Intergenerational Supply Chain leadership transition is driving great opportunity that can easily be seen as a potential threat, and as such is becoming a key executive concern. This three-part article will explore the what and how of managing this process. We will focus on how to bridge the intergenerational gap and build effective, diverse teams that can co-exist and flourish together in Part 1. Key to creating this culture is to take another look at the primary responsibility of young leaders, experienced subject matter experts which is discussed in part 2 and the role HR plays as a change agent and arbiter, senior leadership’s challenge and required commitment to change will be discussed in Part 3.
A future that already is shaping
It is critical to understand where Supply Chain headed before we understand why managing intergeneration gap is a key concern.
- Social connectivity—Younger leaders typically are more data agile and fluent than their older counterparts. They use social media as a medium to listen to the unfiltered views of the end consumer. These views provide valuable insights that drive rapid product and process innovation. User insights coupled with today’s powerful analytics is key to spotting trends, creating fine segmentation and devising novel supply chain responses & value creation strategies. Social data streams also are having a dramatic effect on talent acquisition by communicating opportunities across a wide audience in very compressed time frames. Your company’s reputation also is in play as social media forums can communicate both positive and negative messages about the culture, practices and health of your firm.
- Expansive, inclusive Supply Chains—While many organizations embrace seamless flow of information within the enterprise, they restrict, delay, adulterate or dumb down information to key value chain partners. This stunts the collaboration potential that could be realized if all constituents had access to “same” information in real time. Transparency and access to information by all partners (suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, etc.) provides a major opportunity for collaboration as a result of end-to-end connectivity.
- Real time visibility & Pervasiveness—Perhaps the most underestimated power of social media, instant access to world events, allows agile Supply Chain practitioners the ability to react to opportunities and threats in real time. Top performing Sourcing and Procurement organizations are particularly plugged to these networks.
- Retiree Friendly Programs—Large well known corporations like IBM, MetLife, P&G, Home Depot and Verizon already have started to implement the new retiree friendly programs and services. Such programs create exciting new opportunities for retirees who want to work, provide value and leverage their skills. Companies are implementing such programs to not only address shrinking knowledge labor pool, but also using to create a learning culture and address developmental needs of young generation.
- Digitization of Supply Chain—Much talked about for more than a decade, digitization of supply chains is coming to life. Thanks to confluence of technology; understanding of supply chain importance and the attraction of talent. We are seeing the increasingly clever use of people, process and technology which behaves like social media popularly referred to as “Systems of Engagement” complementing your ERP. Such technologies are providing real time visibility; rules based proactive management of materials movement; focus on revenues & profits versus cost alone. There is cross-pollination of ideas, philosophy, assets and technology across industries borders that are creating very different looking, agile and hybrid supply chain responses to meet customer demand.