WW: This has been an extremely stressful time for all employees, but specifically those in supply management. It’s important to give encouragement and support, and have people take a timeout when they need it, to refresh their minds before getting back to this “battle for products and parts.” Taking care of people is number one.
I’ve learned lessons around resilience when it comes to suppliers. I don’t think you can have too much resilience. This is something I’ve learned from Microsoft’s CEO, from a recent interview he gave. He basically said, "leaders look into the future and try to make sure that what you’re doing today is preparing you for that." The problem is there have been so many “black swan” events we never anticipated. Having an open mind and preparing for that future through diversification and risk mitigation has become essential at Deere, but also for me as a supply management leader.
But we're learning that sometimes we have to be able to adapt. Our Smart Industrial Operating Model has enabled thinking outside the box and reminded us that understanding the required result is extremely important. With a clear result in mind we may find a way to get there faster or more efficiently. Some things can't take weeks—they must be done in days. I’m also learning a lot more about my suppliers. Deere is very relationship-oriented, and that’s proven powerful. Our approach to supplier relationships has paid dividends in this tough time when products are in short supply.