Global, Local… Glocal? What’s New for Effective Change in Supply Chains?

Have we seen the end of the acceleration of globalization? The pandemic has shown the limitations of a global strategy and approach to organisational design and governance. How can a head office thousands of miles away understand the demands and quick reactions needed on the ground locally? This has been particularly felt by supply chains where flexibility has been critical in responding to new government restrictions and a global approach brings constraints and limitations. Responding rapidly in supply chains requires local solutions to enable adaptation and risk mitigations. Could a fusion of global and local pave the way for the post pandemic future?

Glocal = “reflecting or characterized by both local and global considerations”.[1]

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted a problem with having one size fits all global approach to supply chain operations. With differing local restrictions from nation to nation, organisations need flexibility to adapt quickly to lockdown regulations. For retail, the closure of non-essential shops meant demand was cut off and stock needed to be urgently regulated accordingly. Within hospitality we have heard tales of 87 million pints of beer being wasted[2] as the pre-lockdown anticipated production and supply couldn’t be consumed.

There has always been strategic tension between global and local. Perhaps the answer lies in a global approach but with localised adaptation of strategy, systems and processes to address new challenges. McDonalds is renowned for this, a global brand which adapts strategy to fit the culture of the local outlet. More and more organisations have responded to the pandemic shocks with local repurposing and inventiveness in supply chains which meet new supply and demand challenges.[3]

How is this achievable? Strategically, this means a need to ensure organisational design supports such a model. The culture needs to be right and changes to ways of working must be made effectively whilst keeping a remote/stressed workforce engaged in the route forward.  Now is the time to review change portfolios and ensure the business case for new solutions is sound and meets the strategic criteria for both enabling and encouraging flexibility and adaptability.

Organisations can also learn from the ‘marketplace’ type approach which brings together different components under a common framework. Applying this to organisational strategy can build a strong foundation for change and resilient supply chains in organisations as local considerations are not overlooked in a globalized single solution based approach. The success of Amazon and eBay is a testament to marrying global and local in this way. 

What could this mean in the years to come? 

There are a number of potential scenarios:

  • A potential movement away from single solution approaches with local country or market-based variations for systems or ways of working.
  • Organisational design changes to reflect greater local control and reduce ‘HQ influence’. Danone has announced changes which are “aimed at giving more power to country managers and squeezing out efficiencies to cope with the pandemic.”[4]
  • Business continuity planning and responses become more regionalised and varied in global organisations.
  • Change based approaches that are more people and local market centric coming to the fore in transformation rather than a technology-centred approach.
  • A greater focus on agility in processes and responsiveness in organisations with a shift in roles and structure to support this strategic need.
  • A shift from single global ERP type solutions to more market level systems that are integrated where needed.

Effective change has always excelled with a localised approach to increase engagement and fit for any solution. Principles of Change Management rely on addressing local considerations to maximise change traction. At Nine Feet Tall our approach to change uses this methodology:

Best practice advice is to build in these considerations to your change plans to ensure local considerations are understood and maximised. With over 17 years experience in delivering change projects for global organisations, Nine Feet Tall can help you adapt to the post pandemic world. 

How can Nine Feet Tall help you?

(1) Support for reviewing your organisational design – assessment of your fit for the new normal

(2) Adapt our proven change model and customise it for your organisation to apply locally, ensuring effective engagement for key initiatives

(3) Provide advice on your portfolio of change projects and act as a critical friend to support your leaders in your transformation journey

Contact us today to talk about starting your assessment 







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