Manufacturers are facing an unprecedented challenge to deliver their products to the end user. Two main issues keep managers awake: not having enough people and the persistent supply chain issues. We spoke to Rich Diaz, CEO & President at Catena Solutions, about the challenges of manufacturing organisations, how supply chains are performing and the possible solutions.
‘Supply chain issues are really overshadowing everything else,’ Rich Diaz begins. At the same time, the disruption has provided an opportunity to reimagine the way supply chains work. Diaz is optimistic that organisations will come out of the crisis more efficient.
‘I believe we will do some good and make an impact for generations to come,’ Diaz comments, looking specifically at the drive towards ESG and more sustainable supply chains. Supply chains are not only becoming more optimised but they are actually actively making the world around them better.
One of the big trends witnessed in recent years is the move from Just-in-Time to Just-in-Case.
One of the ways efficiency and success will be measured is customers’ satisfaction. ‘We all wait for a long time to get our orders and if they end up coming wrong, then companies will not be able to keep their customers,’ Diaz explains. Customers are being put in the centre of the supply chain and efficiency will be looked through the prism of making them satisfied without taking away sustainability.
‘We will see many different changes. There will be automation and new operating models. Some really strong partners will come out of this change. Those who went early on the change were very progressive, even before the pandemic. What happened is that they captured market share very quickly.’
There needs to be a hard look in the mirror and admit how good at motivating employees companies are. Diaz thinks that the most successful organisations will be those who can support their employees and motivate them to provide good customer service.
‘When you get the right people in place, you need to also look at the right process,’ Diaz continues. ‘Documenting the processes will allow them to implement technology.’ Diaz recommends not to jump straight to technology. ‘You will just be more efficient at being inefficient.’
‘One of the things companies overlooked was the cognitive overload on their staff,’ Diaz says. Even if organisations change their operating model and streamline with new technology, the company needs to be ready for the change. ‘The end solution needs to be something people want to embrace. Of course, there will always be someone who holds on to the old ways.’
Embedding change competency in the way companies operate would save time and headache. Due to the evolution of technology, organisations need to be ready to evolve as fast and be open to constant change.
‘I think everybody wants to do great work,’ Diaz says when asked about the generational divide and attitude towards work. ‘There is a shortage of talent and we need to focus on mentoring.’
The supply chain crisis we are facing has put the industry in the spotlight. This means that it can use the spotlight being created to its advantage and attract more people. ‘There are brilliant people within this space: young and old,’ Diaz finishes. ‘Any good leader will take whatever comes up and make the most out of it.’ ✷