Monday, 17 August 2015

Key to Business Sustainability – Beating the Commoditisation Trap

Transforming your ticket to the game into business sustainability

These days the ability to provide a 3rd party logistics service (freight management, freight forwarding, contract logistics etc.) is simply a ticket to the game: it may open doors, but it puts the business in the commodity space, where the lowest price wins.

Leveraging the whole picture for sustainability
If the people in your organisation have the tools to speak the language of Supply Chain Management and to offer solutions across the whole supply chains of your customers then you are adding huge value: monetising that value is what will sustain your business.

To attain such an objective implies radical changes at a strategic level: sustainable 3rd party logistics providers have the ability to collaborate with others in building end to end solutions and the ability to integrate systems so that the implementation of such solutions is seamless and transparent down to the last nut and bolt in every transaction.

It is the people within your organisation who must be empowered to make all of this happen and in this context it is those responsible for training who are the critical change agents in such a transformation.

From the training manager’s point of view, for such a transformation to be successful, it needs to take place at all levels. The whole of your company needs to have an awareness of supply chain management terminology and its role in your customers’ respective supply chains, people at operation level need to have certain foundational competencies in the different aspects of supply chain collaboration and integration, those at supervisory and operations management level need to be proficient in these areas whilst those at, or aspiring to be, senior managers need to be experts.

To bring your company to these levels is not cheap and the secret to cost effective training interventions lies in establishing firstly the specific competencies required and then what is already available within your organisation.

Just as the 3rd party logistics provider needs to use consultative selling techniques to find out exactly what the customer wants and to tailor solutions to meet those needs, so you need a training provider to work with you in mapping your organisation’s competency needs and how these should be met. Such solutions must be structured to meet individual needs down to study unit level and to make use of the best blend of face to face and elearning methodologies. For honing the sword of your company’s ability to stand out in the crowd, at least some of these solutions will need to be developed and delivered in house.  

For successful training programme development and maximum delivery impact it is essential that those responsible for training act as the bridge between your organisation’s departments its training providers.

For the person who will act as this connection, these are some tactics for building the bridge to your business units:

Obtain copies of annual reports, strategy documents, team meeting minutes or notes, and any other documents that can give you a sense of what is important to the business.

Participate in team and/ or strategic meetings and invite line managers or supervisors to join you for meals;

Show an interest in the business and their challenges by asking questions which will help you understand their language and speak it.

Above all, ensure that the impact of your training programmes is evaluated, both immediately and some time after delivery and that the data so obtained is used to continually improve your and your training provider’s programmes.

The key to building bridges is to first establish each individual’s needs in relation to the organisation’s strategy. Training interventions need to be prioritised in terms of the needs of the business, not your training department.

How does your company rate as a provider of solutions as opposed to a deliverer of services?

Does your whole company speak the language of supply chain management or is there still much work to be done?

Is the lack of skills a constraint to your company’s growth? If so, how can you address this?
Would you classify your company as a mover of cargo or a manager of inventory whilst at rest or in motion? Are you comfortable with this?

Your input will be much valued. Please join the discussion