The days of supply-chain teams working in the same physical location are over for the foreseeable future. The hybrid and remote work environment is here to stay. And while that creates many benefits in terms of work-life balance, it also introduces challenges in terms of efficiency and social structure in the workforce.
When working with colleagues in such a dispersed way, now more than ever, it is important to have consistency in tools and unified platforms. We believe that, given its foundation of centralizing information collected from a wide array of sources for analytical purposes, working in supply-chain management is particularly affected by this hybrid work environment. Here are some tips for addressing these functional and social challenges.
As much as possible, everyone in a business should connect virtually to one another across the same platforms, whether it is Zoom, Google, Microsoft, or Slack. Working through identical platforms for communication allows for streamlined, real-time transfer of information, ideas, and dialog.
Next, and perhaps most importantly, you must look after your most important asset: your people. There is no water cooler for quick questions and answers. Here are a few tips to maintain that connection between employees.
- Managers should check in often with each team member to stay in-sync and prevent unexpected surprises. Organize 1:1 meetings for listening, asking questions, and assessing the emotional well-being of the individual.
- Activities that address the lonely experience of WFH can strengthen your team and business. Ideas could include creating a virtual break room, playing games that are not work-related, hosting a virtual cooking class, or show and tell can help employees forge stronger connections to each other.
- When working in a virtual environment, we see into each other’s lives more than ever. WFH essentially means we are invited into people’s homes and personal lives. We must respect each individual in this context and adjust meeting times and the overall workday to support every employee and maximize their potential.
Finally, let’s address functional and administrative challenges. Consistency in tools and unified information platforms is essential because it eliminates the inefficiencies created when incompatible outputs, formats, and data need to be combined and/or analyzed. From a business management perspective, teams must have their infrastructure—ERP, WMS, and TMS—operational from place.
UnitySCM can help you further achieve consistency by storing all your data in one place—a single source of truth—for a better understanding of your supply chain and its components to help you de-risk your operational processes, enhance stability, and improve visibility, regardless of the working environment: physical or virtual. When you digitize your operations, you will achieve maximum supply chain visibility and enable data sharing between both internal and external partners.
You can also create a supplier or vendor portal to provide external partners with a central location to enter supplier information, submit documents, display status, and centralize communication for everyone. Which takes us back to where we started: Clear and consistent communication comprise the foundations for successful remote work and business growth.
To learn more about UnitySCM or see a demo, contact us.