When you think about innovative organizations, you probably think of Silicon Valley and its IT companies, or advertising agencies and other creative firms. But there’s no reason a supply chain company/organization can’t be just as innovative. It’s not so much what you make or do at a company, it’s how you run your business.
Let’s consider the Silicon Valley. Why are so many of the Bay Area’s companies considered innovative? Because they were early adopters of once-new concepts such as communicating with customers and developing programs to accommodate employee needs. Paying attention to the needs of both groups paid off—in high levels of alignment between their employees and their business strategies and goals. This approach can be used by any business.
Another way supply chain companies/organizations can embrace innovation? Make sure your technology team is involved in your business strategy. Technology is always changing and evolving, and organizations that can evolve their business goals in response to those changes will find themselves growing—and often moving ahead of the competition.
Does your company’s culture support innovation and creativity?
Do you allow your employees to share new ideas and approaches? The traditional approach rewards people who are producing regular, predictable outcomes and profits. Encouraging more creativity and innovation means easing up on control and messing with the status quo. This can make some leaders uncomfortable. But innovative companies understand that creative solutions can improve existing products and services and allow employees to accomplish more with less money.
Think about your own supply chain organization. Does the culture support creativity and ideas or does it shun them? Are failures and mistakes viewed as learning experiences or horror stories?
What needs to change?
If you want your company to break free of the traditional mold, change needs to start at the top. Management needs to take the first step toward cultivating a more innovative workplace by offering ways for employees to share new ideas and offering support for them. If you think about the old-fashioned suggestion box, what would the point be if the ideas were either not read or simply discarded? Employees need to know that it’s okay to toss out ideas, and that management encourages and appreciates their efforts.
Speaking of that suggestion box, how else can employees communicate their ideas? Schedule regular brainstorming meetings or set up an intranet – places where you can encourage open discussion.
Adapt to Survive
Changing to a more innovative culture is a progression. It begins with an adjustment, in leadership and employee attitudes. It may require an organizational shift—to one that is receptive and open to new processes instead of always doing things the same way. The company’s culture must support ideas and creativity in its day-to-day operations, and in its policy and actions, from the top down.
Making those changes and finding the right employees to carry them out can be as easy as contacting ZDA. We know the industry inside and out and can always find the right supply chain candidates to help your organization grow.