With ProMat days away, we’re looking forward to hearing keynote speaker John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods and author of the book Conscious Capitalism.
At first brush, the idea of Conscious Capitalism might seem irrelevant to the supply chain. After all, most supply chain leaders are focused on improving operational efficiency and accuracy to improve the customer experience and positively impact the bottom line. However, after reading Mackey’s book, we learned that the tenets of Conscious Capitalism are quite similar to what it takes to run an effective supply chain.
In his book, Mackey discusses the four pillars on which Conscious Capitalism sits: Higher Purpose, Stakeholder Integration, Conscious Leadership, and Conscious Culture. While we might use different language to describe our goals in the warehouse, smart supply chain executives are actually guided by tenets similar to those of Conscious Capitalism.
For example: recent research has shown that warehouses who ship a single late or incorrect order risk losing a customers’ business forever. This data underscores both the need for automation in the warehouse that can reduce costly errors and one of Mackey’s key points: “Any business that forgets that customers are ultimately in charge and that it must work to serve them is making a potentially fatal mistake.” In a way, understanding the customers’ needs and desires is the higher purpose of every business.
At the same time, simply deploying a tool like voice-directed picking isn’t enough to make sure this higher purpose is served. Whenever companies deploy a new technology, its critical to educate end users on why the new tool is being implemented and the impact it will have on the customer, the company, and the item selector. Effective change management that includes all stakeholders is critical to both the successful implementation of a new technology and to running a conscious and streamlined supply chain.
In short, whether its called Conscious Capitalism or Customer-Driven Change Management, companies that serve a higher purpose, that address the concerns of all stakeholders, that lead consciously, and that foster positive culture are better positioned to drive both better financial results and to create a stronger community around the brand—and the data proves it.