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4 Signs of Operational Dysfunction & How to Resolve It

4 Signs of Operational Dysfunction & How to Resolve It

4 Signs of Operational Dysfunction & How to Resolve It
Image via Flickr by Ding Yuin Shan

When operational dysfunctions occur, the source of the problem is usually linked to the supply chain. Effective supply chain systems integrate seamlessly into a company’s operations and need a great deal of teamwork for success. A dysfunctional supply chain can drag a business under very quickly. Here are some of the most common signs to watch out for.

#1: Distrust and Hidden Agendas

One of the most common obstacles in successful supply chain management is distrust or lack of openness among the entities involved in the process. Most supply chain teams consist of both internal and external parties, often with conflicting expectations that can hinder trust and honesty. A lack of trust is a big dysfunction for any team.


Building trust takes time, but a team that can work together, communicate effectively, and put aside their own agendas will take a business to all new levels. Develop a functional supply chain by:

  • Holding regular meetings
  • Being upfront about expectations and compensation
  • Allowing members to vote on major decisions
  • Taking the time to listen to ideas, opinions, and concerns

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#2: No Defined Roles

Members of a dysfunctional team often have a lack of accountability. When a problem arises, everyone points fingers and passes the blame, but no one jumps in to resolve it. When this is a common scenario up and down the supply chain, it’s time to seek out the underlying problem.


Developing a more structured strategy is typically the best way to improve accountability and commitment among team members. Each member should have a well-defined role with clearly stated responsibilities. Offer feedback regularly and continue to focus on effective communication.

#3: Lack of Vision

Successful businesses are always looking forward to the future. When that vision isn’t there, efficient and profitable operations are often missing as well. Some teams lose their purpose due to poor communication or unresolved conflicts, while others may have never clearly stated their goals.


Without a vision and the drive to make it a reality, success is always just out of reach. Again, communication is essential, but there are other ways to help your team reach their full potential.

  • Hold strategic planning meetings often to discuss short and long-term goals
  • Allow team members to play a role in goal development
  • Make innovation a priority throughout the supply chain
  • Consistently track progress toward achieving your goals

#4: Insufficient Technology

Operational dysfunction isn’t always a result of human behavior. Sometimes teams simply don’t have the tools they need to adequately watch their processes and assess their results. Limited funds are often to blame, but some companies aren’t aware of their options.


Today’s technology allows supply chain professionals at all levels to see real-time data and make immediate decisions. Without a good system, companies will fall behind the competition while wasting time and money. Invest in up-to-date software that suits your needs and stay current with the latest industry trends in digital operations.

Operational dysfunction can destroy a business if it goes unnoticed. Focus on effective communication to keep your supply chain team healthy and functional.[/show_to]

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