Thanks to the power of online collaboration, social media has played an essential role in helping supply chain and procurement professionals manage COVID-19.
Where would we be without social media? Imagine trying to navigate through this crisis without the support of your social networks. At Procurious, we have provided a safe space for our almost 40,000 (we’re at 39,964 as I write!) supply chain and procurement leaders all over the world. We’ve played our small part in helping our members step up to the plate, curveball after curveball.
In honor of World Social Media Day, it’s only right that we tip our hats off to how far we’ve come as a community. We’ve helped our members find jobs, advance in their careers, make critical connections across the world and collaborate to tackle some truly complex and exciting challenges. We’re extremely proud.
Today, we’re reflecting on a few of the many reasons social media has become a professional powerhouse:
1. It can help anyone, anywhere in the world
Think of how big your network would be without the virtual groups, forums, discussions and networks you’re a part of today. The best part is the skies the limit —and communities like ours are growing every day.
But even beyond individualized benefits, influencers like Professor Karsten Machholz, from the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (or FHWS) in Germany, demonstrated the impact users can make when they use their platform for the greater good. Amidst the crisis, 65% of businesses were required to quickly source alternative suppliers for affected categories. And while procurement’s response was mostly impressive, some organisations are still struggling. Social media has allowed Karsten to play a huge role in recovery. “With the use of my procurement and supply chain networks like Procurious, I am trying to help companies find alternative suppliers in order to make their supply chains run again.”
Joanna Martinez, founder of Supply Chain Advisors LLC is another example of influencers leveraging social media to make an impact and help others. “Watching all the people being furloughed or laid off, I started ‘Pay it Forward Fridays’, where I use my connections and expertise to help people begin the journey back to employment. I’ve been a practice interviewer, a speaker to Zoom groups focused on the job search, have proofread resumes, made connections, and been a reference. I haven’t found a person yet that I haven’t been able to help in some way.”
2. The more we put in, the more we get out
Since coming together to prove our organisational value, we’ve made monumental strides in outshining old stereotypes and proving our organisational worth. Still, we’ve come too far to lose our seat at the executive table.
When asked about the pressures of today’s environment, Chief Heart Officer of SupplyChainQueen, Sheri Hinish, explained that COVID-19 has taught us a valuable lesson. “We are ONE planet – each of us interconnected in ways we may not be aware of or see. You can’t watch the news without hearing supply chain nowadays…. Literally, we are seeing that supply chains have the ability to save lives and power the world we share.”
This requires us to learn more and give more: to society and our professional networks. Social media makes this possible.
3. It boosts collaboration
Although much of the world is still at home, social media has brought our community closer than ever. “The pulse for information due to COVID has created a space for helping others better understand and prepare for external risks, visibility, social and environmental insights that are all tied to building resilient and transparent supply chains.” – Sheri Hinish, SupplyChainQueen.
It’s clear the support we’ve given each other is admirable. Beyond that, we’re progressively moving and adding value outside of our normal realm. For example, some procurement teams have contentious relationships with their suppliers. But according to Sarah Scudder, President at Real Sourcing Network, the dynamic must change – and social media is helping pave the way. “COVID-19 is forcing companies to save money and be more efficient… I want all procurement professionals to believe in collaboration and teamwork with suppliers instead of ‘us versus them’.”
There is no “I” in team. Effective collaboration requires communication and sharing. It can be especially uncomfortable if your organisation is doing something for the first time. But, who says you can’t borrow from another playbook? That’s what makes professional networks so unique. Chances are, someone out there has tackled a similar issue to whatever you are facing today… and they’re willing to share what they learned.
4. Online communication can be just as personal and productive
Our own Principal Advisor Helen Mackenzie proved connecting virtually doesn’t need to be any less intimate than meeting face-to-face. “I’ve been working hard to connect CPOs with each other. We’re having virtual coffee breaks where three or four of us come together just for a chat and to exchange information, insight and ideas. I like to think that being that community connector, which after all is what we’re about at Procurious, has helped the CPOs I’ve shared a virtual coffee with feel that they are part of a wider network that’s there to support each other.”
With major changes ahead, it’s critical we keep up the momentum. The most rookie mistake supply chain and procurement leaders can make is not being receptive to further change. As Dave Food, Strategy Director at Prophetic Technology expertly puts it: “The future is full of possibility, say no to the old ways and leverage the new potential. Early adopters are the powerhouse of tomorrow.” And social media is the enabler.
For more game-changing insights and inspiring stories from key players themselves, check out our COVID-19 Gamechangers whitepaper.
And if you haven’t officially joined Procurious yet, do yourself the favor and make today the day.