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Doing the ‘Right Thing’ through Supply Chain – Insights from a Fresh Pair of Eyes

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Let’s be honest.

IT FEELS GOOD when someone helps us.

IT FEELS EVEN BETTER when we help someone else.

Everybody wants to feel like they are making a difference in the world – be it through some small contribution in their family or community, or as part of a larger global movement towards a worthy cause.

Often one of the biggest ‘buzzwords’ most of us associate with the supply chain industry is efficiency. The industry itself was built upon the demand for products and services, and this demand has in itself driven us to become increasingly more efficient and competitive in how we deliver our products. Fast forward to today, every cog in the supply chain, from manufacture to delivery, at each little point in the process, we have quality assurance controls and best practice procedures focused on sustaining efficiency.

In all of our efforts to make supply chain squeaky clean from an operational perspective, one might ask if we have come as far as we can in our other key responsibilities – after all, now is the best time in human history to pursue excellence in areas of social justice and equality for all.

 

The question is – how efficient are we at making the world a better place through what we do in this industry?

I would argue that in supply chain, we are in the best position to make a difference. We can all have a positive impact, be it in some small way or otherwise. Here are some of the great things I have seen and heard since recently stepping into the industry this year.

 

Sustainable Supply Chain Practices – Balclutha, Otago

There is some great work being done in the sector both globally and locally here in New Zealand to couple the supply chains focus on efficiency with the growing push toward practices that are sustainable for our environment. It goes without saying that the environment is integral to the success of New Zealand and our image globally. Recently, there has be some great investment towards ensuring we uphold our reputation.

Earlier last month, the group Danone Nutricia (commonly known for their infant formulas) announced that they would invest significantly in a Biomass Boiler to reduce the net carbon emissions from their spray drying plant in Balclutha.

The company as a whole is planning to implement carbon neutrality across the board by 2050.

For more on this initiative see:  https://www.danone.com/impact/planet/towards-carbon-neutrality.html

 

Procurement for Socio-Economic Development – South Auckland

At a region specific level, there are some exciting new initiatives being implemented here in Auckland. A recent candidate of mine really opened my eyes to some of the good that is being done at a local level in supply chain.

Auckland Council have created a working group, called TSI (The Southern Initiative), who as part of a wider scheme towards the development and enhancement of the South Auckland region, are utilising the council’s purchasing power to support and encourage supplier diversity, quality employment opportunities and better collaboration across local businesses in the South Auckland area. TSI are helping to pioneer ‘social procurement’ in New Zealand, which is still its early stages when compared to the rest of the world.

See https://www.tsi.nz/shared-prosperity for some of the great work being done here!

 

Doing Right by Your Staff - DB Breweries, Auckland

Some of the greatest good that can be done for people starts within the scope of our current communities. I was fortunate enough to chat with DB Breweries’ HR team earlier this week. The brewer, part of world-renowned The Heineken Company, are a prime example of how businesses big and small can improve the world by bettering the livelihood of their employees.

They have a well-established graduate programme that offers new inductees the chance to work in several countries under the Heineken Asia Pacific umbrella. They have also recently enhanced their flexible work practices for greater work flexibility, and gifted each person an additional day of leave for ‘Enjoyment of Life’, a core DB value, to use however they enjoy life best.

More can be found at http://www.goplacesnz.com/

 

How do recruiters make a difference in supply chain?

Whilst these recent examples show some of the good being done by key entities in the supply chain industry, little is often highlighted how supply chain recruiters make a difference to the industry – do we even make a difference or is what we do purely transactional?

The recruitment industry as a whole has always been met with mixed reviews, and depending on who you have dealt with and where you have sat in the recruiter-candidate-client relationship, (and more importantly, what the outcome was from your interaction with a recruiter or recruitment company), will largely determine the value you see in recruiters as a whole.

Beyond the typical ‘sales pitch’ of ‘quality and care’ you will get from any recruiter, I have seen first-hand that there are some really good things being done to shift the stigma attached to recruitment as a whole — from a transactional enterprise to a genuine professional service focused on helping people solve their problems. Nowadays, the ‘transactional type’ exists alongside the ‘genuine recruiter’ and sometimes it is hard to tell the two apart, as they both send the same message around ‘quality and care’.

In my opinion, recruiters that are genuine go beyond their message to live and breathe it through their actions.

There are some great reflective questions that can be asked by the client, candidate or recruiter to assess whether each party is focused on making transactions or making a difference.

For example, a question could be:

  • How have I (as the recruiter) gone above and beyond for my client/candidate?

Framed from the client or candidate’s point of view:

  • How has the recruiter gone above and beyond for me?

Going above and beyond, establishing genuine relationships and style of approach are great indicators of whether or not a recruiter is simply transaction-focused. I use these same questions when assessing potential clients for my candidates or similarly, when assessing candidates for my clients – will they be focused on what they can gain or what they can give? I think this question lies at the heart of what making a difference is all about in supply chain (and in society in general).

 

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During my entry into the supply chain industry with Gaulter Russell Numero earlier this year, I have seen some really great work being done across all platforms and levels. From candidates, to recruiters and the companies that drive the industry, real changes are being made to improve things. The transactional stereotypes that this industry faces are only upheld if we uphold them. 

If, like me, you are another vital cog in the supply chain, FEEL GOOD knowing you are making a difference in the world!