Supply Chain Culture Clash – What can companies do to achieve synergy within organizations working towards the same goal?

Supply Chain Management (SCM) has been a ‘buzz term’ for a few decades, and its importance is vital. However it is unrealistic to assume that all companies operate the same way, share the same vision and agree on the same values. Therefore, how can companies manage a supply chain culture clash?

First and foremost, it is necessary to understand what culture is and its importance. Simplistically, organizational culture can be defined as ‘how employees act when the boss is not around’, and most importantly, ‘how do they react when the boss is around?’ – Organizational Culture delineates how personnel respond to negative situations; hence, it has great influence on organizational performance and long-term viability.

If the supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, all companies involved should understand culture and actively collaborate in efforts to reach the desired synergy. Supply Chain transparency and collaboration are imperative parts of the ever-changing supply chain and culture machines. But how do we know if cultures will collide?

Culture assessments can be done through Human Synergistics Organizational Culture Inventory® in combination with the Customer ServiceStyles to bring to light deep understanding of cultures’ inconsistencies, compatibilities, and what needs to be addressed to ensure synergy. These assessments unlock the potential for effective change that will lead to increased supply chain quality.

These world-class tools analyse and provide insight into how the culture looks like, and how they want it to look like. It is encouraged that companies assess their own Customer ServiceStylesTM, and find out how their culture can be impacting their business’ relationships.

Supply chain management stresses that the success of your supplier depends on yours, which depends on your clients’; and vice-versa. Instead, businesses have been focused on competing against each other and out-performing other companies; even though this may be hurting their overall long-term viability and negatively impacting their own markets.

It is important to keep in mind that these efforts are managing future rewards. Bringing together unequaled cultures generates friction and instability in the short-term; however, managers and leaders should recognize that the organizational culture road is long and continuous and research has found to be positively linked with long-term organizational performance. A successful supply chain realizes that companies depend on the accomplishment of each other; and thus, are working towards the same goal.

In a globalized world, there is no question that culture clash is a challenge. Be mindful of whom you do business with, certify that interests are aligned and that collaboration exists throughout the entire chain, and that all are working towards a constructive supply chain culture.

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