Using Design Thinking to drive SC Innovation
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We should see the Supply Chain Management (SCM) as a team. Its success depends on a working party pulling together towards a common goal and operating through a collaborative alignment.
Like all teams, SCM teams demand coaches giving clear rule-definition; it might have coincidences with some player but might not have similarities with others, no matter they are a team.
The Supply Chain (SC) must be a team; however, cracks prevail in many companies, e.g. when an organisation tries to automate or digitalise processes without the consensus of all partakers, or not even a training workshop for all staff members.
Leaders could fail the whole company project of innovation if they do not count on a Design Thinking approach to bring innovation to teams pursuing SC excellence.
Design Thinking process: Understand – Create – Deliver
“Design Thinking is a process for creative problem-solving. It has a human-centred core that encourages organisations to concentrate on people they are forming, which leads to better products, services, and internal processes.” (Ideo)
The human-centred element works by defining personas, starting a solution development roadmap, creating empathy for the end-user, and improving results. Still, problems arise when you do not have the end-user in mind and instead favour the requirements of individuals working aside from the team.
Many companies currently operate the old way through silos; they struggle to comprehend others roles outside their functions and ignore collaborative work to move forward together. The result is a complete lack of SC excellence clear definition.
How to achieve success?
· Always remember the need for rules, clear metrics and goal clarity.
· You need a skilled leader who gives the group the chance to fail, learn from errors, and clearness to go forward looking for success.
· Design Thinking within the SC centres on the leader’s capability to pinpoint the game’s rules.
· Empathy must begin defining how the team needs to work to succeed, not for individual interests.
· Design Thinking goes hand-in-hand with the edge-technology approach.
· Manage the power of visualisation to support your team comprehend the leverage of making, sourcing, delivering and its implications.
· Use ‘what-if’ analysis and simulation to educate the management team constantly.
· Help the company to better line up operations throughout the designing of guidelines in S&OP.
· Concentrate on how the personas require to work together as a team in the performance of playbooks.
· Use this assessment as an educational occasion to help the management team better comprehend what is needed to line up the roles within the organisation.
· Contrast SC excellence clarity against the strategy. Design Thinking working-team should look at how it can work together to deliver these outcomes.
SC teams function in packages, accordingly to their roles and experience of current technology. Getting out of these responsibilities could be intimidating; occasionally, the personnel feel afraid to fail the job if they break the rules. A variation from the known to the unknown is just too uneasy. To move forwards, the team requires first to attempt a sequence of innovative actions that are not tied up. This Design allows the employee to focus on business outcomes and not only on the technology process.
It is challenging to get business leaders with SCM knowhow to learn, unlearn, and change direction to its full potential. The SCs executive’s idea already known could be a significant obstruction to modernisation and effective leadership.
Top business concerns in Sales & Operation Planning
· SC visibility.
· Cross-functional alignment.
· Demand and supply volatility.
· Ability to use data.
· Organisational change management.
· Executive team understanding of the SC.
· Availability of skilled staff to do the job.
· Software usability.
· Increasing speed of business.
· Management of value network relationships.
· Empathy means leaders must focus first on the team’s desired using the heart.
Innovation, globalisation, product quality, supplier reliability, business strategy clarity, increasing regulations and compliance. However, the current concern is Risk Management. (Supply Chain Insights, 2019.)
Further comments: use Design Thinking to transform your SCM into a team play whilst helping employees overcome obstacles concerning today’s technology.
Is the Design Thinking approach a valuable tool to align your SC team?