5 steps to supply change management success

addtoany linkedin

Working in supply chain means getting comfortable with change – changes in supply, changes in demand, changes in capacity, etc. The list is virtually endless. But supply change management isn’t just about dealing with unanticipated supply chain risks and adjustments. Sometimes, it means changing your business processes and company culture to stay afloat in a complex, digitized world. Sometimes, it means pushing outside your comfort zone and trying something new. Sometimes, it means updating outdated supply chain management systems and bringing in better technology. In any of those cases, especially that last one, achieving such a feat may seem daunting. But there is good news. There are things you can do to ensure you set yourself, your company and your team on a path to supply change management success. Vision: Create a compelling vision of the future, a roadmap outlining what successfully implementing the change means, and what your team should expect as a result. Develop a clear plan with scope, and support it with a firm business case. Follow it. Leadership: Recruit a respected leader to take overall responsibility for the change management efforts. Make it very clear this person isn’t responsible for detailed execution. Instead, this individual provides the vision, helps with decision support and resolves problems if needed. Support them. Team: Engage a team of motivated and respected individuals who represent the stakeholders and who will work with authority to implement change. Empower them. Stakeholders: Analyze the impact to the stakeholders from tool, process and organization perspectives. Engage them. Communicate: Structure communications to fit the needs of the stakeholders, including defined forums to discuss and validate ideas. Communications should be inclusive, promote alignment and offer opportunity for sign offs and veto authority. Use them. Incorporating all of these will help ensure your change management efforts are successful. It’s vital that all parties understand their specific roles and responsibilities. But you also have to make sure they have the necessary authority to carry out those duties. That is what allows people to take ownership of the defined changes and work to implement them. That is what empowers them and motivates them. That is what drives them to be champions of change in the future. And that means the good habits they learned in the process will carry you through the next time you need to implement any kind of change within your organization efficiently and effectively. Want to learn more about effective change management practices in your supply chain? Read our eBook, Five signs your supply chain needs to change and how to implement the change successfully.


Washington D. Meaks
- April 12, 2017 at 7:02am
Hey Alexa, very nice post! I would only add that it's crucial (on top of all you've mentioned) to establish a monitoring schedule to see whether the changes implemented are actually sticking with the team. I've seen a number of instances, where the change catches on after a few weeks but go 2 months in - and you'll see things are back to the old ways. It's my experience that all that's needed are 2 - 3 follow up meetings to ensure people are still aware that the new policies need to be applied. It's been well mentioned here: https://kanbantool.com/blog/change-management-focus-on-the-people - this may be a good complimentary read for your article.
- April 12, 2017 at 9:40am
Excellent point Washington! It's not a case of flipping the switch and hoping everyone continuously moves forward with the new processes. Change needs nurturing to allow it to grow and succeed.

Leave a Reply