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Leadership In Supply Chain Management

Leadership Gives Momentum to Trust and Collaboration

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Introduction: In today's world, where people are constantly exposed to operational challenges, profit making hurdles, global competition, consumer indecisiveness on product purchases and regional market intricacies, management and leadership skills need to be constantly improvised. There is no magic idea that can strike the right profit chord in business.

Companies therefore rely on unique operational wisdom and virtues of employees to attain a competitive edge on services and products. Apart from improvisations on technology, operational effectiveness and other price related strategies, active involvement of employees in work and their continuous engagement in pushing company's vision and mission statements become key to success of an organization.

Leadership is an indispensible virtue and is a culmination of strength of character, the vision to think out of the box and the ability to set game changing strategies. Without leaders there would be no directions, no achievements and possibly no rewards. (Yuki et al, 2002)

Question: Write a professional paper that analyzes the tools leaders can use to build trust and collaboration and explains why you believe storytelling is one effective tool for you to use to lead your team.

Answer: What do leader's need?

• Motivational and inspirational capacity

• Establish confidence levels among colleagues and workers

• Perform what has been set as a goal to set examples

• Be compassionate towards team members, sensitive to their requirements, weaknesses and strengths

• Work hard to win people's hearts with all kinds of support feasible

• Be approachable

Building Trust and Collaboration

Trust is form of a deeper emotional response among employees when they have confidence that employers shall take their side in times of hardships and difficulties. It's a feeling of mutual dependence cultivated over time that is strengthened when set-backs of employees are not viewed negatively. Being supportive is an invaluable virtue among leaders who wish to succeed and goes a long way in building trustworthy relationships (Slater, 2008).

Leaders therefore have to function as pillars of an organization with unique decision making capabilities and such decisions need to be reliable and exemplary for employees. Consistency in performance goals also builds strength of team collaboration and coordination among employees. (Holton, 2001)

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Leadership In Supply Chain Management

Company XYZ Pvt. Ltd, had plans to launch its popular milk product in a new state. With distribution channels in 3 states already one production site per state, the standard networking policy was to divide states into zones and zone level DCs (distribution centers) to nodes with one representative responsible for distribution of the company product.

The Problem Matrix

• Focus: Maximizing Zonal Targets

• Weak Links between Zonal managers; cross coordination absent

• Stock problems were communicated to factory managers only

• Supply from factory to zones took time and involved higher transport costs

The Problem Matrix.jpg

With such networking policies standardized, zone DCs would have to deal with high variations in product demands internally. Zone managers were responsible for delivery targets, on time deliveries, maintaining sufficient stock in zones, coordination of nodal reps as part of performance targets. Due to high competition among zonal managers on targets, the company failed to handle stock issues when zone level demands spiked or troughed. There was no way to seek help from other zones and information was only shared with managers at the state level factory sites. Cross zone links were very weak and almost nonexistent. The weak links in the supply chain were overlooked as company focused on zonal targets only. 

As a newly appointed network team leader, my first idea was to increase cross zone links. Although heavy demand zones already had more than one node, I focused on team building strategies that would reduce competition among zonal managers so that the overall output of zones at the state level could be maximized with nodes being sufficiently supported with a buffer. The virtual buffer zone could handle spikes in demand in any zone and zero stock situations would be resolved at the zone level with deliveries from the nearest DC to the node in demand. This reduced delivery times and optimized transport cost in the supply chain with intervention of factory managers.

The Solution Matrix

• Focus: Maximizing Nodal targets with fulfillment of product demand

• Zonal managers received support from the buffer zone in fulfilling their zonal targets; compassion, trust and coordination was built

• Stock problems were resolved by the buffer zone

• Supply costs minimized, uncertainties reduced and efficiency enhanced - performance targets were achieved

The Solution Matrix.jpg

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The Story telling that built a Robust Team of Zonal Managers 

One of the best examples of coordination in a team is demonstrated by World Class soccer players in a game where every team player is conscious of his peers, locates, passes on the ball with an ultimate motive to score a goal.

Let's Work as a Soccer Team

Soccer Team.jpg

I asked managers to think of themselves as team players in soccer game where individual performance is superseded by the outcome of scoring a goal. A direction to every team player was provided in favor of building trust and collaboration:

Unique Decision Modeling: • Minimize importance of zonal divisions. There is only one field and it's important to score a goal

• Outcome averages in zone 1 shall therefore depend only product demand in zone 1 without safety stock concerns

Support from Team: • A goal in zone 1 will be supported by zone 2 or by zone 3 by means of the Buffer

Performance Consistency: • Coordinated efforts would not only enhance state level targets but also aid in achieving zonal targets if risks are shared

Team building strategies therefore need to relate to exciting team work examples that stimulates enthusiasm among workers, shifting their mind sets towards exciting examples where performance is not valued at the individual level.

Steven Jobs says "The leader is the keeper and re-iterator of the vision that already exists. It helps when someone keeps telling that we are one step closer."

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