How Supply Chain Managers Can Spark Innovation in Their Teams

Amid rising consumer demand, labor shortages, and shipping delays, supply chain managers are up against unprecedented challenges ahead of the busiest season of the year. On top of all that, they’re tasked with motivating their teams.

This period of uncertainty comes with a unique opportunity to empower employees, streamline internal processes, and drive innovative thinking. It’s a chance to create a more resilient supply chain that can handle unexpected transitions with ease.

The key? Replacing panic with risk management with some room for creativity along the way. These tips can help supply chain managers build a more connected, creative, and above all resilient supply chain, beginning with more innovative teams.

Empower teams to collaborate

Ongoing disruptions to the supply chain, paired with labor shortages, have left many employees feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and burnt out. Even before the pandemic, shippers were grappling with significant labor shortages. For every six supply chain job openings, there is only one qualified candidate available, according to Logistics Management Magazine.

While hiring new talent is essential, retaining—and empowering—existing talent is equally important. A recent study from Gallup found that 51% of workers are “not engaged,” which means they are psychologically unattached to their work and company. Results demonstrate that employee engagement is a strong predictor of performance. The reality is that disengaged workers can’t operate at peak potential—and as a result, business suffers.

Strong leaders empower employees by training them to use new tools properly, carving out time for collaboration, and celebrating innovative ideas. This could take the form of weekly innovation meetings or incentives for employees like rewards for improvements to internal systems. While it may seem counterintuitive to focus on internal processes when faced with so many external challenges, this approach prepares teams to function at a higher level the next time challenges arise—and they always do.

Seek out opportunities to upgrade and streamline

Inefficient, outdated processes only deter teams from the goal that matters most: to build a smooth supply chain that adapts quickly and innovates often. Despite technological advancements in recent years, many logistics teams still rely on manual processes that are overly complicated and time-consuming, limiting opportunities for innovation.

Investments and upgrades to more sophisticated logistics technology can help shippers increase efficiency, reduce transportation costs, and meet the demands of an ever-changing landscape—during a time when they need it most.

Adopting a transportation management system (TMS) that’s backed by application programming interface (API) technology, for instance, can give shippers visibility into their operations, so they can identify and address problems in real-time.

Fill in workflow gaps

The opportunity for innovation is only possible with the right tools and time. With a partner like CTSI-Global, teams can get back that creative time—with additional support navigating unprecedented transitions.

CTSI-Global staff experts can augment existing teams. They can address capacity needs and fill any skills gaps. The CTSI-Global team can also help organizations implement the right technology for their needs. The implementation process is straightforward and effortless—from making the business case to training the team and beyond.

Tis’ the season to spark innovation. Contact us today to get started.