Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Mar-Apl 2015 Contents This situation, while quite common, can be
attributed to several causes. Primarily, however,
it is due to a lack of formalisation amongst all
stakeholders: an acknowledgement that the
supply chain execution model is crucial to, and
part of, the direct management structure.
If people are absent from their positions,
there is a high probability that a process will fail
and result in a knock-on effect within the supply
chain. While no individual can be considered
indispensable in their roles, the capabilities
of collective people clusters, functions and
departments may not be indispensable, and as
such the focus on the horizontal organisation
is more relevant than the vertical organisation.
This is what we advocate as the supply chain-
driven organisation structure.
The people factor and their support alone
is not enough. All the people involved in the
supply chain must understand their position
in the overall structure and the impact of
their contribution – regardless whether it is
large or small. No single person, group or
function can exist in an organisation unless
they are connected and are contributing to the
delivery of the product to the customer and/
or consumer: a participant in the overall supply
chain. If, however, people find that they are
not connected and contributing, then their role
should be challenged. It should be evaluated
against the core capabilities in the business
cycle, and redesigned to ensure that it does
contribute and utilises the capabilities of people
in these roles in the best possible way.
Organisations have departments, functions,
people, supervisors and managers that keep the
organisation’s structure in motion. However, do
we regularly evaluate this structure to ensure all
these people are really engaged in the supply
chain execution model, and are truly contribut-
ing to organisational and supply chain value?
Understanding the value of
the right competencies
It is not uncommon to hear top managers say that
despite hiring experienced people to do the job,
evaluating competencies and past employment
history, going through the myriad of interviews,
hiring policies and on-boarding protocols, that
they are not seeing the expected results and feel
that the new hiring falls short of their expectations.
Why is it, that experienced and skilled people who
have shown good credentials both in academic
achievements and past work experience, can fail
to deliver the expected results?
In seeking better outcomes, we often look
to the selection and appointment process.
However, the problem actually starts before the
interview process. To optimise human resources
to deliver the required performance levels, it is
crucial to understand the capabilities required
and environment in which the new hiring is
expected to deliver the organisational goals.
Attaching a label of experience and knowledge
to a person’s credentials is not enough for
them to be effective in delivering the expected
performance. This is because human capital
cannot be measured in terms of experience or
knowledge alone, but has to be measured in a
holistic manner – both in terms of a defined set
of competencies, as well as an understanding of
the environment in which they are to operate.
So what is competency and why is it so
important in the supply chain execution model?
The word competency could be a term confused
and interchanged with many other terms and
definitions. However, competency in this context
can be defined as having the "ability to perform
a task with a high degree of success" (Adapted
from the Oxford Dictionary). Illustrated as follows:
Competency = technical knowledge + business
experience + ability to apply.
Having the right balance of competencies in
an organisation creates the necessary capabili-
ties to deliver performance, enabling the organi-
sation to attain higher levels of success. It is this
link of people competencies, capabilities, and
being able to focus the abilities of the human
capital, that will make the difference in overall
performance of the organisation.
Identifying and using competencies effectively
is fundamental to managing performance.
Competencies are not easily identified by first
impressions or limited contact with people.
This is because a professional competence is
related to an ability to execute a non-routine or
However, there are some clues that
will identify some competency types. The
most obvious personal characteristics of
competencies are manifested in behavioural
display of confidence, quick thinking
assessments and in the ability to communicate
with clarity. But in general, most competencies
can only be confirmed when tested in a
scenario that requires the execution of specific
capabilities and deliverables.
Distinguishing between the various levels
of competencies and relevance to the
requirements to the supply chain, we can divide
them into three major groups and summarised
below, with some of their characteristics:
1. Strategic competencies: leading, visualising,
2. Communication competencies: connecting
enablers, clarity & precision of messages,
fact-based content, diligence and manner of
delivery, empathy, decisiveness.
3. Execution competencies: agility in behaviour,
simplification of complexity, recognition of
appropriate situations and impact, timeliness
of actions, initiative and drive to tackle
These are the competencies associated
with delivering high-level performance, and
that are associated with the ability to attain
an organisation’s strategic goals. If such
competencies are manifested by individuals,
teams and management, then collectively these
competent abilities would be a huge asset within
the organisation’s control, available to realise the
business and strategic goals.
There are various processes and systems to
identify and quantify competencies effectively.
However, we shall not be discussing these details
in this article, but hope that our readers will find it
sufficiently interesting to take this subject further.
Developing the competency model
As companies and organisations work in different
ways, developing the right competency model
that fits the company business model and exe-
cution capabilities is crucial. It is important that,
collectively, a company creates the necessary
capabilities within the organisation to achieve and
sustain their company business strategy.
Competencies create capabilities, which in
turn through performance, delivers results. As
illustrated in Figure 3. below, converting key
terms into relative definitions, we can build
a coherent and effective model. Using this
simple principle, we can develop the model
to link competencies to enable capabilities
that will facilitate the delivery of supply chain
Figure 3. High-level drivers for achieving performance.
3. COMPETENCIES ➜ A. TASK COMPETENCIES
B. PERSONAL COMPETENCIES
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — MARCH / APRIL 2015
SUPPLY CHAIN 55
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