It's one thing to design and build the most pragmatic, fit-for-purpose and innovative supply chain(s) for your business, but in the end it's all about the implementation. if your still looking to use traditional antiquated training and implementation practices your investment could have better be spend on other areas.
It's therefore critical to introduce innovative and dynamic training methods that include components like experiential learning, simulations, case studies, cross-functional training, continuous learning programs, and leverage technology-enabled training platforms, to ensure your supply chain innovations create the biggest possible positive impact. It's imperative for organisations to optimise supply chain operations, ensuring seamless coordination, cost effectiveness, efficiency, and innovation while driving sustainable growth and customer satisfaction across your supply chain(s).
5 reasons to abandon traditional training practices and adopt innovative supply chain training models
Complex and Evolving Nature of Supply Chains: Supply chain management is a complex, evolving and dynamic field that involves multiple internal and external stakeholders, processes, ways-of-working, practices, and technologies. Supply Chain training programs should adopt a 70-20-10 Learning & Development approach to enable supply chain innovation specialists to assess, adjust, and enhance the supply chain innovations to meet the organisation's skill levels, experience and knowledge. Working hand-in-hand with supply chain innovation specialists assist in overcoming these complexities, and find on-the-spot solutions that can directly be adopted. As traditional training programs often provide static, standardised (class-room) content that doesn't adequately address the intricacies and real-world challenges of supply chain management, these training programs often are effective for a couple of months, instead of years.
Lack of Practical Application: Traditional training programs focus on theoretical supply chain concepts and principles without sufficient emphasis on its practical application. Supply chain innovation requires hands-on experience, skills and expertise in embedding fit-for-purpose and pragmatic supply chain innovations across the end-to-end supply chain management model. Introducing your aspirational supply chain requires the team to make (design) decisions in real-time, considering the various variable such as demand and supply fluctuations, inventory management challenges, transportation/ 3PL logistics, and supplier relationships.
Rapidly Changing Technology: Supply chain management is greatly influenced by technology. Introducing fit-for-purpose technological advancements, such as automation, artificial intelligence/ machine learning, and pro-active/ forward-looking data analytics, is key to an effective and long-term supply chain management model. It's critical that on-the-ground supply chain staff members understand how to make technology work for them (instead of being led by the latest shiny objects). Traditional training programs often don't keep pace with the evolving SCM technology landscape, leading to a knowledge gap and outdated supply chain practices.
Interdisciplinary Nature: Close coordination and collaboration has become one of the most important requirements for supply chains to be sustainable, resilient and cost effective. Understanding the importance of collaboration across different functions and departments within an organisation, as well as with its external partners, requires to be nurtured and understood. It's crucial to ensure that the supply chain participants (internal/ external) are part of a training program that creates a holistic, effective and fit-for-purpose continuous improvement model. Traditional training programs often focus on specific functional areas, such as procurement or logistics, without providing a holistic understanding of the interconnectedness of the supply chain.
(Global) Supply Chain Challenges: In today's interconnected global economy, supply chains are increasingly complex and span across multiple countries and regions. Any supply chain innovative solution requires to be "validated" in the "live supply chain organisation". The various "variables" are often unpredictable and can't be easily trained through a pre-defined training program. This is why the 70-20-10 Learning & Development is a value-based training model that is able to continuously adapt to these challenges. A traditional training programs does not adequately address the unique challenges of global supply chain management, such as cultural differences, regulatory compliance (Medical, Food & Beverage, etc.), geopolitical risks, and international trade dynamics.
That's why we always encourage organisations to continue to partner with their supply chain innovation specialists and adopt more innovative and dynamic training approaches to enable you to embed your aspirational supply chain.
Our suggested innovative supply chain training methods
Simulation Exercises: Conducting simulated exercises allows employees to gain practical experience in a risk-free environment. We often create supply chain scenarios using a L&D software or physical models that mimic real-world situations. These simulations help employees understand the impact of their decisions on the supply chain and encourage innovative thinking.
Gamification: Introduce gamified training modules to engage employees and make the learning process more interactive (very effective for low-skilled employees). Design supply chain-related games or challenges that require participants to apply innovative strategies to solve problems. This approach promotes active learning and can be an effective way to foster creativity and collaboration.
Cross-Functional Collaboration: Encourage employees from different departments to collaborate on supply chain innovation projects. Arrange workshops or hackathons where individuals with diverse skill sets can come together to brainstorm ideas, develop prototypes, and implement innovative solutions. This hands-on approach enhances communication, promotes knowledge sharing, and fosters a culture of innovation.
Job Rotation and Work Shadowing: Allow employees to rotate through different roles within the supply chain to gain a holistic understanding of the processes involved. This hands-on experience helps individuals identify areas for improvement and innovation. Additionally, implementing work shadowing programs enables employees to learn directly from experienced supply chain professionals, fostering practical skills development.
Site Visits and Supplier Engagements: Organise site visits to key suppliers, warehouses, or distribution centers to provide employees with a firsthand experience of the supply chain operations. By witnessing the challenges and opportunities on-site, employees are able to generate ideas for innovation and understand the practical implications of implementing changes.
Continuous Learning and Upskilling: Offer ongoing training/ learning and development opportunities to keep employees updated on the latest supply chain trends, technologies, and innovative practices. Implement e-learning platforms, webinars, or workshops to provide accessible and flexible training options. This enables employees to acquire new skills and knowledge, which can be applied to supply chain innovation initiatives.
Pilot Projects and Experiments: Encourage employees to undertake small-scale pilot projects to test and refine innovative ideas before full implementation. These hands-on experiences allow for iterative learning, risk mitigation, and identification of potential challenges early on. Employees learn best from failures and successes, enhancing their ability to implement supply chain innovation effectively.
Depending on the organisation, we have used these 7 training methods - or combinations of these - to effectively introduce the fit-for-purpose, pragmatic and sustainable supply chain innovation. Additionally, our team has extensive experience in providing ongoing professional development and learning opportunities to supply chain professionals to keep them up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in their industry.