Today’s supply chain managers need cross-functional experience to quickly grasp complex situations.

One of the keys to being able to select the “right” strategic priorities at the “right” time in order to ensure business results occur is to be able to take cross-functional experience into account.

It can be a challenge to make a good decision without complete facts. Worse yet, in today’s new normal business environment, volatility is the new norm and no one has time to wait. Rapid decisions are a must! Therefore, you do not have time to absorb all related information before making a decision. Instead, you must be able to ask a few key questions to gleam the essence of the core information related to your decision. People with a cross-functional background are better equipped to achieve this.

For example, when implementing a new system, the person responsible for planning will have to participate in critical setup decisions for MRP variables. If planning is their basis of experience, their decisions will likely work for planning; however, they could have down-the-line negative impacts for operations, customer service etc. Instead, if the person has cross-functional experience, it’s likely more of those impacts will be included in the decision. As true as this is for this specific example, it also holds true for strategy decisions, key projects etc. How can you gain cross-functional experience or make sure your team has access to opportunities to gain it?