Keep the Change

When developing content for Inbound Logistics, I often ask readers what issues and challenges they face. Dealing with constant change in supply chain management is one hot-button topic that arises repeatedly.

Efficient change management is critical in the supply chain because it touches every function within an enterprise. And, as I recently discovered, managing change is the same across functions and across industries—even publishing.

My journey into change management began about one year ago, when the publisher and I were having a casual lunch with IL’s managing editor. Over burgers and salads, she dropped a bombshell: She was leaving New York-based Inbound Logistics to move to Seattle with her husband, who was pursuing a career opportunity.

I barely had time to process her news when our senior designer left us for a much better job: stay-at-home mom of two children under two.

Then, following in quick succession were our creative director, who accepted a job offer he couldn’t refuse, and then our associate editor, who went back to school to attend a prestigious full-time writing program. Most recently, our senior writer received a job offer from one of our readers, a large CPG company—not to write but to analyze and consult on its supply chain management strategies.

All these quick staff changes occurred after an eight-year period of zero turnover, and coming off IL’s best year ever, with the largest readership growth in our 34-year history. My days were suddenly crammed with interviewing, selecting, and training new staff members, all while meeting our publication schedule and deadlines.

As we worked through those challenging weeks and months, a different scenario emerged. Once they settled in, our new employees began to suggest workflow and process improvements, and proposed exciting ideas. They brought new perspectives, new talents, and new experiences to the table. Our restructured department quickly began to gel and take shape. And now it is as exciting to come to work each day as it has ever been, and to implement these changes and anticipate even greater improvements down the road.

Never before did I have to manage a department with so much turnover in such a short time. So I did a little research on change management, and found a helpful resource: the Ideal Change Management Model by Russell Kinneberg. If you are involved in supply chain change management, you might find his eight-step model useful. Access it here:

I came away from this experience embracing change, rather than fearing it. And that’s good advice, whether you are managing a supply chain or publishing a magazine.

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