Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Exploding Myths and Exploring Resonances to Exploit Opportunities

Those myths and uncanny resonances

                                                  Image source:

Some myths around learning in the workplace and uncannily significant resonances between overseas and local research uncover significant opportunities for both the people and the organisations involved in Supply Chain Management. 

3 Preconceptions About Workplace Learning
According to Taub, three preconceptions which need to be managed in order to remove constraints in the path of successful training implementation are:

1.          People don’t have time for learning

People will make time, given the right motivation. As adults we are willing to invest in our learning and development — but only if convinced that it will improve our work performance, advance our careers and/ or enrich our lives. So, if it is clear that the training on which we are embarking will help us grow, evolve and stay marketable, the time will be available.

2.          Traditional training methods, like classroom training and even online courses no longer work

Whilst it is true that people, especially Gen Y’s, learn from a great deal more sources than previous generations, formally based training is very necessary:
  •       Where courses are based on registered qualifications delivered by accredited providers, the qualifications acquired are becoming increasingly important to the marketability not only of the individuals concerned but also the institutions which employ them.
  •       Formal courses which are structured in accordance with sound learning principles promote strategic thinking and impart problem solving abilities which are key in the Supply Chain Management environment.

It is however important to keep in mind that speed, simplicity and easy access are key to the success to any form of learning and it is here perhaps that academia has much to gain from studying these characteristics of less formal learning.

3.          The HR/ learning function owns responsibility for employee development

Once responsibility for learning is shared between the learning function, managers and individuals by building and managing a mentoring culture that empowers those in the workplace to discover and connect with the right people, experiences and resources, this is where effective training begins.
(Taub, 2016).

Where Should Our Training be focused?
Having established what works for workplace training, we find that there is an uncanny resonance between research carried out in the USA and the Barloworld Logistics supplychainforesight survey.

In the USA the leadership and professional competency requirements for future Supply Chain managers were found to be as follows:
  • Ability to negotiate and collaborate with value chain partners
  • Ability to collaborate across functions
  • Ability to drive or support diversity and inclusion
  • Strategic thinking and problem solving
  • Ability to manage global/ virtual teams
  • Ability to persuade and communicate effectively
  • Leading and developing others
(Melnyk, S. and Seftel, C.M., 2016: Quoting Deloitte’s Third Annual Supply Chain Survey 2015)

Looking at the 2015 supplychainforesight survey we find that, in order to achieve the key strategic Supply Chain objectives which were identified below, very similar competencies are needed:
  • Identifying and managing change
  • Growth and expansion into new markets
  • Increasing flexibility, agility and responsiveness
  • Sustaining existing areas of financial returns
  • Introducing new products and services
  • Using supply chain as more of a competitive advantage
  • Investment in business intelligence

(Frost & Sullivan. 2015: 17)

We can see that the role of Supply Chain Manager is moving from tactician to strategist. This represents huge opportunities for organisations which, in order to take full advantage of them, need to position themselves through effective, focussed training.

How do you promote learner engagement in your workplace training?

How is your workplace training aligned to or company strategy?

What competencies are needed to make your organisation more really fly?

Melnyk, S. and Seftel, C.M., 2016. The Emergence of the Supply Chain Leader: The Metamorphosis From Tactical To Strategic. Accessed 16 August 2016

Frost & Sullivan. 2015: supplychainforesight 2015: Embracing change for a sustainable future. Barloworld Logistics, Johannesburg