A cross-functional team is a group of people with different expertise working together in a business towards a attaining a specific objective. It comprises employees from various departments within the organization such as finance, operations, human resource and marketing, sales, customer success, etc. in some cases, the team contains some customers and other stakeholders who do not work within the company. Every member of the team makes a necessary decision in a predetermined sequence. However, the effectiveness of cross-functional teams is highly dependent on coordination among the functional units; otherwise, a great downfall can be experienced in case of mismanagement. Its success is built on these virtues amongst the members of the team; every team member must show a high degree of motivation, open-mindedness, no conflicting personal goals, adequate communication, holding of accountability to accomplish the mission, clear priorities or direction, and above all there must be managed to support the team. Many supply chain-oriented organizations have adopted the use of Cross-functional teams to improve operations and product quality in many aspects. This has been a success due to the following reasons.
Better insight- Research shows that if a company embarks on each department working its own without embracing cross-functional teamwork, it incurs unnecessary expenses. When a supply chain manager combines various experts in different fields, they all bring on board a varied set of skills that when collaborated, integrated and well-coordinated insights creative solutions and meaningful development to the improvement of supply chain s every member exhibits their abilities and knowledge thus the business gets viable solutions faster.
Being led by a sound-minded manager, a Cross-functional team boosts team morale, bonding and changes workplace dynamics, therefore, enhancing the general productivity of the organization. Vaijayanthi et al. (2011), in their research, stated that cross-functional team, amongst other factors, is one of the issues that highly influence employee engagement in an organization.
Different employees in an organization have varied communication strengths and challenges. Good communication skills are developed through interaction between members of a cross-functional team. Good communication skills inspire effective communication, which in turn forms a basis for sharing, discussing, and understanding diversified ideas and opinions, which in turn act as a way of improving the operations and supply chain in the organization.
A cross-functional team brings together people of different ages, backgrounds, and thoughts with diverse, innovative ideas. Also, team members from other departments (tech and non-tech) interact and share ideas, thus discouraging stereotyping and removing the idea that one department is better than the other; this enhances oneness towards achieving goals and leads to conflict resolution.
It builds teamwork spirit- a cross-functional team gives the manager opportunity to create a group of high performers. When working together, the members develop virtues such as unity and patience. These virtues help create a good work atmosphere which is key to improving operations and supply chain within the company.
Teams working together enhance innovations when such unity bring together diverse skills to find innovative solutions. Preethi (2021) argues that learning from each other in a cross-functional team boosts the ability to arrive at sound solutions to problems this unified sharing of expertise promote customer trust and satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is considered one of the critical elements in logistics when improving the supply chain.
Cross-functional team members do adopt a problem-solving mindset rather than a functional mindset. This kind of mindset aids in reducing cycle time for operations and the supply chain within an organization.
In conclusion, a cross-functional team is highly embraced by many companies for improving operations and supply chain because of the many benefits associated with the practice. It is advisable for the siloed companies to start enjoying the many benefits of collaboration and teamwork and for young companies to adopt it for faster growth.
Preethi Saro. (2021, March 16). Eleven incredible benefits of cross-functional teams. Custom Software Development Company -Bridge Global. https://www.bridge-global.com/blog/benefits-of-cross-functional-teams/
Sandeep Kashyap. (2019, March 25). Top 8 advantages of cross-functional team collaboration. ProofHub. https://www.proofhub.com/articles/benefits-of-cross-functional-team-collaboration
Vaijayanthi, P. (n.d.). Employee engagement predictors: A study at GE power & water. EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page. https://web.s.ebscohost.com/abstract?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=21517541&AN=69684099&h=VFtxYJW313%2bfaLspdubSyPdnYLPj0BzcV%2bEUy8c%2fwqzErovSs8