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The most important determinant of success between competing supply chains is people, says Ron Crabtree, president of MetaOps. Competitors can buy the same equipment and the same technology, but people and the relationships they build with supply-chain partners are the "ultimate differentiator," he says.
This knowledge should lead companies to adopt a people-centric model that integrates people skills and change management into every phase of the business, he says. For every change or strategy a company wants to implement, "it should ask, who has to buy into these changes and what skills are needed to make it happen?" says Crabtree. "If we can identify the people skills that are needed and communicate effectively about the right things- which includes measures and controls and aligning goals-and pull people together in an inclusive, engaging and rewarding way, and then integrate that with best practices, you have a real winner."
This model has to start with the top executives in an organization, he says. "Top management has to be clear about where they want the company to be and they have to be able to state that in measurable terms." Second, they have to understand where the company is today and, third, they have to do a cultural assessment to understand such things as employees' viewpoints on teamwork, cooperation, accountability and metrics, Crabtree says. "Getting people to agree to change is the hard part."
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