Opinions and perspectives are vital determinants of decisions in all walks of life. They are physically invisible but manifest themselves through decisions which create physical effects. Democritus, the ancient Greek scholar popularly known as the ‘laughing philosopher’ said, “Nothing exists except atoms and empty space, everything else is opinion”. Thus, the fundamental commonality in existence apart, the reality of differentiation between individuals is the diversity of their opinions and perspectives. History abounds with demonstrations of such diversity. There are autocratic leaders as there are democratic and there are optimists as there are pessimists. Like in politics, administration, trade, economics, art and culture, there are differing opinions and perspectives in business and supply chain as well.
Opinions and perspectives often get packaged as experiences which they actually are not, simply because they are limited by the role, information and the cognitive capabilities of the individual in the specific set of circumstances, organizational setup and supply chain ambit. The variability of these limits creates differences in perspectives. And these differences often create kinks and knots in the supply chain impeding business growth.
Some of the common perspectives in business and supply chain are time, cost, revenue, brand, company, market, supply, demand, consumption, customer, global, regional, local, role, business, compliance, process, operational, product, functional, technical, dependency, risk, profitability, accounting, investment, economic and strategic. The sum total of varying combinations of these perspectives determines the quantum of value generated by business. They compete, combat and compel leaders to make decisions which influence business and its supply chain. And these are just some!
Analysis of various perspectives is a stepping stone towards taking a holistic approach in managing supply chains. And a result of such analyses to produce an intended effect which would be greater than the sum of all such results as individual perspectives would produce, is Synergy of Perspectives. It is the acme of collaboration, co-ordination and communication achieving greatest productivity.
Synergy of perspectives gives organizations a vision. It guides them in formalizing and executing on a strategy for that vision to turn into physical reality. Synergy of perspectives also gives employees and all entities in the supply chain the empowerment of inclusion and a clear visibility of the concessions they may need to make as risk mitigation measures. A communication plan further increases that clarity and helps develop the required patience resulting into higher employee motivation and enhanced performance.
Business and supply chain professionals are valued and compensated for their skills, experiences and achievements. All of these, however, products of their perspective of supply chain. Their approach, therefore, is bound to be bound by their perspectives. This constraint is further stiffened by the rules of hierarchy and culture of conduct in the organization they serve. Therefore, bringing about synergy of perspectives often becomes a herculean task for the employees operating within an organization, no matter their role or position of power.
For achieving synergy of perspectives, organizations should partner with external consultants, who can guide with their vast experience, proven subject matter expertise, articulation of problems, valuable inputs in designing and implementing practical solutions to those problems, analytical abilities and clear unbiased perspectives. They are best positioned to interact, communicate and work closely with all stakeholders at various levels in the organizational hierarchy. They can help formulate strategy, plan and help execute on it and monitor, review, revise and control the entire process at every stage.
As supply chains continue to rapid expand in scope, size and serviceability, need for retaining skills and boosting employee morale through empowerment increases. Companies strive to gain and retain competitive advantage through increased customer satisfaction and to expand their market share through increased revenue. The only way to remain competitive in markets getting flooded and rapidly saturated with products from a host of manufacturers across the world, is through constant innovation. New perspectives are the seeds of this indispensable innovation. And newer the perspectives, greater the need for synergy.
Ring in the New Year with new ideas, new opinions, new products, new skills and new opportunities – all through synergy of new perspectives.