Thursday, September 23, 2010

Succeed in technology by connecting with people

People issues are tougher than technology issues, and supply chain professionals tend to underestimate people issues, observe Reuben E. Slone, J. Paul Dittmann, and John T. Mentzer in The New Supply Chain Agenda ( The authors rue that supply chain experts, when asked what it takes to successfully implement initiatives, frequently say that it simply requires excellent analysis and a good project plan. “Many technically-oriented people don’t gravitate naturally to the softer issues of communication planning and organisational buy-in. Yet failures in these areas are at the root of many initiative failures.”

Among the many examples given in the book is one about a firm installing a warehouse management system which ran into a roadblock causing the project to shut down for several months. The biggest mistake, as the project manager realised later was the focus on the technical tasks, figuring that the people stuff could come later. “She failed to recognise that resistance was building as her team worked in a vacuum. With no communication, the management staff people who operated the warehouse felt totally outside the loop. Their anxiety increased exponentially.”

It was not that the changes were bad, the authors explain. But the fear of the unknown can be a powerful force, they caution. In this case, that emotion grew and spread as the project proceeded with little communication, and when it was nearly time to go live, the backlash was so strong that it was impossible to proceed.

Full report here Hindu

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