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Supply Chain Academy: Creating a learning culture at Uniserve

Offering outstanding customer experience in many businesses is increasingly driven by the ability of staff to interact effectively with their counterparts all along their supply chain. However, people development is rarely aligned and related to supply chain effectiveness.

The Supply Chain Academy (SCA) was established to enhance Supply Chain Capability and to enable the sharing of best practice within the sector.

This case study looks at how the SCA worked in partnership with the Uniserve Group, (the largest British privately owned international freight and logistics company in the UK) to create a learning culture amongst its staff to improve its supply chain capability.

Business effectiveness today frequently depends upon the reliability and effectiveness of the organisations it buys its products and services from – its supply chain. A car manufacturer for example, can make more cars more quickly if its suppliers are providing it with the components it needs at the time they need them.

 Uniserve expressed a need to encourage their people to become more innovative, confident and self-reliant. As a result, the SCA designed and launched a the Uniserve ‘Maximising Performance’ programme for all employees 

If an entire supply chain is not lean and effective, the result can be lost sales, write-downs and discounts, including the additional cost to ship and warehouse excess inventory and obsolete stock. Working in, or understanding a supply chain can be complex!

At Uniserve, the Group MD and Board of Directors expressed a need to encourage their people to become more innovative, confident and self-reliant. As a result, the SCA designed and launched a the Uniserve ‘Maximising Performance’ programme for all employees

The foundation for the programme was the use of the Insights Discovery® profiling system and model, to enable people to understand their individual preferences, how to recognise the ‘otherness of others’, and how to adapt their own communications styles as a result of that recognition. The Insights Discovery colours became the ‘common language’ which underpinned the ‘Maximising performance’ programme.

Clearly none of the Company’s aspirations could become a reality without skilful leaders, so the next step was to focus on helping managers to maximise discretionary effort from their team, linking company strategic direction to individual goals and targets. The final link in the ongoing programme was to establish a portfolio of learning development options aligned to career preferences and company strategy.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course I recently attended at the Supply Chain Academy. I found it relevant and enjoyable. I learned new techniques to help me get the best out of my team”, Uniserve staff manager, Michael Dunne.

As this programme was the first of its kind, we had interesting challenges to solve, for example an historical link between the appraisal process and pay which made it harder to have an honest and frank conversations and a lack of behavioural indicators, so it was difficult for managers to assess how people were delivering.

The introduction of the Insights Discovery model saw instant results and underpinned a change in the communication and performance culture at Uniserve — As one manager, Michael Dunne – said:“I thoroughly enjoyed the course I recently attended at the Supply Chain Academy. I found it relevant and enjoyable. I learned new techniques to help me get the best out of my team.”

The programme continues and all new employees complete an Insights Discovery workshop and attend an introductory workshop as part of their ongoing development. In addition, The SCA access to academic resources meant that after a successful review of their completion of programme elements, participants could obtain university qualifications.

 


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