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Don't Let People Be Your Weakest Supply Chain Link

People are the supply chain's biggest asset, but human resource investments often come in a distant third to investments in technology and processes. Simphiwe Mbonambi, senior director of supply chain planning at Eskom, explains why it is critical for companies to ignite the hearts and passions of their employees.

While most companies say that people are their biggest assets, few actually demonstrate that in terms of the investments they make, says Mbonambi. "Huge investments typically go into systems and processes, but not so much attention is paid to the people component."

There is an unwanted flip side to that coin, she adds. "If companies are investing in strengthening systems and improving processes and not investing in people, it only stands to reason that people will become the weakest link," she says.

Managing talent is the biggest challenge facing supply chain leaders today because it is difficult "to really place a finger on what motivates employees - how do we tap into the passions and hearts of the people we are managing?" Gartner Group's top 25 supply chain companies offer a few clues, she says. "One factor that stands out is that leaders in these companies are engaging people's hearts and linking individual creativity not only to organizational goals but also to bigger aspirational objectives," says Mbonambi. "It is becoming increasingly important for managers to really look at what makes people tick and to engage the whole human being, not just the resource that is employed to do the work."

Supply chain leaders can remain leaders only as long as they have followers, "so you have to get your people to come along with you on this journey to supply chain excellence," she says. "To do this you must ignite their hearts, making sure work is not only about day-to-day execution, but is linked to bigger social goals and objectives that can inspire the passion of your talent."

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Keywords: Supply chain, supply chain management, supply chain management scm, logistics & supply chain, supply chain jobs, supply chain solutions, supply chain planning

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