of collaboration. 46%
  • Process requirements. 38%
  • Lack of workforce engagement. 35%
  • Communication challenges 34%
  • Too many changes – change management 32%
  • Knowledge is hard to access. 28%

As a leader, you can use culture building to turn these hinderances into opportunities. How? I’m glad you asked.

Empower employees to be decision makers

Start with empowering your employees to make decisions. Your employees want to feel valued and part of the success plan. When you encourage employees to think for themselves, to consider what is best for the customer and the organization’s best interests, you are making them feel like a valued part of the process.

But how will you know if they’ll make the right decisions?

When you’ve built a strong culture based on a clear set of values and expected behaviors, your team members know to use the values and behaviors as a guide in their decision making.

You can start small by establishing boundaries for their decisions before approval needs to be received, and as employees prove their ability to make great decisions, you can move that line higher and higher. Trust is a two-way street. Both parties win when you can lean into the fact that trust has been established on both sides of the desk.

Build connections and engagement

Help your employees connect their personal or career values with the relationships of the vendors, organization, and end user. When you do, you’ll have a more engaged employee. Someone who cares what is going on.

When employees care what’s happening, they become problem-solvers. They become concerned with building customer satisfaction. They care about their teammates. The look for solutions.

Recognition goes a long way

Employees thrive when they are given recognition. That doesn’t always have to come in the form of more money. You can recognize innovative thinking or recognize the effort they put into problem solving. Being recognized in front of their peers and upper management is very impactful.

A simple thank you is often all it takes to make someone feel appreciated. Employees want to know that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed. When someone achieves a goal or completes a big project, they feel a rush of achievement and you can amplify that when you recognize what they have accomplished in front of others.

This recognition motivates employees to do more. It helps them develop an emotional connection to the workplace and it will fuel them on future projects. Recognition is one of the top drivers of employee engagement which comes from building a V.A.L.U.E. Culture.

Listening goes a long way

Leaders must practice active listening across the facility.  Good lines of communication should extend between all management levels. It adds to the level of trust and collaboration.  It creates transparency that employees crave. Get out of your office and mix with employees. Visit other areas of the company and get insights and ideas you might not have thought of.  Collaboration and the willingness to hear new ideas and get new perspectives can go a long way in helping you overcome issues supply chains create.

You also need to listen to your vendors. Trust me, they don’t sit in their office thinking of ways they can keep the materials you need to get your work done. They aren’t making money if you aren’t making money. Invest in those relationships. Don’t just have conversations with them when something is wrong. Build solid connections during good times, so your vendors will be more willing to go the extra mile for you in bad times.

Final thoughts

Think of the supply chain as part of your whole workplace ecosystem. Are you willing to try and find solutions, are you willing to test ideas? Do you see the connection between building strong cultures and a more dependable supply chain?

People follow what the leader does – not says. A command-and-control style of leadership can have undermining effects on collaboration.

Does your current culture resist change? That’s probably due to a lack of trust or security. Strong culture helps you respond to rapid change while keeping you aligned with your strategy and leadership goals. It shows employees there is opportunity for Learning, growth, collaboration, innovation, flexibility, creativity

Visit my website and click the pink download now button. You’ll get instant access to my Create An Engaged Workforce Checklist – you can also my book – Culture Secrets: Secrets Leaders Use to Build a V.A.L.U.E. Culture

If you want more secrets to building a successful career brand, you can:

Listen to the Culture Secrets Podcast on your favorite platform.

Grab your copy of the book Culture Secrets.

Join Successfully Ever After  an online course designed to help you create a personal brand designed with career success in mind within 30 days.

Booking now for speaking and training events.

Join my private Successfully Ever After Facebook Group for trainings and information designed for success-seekers.

Check out my audio books: Get Noticed, Get Hired or When In Doubt, Delete It!

Think career coaching is for you? Schedule a consultation and let’s talk!

You May Also Like…