Many corporations have only started adding supply chain officers to their executive teams in recent years, but that approach has quickly revealed hidden opportunities for business success, according to remarks by an executive from Signet Jewelers delivered today at the Retail Industry leaders Assoc. (RILA)’s annual conference.
For example, a strategic outlook on cost management in supply chain operations has historically been a quarterly or simply an event-driven exercise at many companies, said Steve Lovejoy, Signet’s chief supply chain officer (CSCO). But thanks to the increased spotlight on logistics, it has risen to a monthly report on ways to monitor and predict costs of everything from materials to labor, he said in a session at the LINK2023 show in Orlando titled “Don’t Waste a Crisis: How the C-Suite Role of Supply Chain is Increasing in Organizational Value.”
Another example is a new “purpose-led staffing” approach to improved hiring and retention rates for both salaried employees and manufacturing and distribution workers. Where performance reviews were previously judgemental and punitive, human resource departments now offer more flexible work arrangements such as part time and gig economy jobs, Lovejoy said.
A third way that CSCOs have influenced corporate culture is a move to seek out ways to reduce the high employee turnover rates that challenge warehouse and factory managers in many sectors. According to Lovejoy, his company’s retention curve flattens out noticeably if Signet can keep a worker employed for two years and cross-train them in various fulfillment skills, enabling them to move around to different warehouse jobs.