When Succession Intersects Supply Chain Planning
Managing Changing Market Dynamics AND Changes in Workforce Resources
By Clay Thomas, Principal SCMO2
Is this merely coincidence? Or is it a thing?
Today I was reading about potential modifications to retirement planning regulations due to a changing workforce. And then heard a customer’s Supply Chain Vice President discuss how their new supply chain tool must align with the expectation that their users may only stay in their roles for two or three years.
Within the past decade, we frequently have customers cite an aging workforce nearing retirement as a catalyst to move off old-school spreadsheets and modernizing on an enterprise planning platform. They want to institutionalize that intelligence before the knowledge walks out the door. But—if you are to believe the Department of Labor statistics—capturing the business knowledge of Baby Boomers may even be eclipsed by work patterns expected from Millennials and younger generations in the American workforce.
So what does that mean to our supply chains?
The average American worker is expected to change jobs 10-15 times in their career. At the same time, supply chains are expected to accommodate ever-shortening lead-times and tight, vertical, partner integration. Putting in place a platform that is set up to absorb a regular rotation of users is just as important (if not more so) than capturing all the different ways your retiring workforce is used to working.
Interestingly, when looking at the situation from this perspective, what is usually perceived as a shortcoming of cloud planning platforms—less customization of the core product—is now a potential strength. The flexibility of the tool is focused on its presentation and visibility of how data is manipulated, making business processes a framework rather than a rigid set of steps. With a could platform, your company will be much better positioned to rotate users in and out of the process without significant onboarding and offboarding ramps.
When we talk with customers about transforming their supply chain planning through implementation of the SAP IBP tool, we look to formulate roles and processes that leverage the newer capabilities when configuring the planning structure, best practices and cross-pollination of approaches from one industry to another. Our training and documentation reflect a non-static state that should make knowledge transfer and changing definitions easier to sustain organizationally.
How easily is your supply chain planning able to adapt? Not only are you challenged by changing market dynamics, but changes in the resources who are operating your supply chain. That reality is already here.