min read

How Successful Supply Chains Use Cross-Functional Teams

Analyzing the Impact on a Proficient Supply Chain

Patrice Matthias

People who know Reveal may be aware of a PAT™. This acronym isn't based upon my name, Patrice; rather, it is short for process-aligned team™. Why are process-aligned teams™ so important? Let me explain what PAT™ signifies.

What does it mean to have a Process-Aligned Team?

The PAT group is a multi-functional team that collaborates to address supply chain problems. They may come together physically or communicate remotely, despite the advantages of meeting in person. What is important is that the members of the organization share the same objectives and work together. For instance, if a manufacturing business procures raw materials and then creates sub-assemblies and final assemblies, the PAT™ will comprise of a buyer, a sub-assembly planner, a final assembly planner, and a customer service rep who meet every morning to go over the MRP results from the prior day. They have an agenda and have the authority to make decisions. In addition, other people from demand planning and the warehouse may join in when necessary to assist, look into, and act on matters. The process-aligned teams™ swiftly progress through issues, make concurred changes during the meeting, and move on. If consensus cannot be attained, the topic is recorded and the team goes on. By the end of the meeting, materials have been expedited, schedules have been adjusted and confirmed, customers have been informed, and any concerns have been escalated.

Achieving Success with PATs

PATs (Performance Assessment Tools) can be quite successful when utilized correctly. Taking the time to understand how PATs work, as well as the context in which they will be used, is key to maximizing their effectiveness. Learning the best practices for PAT implementation and the associated software is key to capitalizing on their potential. With a firm grasp of the particulars, PATs can be used to assess performance and progress in a variety of ways.

What do you do with those problems that don't get solved? Great inquiry! In most successful process-aligned teams, executives provide back up to the team. This help is known as the PAT go-to team (PGT). The PGT is composed of a variety of specialists, including managers and top-performers, and this can vary from one organization to another. The key to success is for the PGT to evaluate, observe and help process-aligned teams in their daily meetings. This group attempts to locate the underlying cause and the difficulties that were discussed in the morning PAT session. The PGT must have access to company leaders, which is usually organized through Steering Committees. These committees should be practical and willing to guide the organization through any difficulties that come up.

Consequently, the PGT has the potential to create a supply chain that is maximized for efficiency and effectiveness:

  1. Establishing integration
  2. Improving performance and processes
  3. Taking responsibility and being accountable
  4. Promptly dealing with any irregularities
  5. Enabling a continual cycle of change and development
  6. Leveraging system features to make full use of automation.

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Bringing together a team that is situated across miles or across continents can be difficult, but with the technologies available today, virtual meetings have become a way to do business. Encouraging creativity while keeping in mind the common goals and rewards is what motivates teams to collaborate on all levels. In order to make this work, early-morning or late-night calls are often necessary to bring together global teams. I always prefer PAT over not PAT. Companies that implement process-aligned team and get the process running through executive to execution levels typically observe positive results and maintain their wins. In conclusion:

  • Process-aligned teams (PATs) comprise of members with diverse capabilities, all of whom are empowered.
  • The PGT teams are there to facilitate the PATs and help them to accomplish their goals.
  • The Steering Committee is responsible for laying out the aims and providing the PAT with the authority to succeed.

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