Key ways supply chain managers can help control the human element


Supply Chain Management Human ElementThe processes behind supply chain management are varied and complicated. Best practices consist of a variety of vital technology acquisitions and shrewd management decisions. CFO Magazine contributor Shawn Casemore recently gave a list of examples and recommended courses of action that can transform and improve logistics processes.

While automation is a powerful ally in making a supply chain work, the performance of human employees will seemingly always be important.


Making sure workers on the supply chain can communicate their current status and work closely in tandem is an important mark of strong management. Communication breakdowns can have dire consequences. According to Casemore, the recent near-collision of airplanes at Reagan Washington International airport was attributable to weak contact and problems following regulations.

In addition to clear communication, Casemore noted that organizations should be absolutely certain which employees are responsible for certain processes. He stated that determining culpability can be a long-term process without a strong structure in place.


Making sure processes are refreshed regularly - and not taught just once - is one other improvement process suggested by Casemore. He stated that managers sometimes believe that simply organizing a training session and making workers sit through it is something that will improve those employees' productivity. In his opinion, the processes needed by supply workers should be frequently refreshed in follow-up sessions. Rather than simply learning what to do, workers will have the right processes consistently reinforced under a variety of circumstances and situations

New leaders

One of the things that could be surprising about the supply chain is not which procedures are being followed, but which corporate officer is taking the lead. Biztech2 recently posited that the IT department can become a force in logistics. Supply chain management is indeed heavily software-driven in modern companies. Everything from B2B integration systems to improve communication to human resources databases can lead to a new people management status quo for the supply chain.

Gartner research director Vikas Sarangdhar told the news provider that CIOs can help their supply chain-based colleagues in important ways as long as they are knowledgeable about the firm's needs and maturity level. Some software will be to sophisticated for certain organizations and other programs too general. An IT infrastructure with a working knowledge of logistics needs can make an immediate difference.