To help resettle Defence Officers in their second careers after serving the nation, IIMs [ and some other institutes] have been conducting MBA Courses for the about-to-retire military officers. There have been differing opinions on what fields of management these officers would do well.
Defence Officers will do well in Supply Chain jobs.
Why do I say that?
Defence Officers possess qualities – self discipline, integrity, ‘espirit de corps’- that would help them succeed in Supply Chain jobs.
Here, by Defence Officers I am referring to officers who have completed 20 years compulsory service, have a rich experience and are in their early 40s.
To come back to the 3 qualities, I mentioned above;
We Indians do not follow processes. We Indians love breaking laws. Not following rules is second nature. From laws and rules of the country, to processes in a company, is a small step. Hence, even in our jobs we find loopholes and shortcuts.
For a supply chain, reliability is of paramount importance. Reliability is the biggest success driver of a supply chain. Reliability in a supply chain is derived from following the processes and SOPs [ Standard Operating Procedures] religiously, day-in day-out.
To quote a few examples of supply chain processes;
- In a warehouse, stocks must be received physically, then entered GRed [Goods Received]in the ERP/ WMS [ Warehouse Management System] system, then put away in the racks allocated by the system. Any short cut in the process will lead to issues in picking stocks and fulfilling orders.
- Cycle counting and IRA [ Inventory record Accuracy] must be reconciled. Not reconciling stocks could lead to stock shortages.
- S&OP [ Sales and Operations Planning] meetings have to conducted on schedule with the agenda, decks and pre-reading material circulated on time. All this requires a mindset of following processes like a drumbeat.
This is where the self-discipline and self-regulation of the defence officers comes in. They are trained to follow orders [ equivalent to processes and SOPs]. They do not look for short cuts and loopholes.
Integrity of defence officers is very high.
In a supply chain the value of the stocks is immense. Warehouses store stocks worth crores [ 1 crore = 10 million], procurement of raw materials, packing materials is again worth crores and integrity of the team handling the supply chain is very important.
I know of a gold coin/ gold bar selling company in Chennai which prefers defence officers as their logistics manager.
ESPIRIT DE CORPS
The alliegance levels of the defence officers to the company would be high.Part of this can be attributed to the ‘espirit de corps’ that is ingrained into the defence officers. Their loyalty to the ‘Regiment’ is unquestionable. This high alliegance would lead to lower attrition rates. The lower attrition rates would also be due to their age- attrition rates in employees above 40 years age range is usually low.
One opportunity I see in defence officers is in their dealings with people. They will have to move from a ‘ordering’ mindset to a ‘alignment’ mindset. The military works on orders and rightly so. In the corporate world, alignment and consensus is the mantra. The defence officers will have to make that transition.
The MBA courses, introduced for defence officers about to enter civvy street, is a good initiative. This will lead to a smooth transition from the uniform to the corporate life.
I for one will certainly recruit these men in uniform in my supply chain firm!
Some useful links on the topic;