To what extent are supply chain businesses compatible with teleworking?
In order to identify the degree of applicability of telework for the supply chain professions, let's try to classify them into three complementary categories…
This article was originally published by Camille Villard (Square) on eCommerceMag
Transportation strike, Covid-19. Two events that will disrupt our daily lives in 2020, democratizing the use of remote work. To what extent is teleworking applicable to supply chain businesses, and what solutions should be deployed to facilitate and make it possible?
Teleworking today, not at all compatible with certain jobs
In order to identify the degree of applicability of telework for supply chain professions, let's try to classify them into three complementary categories: firstly, those professions that are operational, carrying out processes and tasks "on the ground", with a daily repetition frequency. It is these activities that are closest to the product and physically ensure the operational management of short-term flows (e.g. order picker).
The second category represents all of the professions related to the piloting and local management of the activity. Compared to the first category, these jobs operate with a medium-term objective - weekly and monthly (e.g. sales forecasting). Finally, the third category includes activities related to medium-long term projects, with strategic thinking and support for the transformation of the processes and methods of the other two categories (e.g. software implementation projects or master plan).
The first category is the least able to work remotely because the physical presence of operational staff remains essential to ensure business continuity. The other two categories are more inclined to telework.
Teleworking more easily generalizable for piloting activities
When Emmanuel Macron the french president calls on companies to practice teleworking in March and again at the end of November 2020, an effort is however necessary for workers to be able to perform their tasks and assume their responsibilities within the organization. Collaborative work tools must be deployed to enable everyone to continue their activities. Special attention must also be paid to hardware - does each employee have a laptop and an effective connection - and to IT security to ensure the integrity of sensitive data.
Companies having invested in the past in digitalization solutions for their supply chain, in order to better control flows (traceability, dynamic stock management), will be favored insofar as each employee will have remote access to the vital information needed to maintain and manage the different components of its activity. In addition, companies that have implemented a successful S&OP (Sales & Operations Planning) process to achieve the right balance between resources (material/human) and customer demands, will be able to face crises with greater nimbleness and efficiency.
Indeed, a critical situation disrupts customer demand, making the estimation of the need complex but paramount. Demand planning teams, drawing on their experience in the industry but also on analytical tools, must be able to identify with a certain degree of reliability the necessary supply, and thus anticipate human resources management.
Challenged and discussed during daily meetings between the various internal departments, these estimates will set the pace for operational activities while allowing remote management. All of these management activities will prove to be just as essential a link as the operational activities. Remote management is therefore possible but greatly facilitated by investing in digital tools and processes such as S&OP.