Birch draws on the example of Euclid’s Five Postulates to suggest a similar, if less mathematical, approach to human relations in the workplace, especially as it relates to supply-chain forecasters and planners. “As complex as people try to make it,” he says, “there really are some very simple ideas on how to act.”
The first is the observation that people are always trying to make their jobs easier. It’s not a question of laziness – “very hard-working, diligent people still try.” The goal is to take out the extraneous parts of the job. Managers should back those efforts.
Second is the fact that employees do the jobs for which they’re paid. “People don’t come to work just for fun,” Birch says. “You’ve got to motivate them as to how they do their job.” That goal becomes difficult to meet when employees don’t know exactly what’s expected of them.
Third is the simple observation that people will always avail themselves of things that are free. That can be a problem for supply-chain forecasters and planners, however, whose time is often viewed as unlimited. As a result, they find increasing demands placed on them.
It’s essential that managers understand the viewpoints of their employees, says Birch. In addition, they need to know the capabilities of their staff, with a full understanding of what workers can and cannot do.
The number one theme in an organization, says Birch, should be communication. “Most demand planners are not a one-man shop,” he says.
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, inventory management, logistics management, supply chain planning, retail supply chain, supply chain jobs