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mei 31, 2023


Resilience in Learning: How Comcast is Closing the Supply Chain Skills Gap

<br>Comcast is a global telecommunications conglomerate boasting the second-largest broadcasting and cable television company worldwide, the United States’ largest home internet service provider, and its third-largest telephone service provider.&nbsp;<br>To connect and service its customers effectively, Comcast operates an extensive supply chain spanning more than 500 retail stores and 10,000 service technicians. Every month, more than 2,000,000 pieces of hardware are processed &#8211; dispatched, returned, tested, refurbished, and redeployed.<br>But meeting demand while managing change is a major challenge for its supply chain organization, especially when contending with social and economic disruption, rising customer expectations, and a widening industry skills gap.<br>Jeff Eissinger, VP of Enterprise Strategy and Solutions at Comcast, recently spoke to Udemy Business about confronting these challenges, including the importance of customer-centricity, why hiring young talent matters, and how to nurture a more adaptive learning culture.&nbsp;<br><h2 class="wp-block-heading"><strong>Managing continuous change and understanding</strong></h2><br>The pandemic was a wake-up call for Comcast. While the business continued to grow, its supply chain had to learn how to respond to new and unexpected challenges.<br>“We had a changing dynamic. Every day was a new challenge we hadn’t seen before,” says Eissinger. “It was no longer sufficient to look at what happened last week to understand the now. We had to get agile and customer-centric to stay competitive.”<br>Moreover, the rapid shift to digital-first experiences in the consumer space elevated customer expectations across the board, rewriting the rules of competition.<br>“We aren’t just competing against traditional rivals anymore, but every brand experience our customers have that day or that week,” says Eissinger. “For example, my wife recently bought some shoes online that didn’t fit. Within an hour, the retailer had arranged a return courier and replacement. And to drive brand loyalty, we must do the same.”<br>While Comcast had been developing a robust analytics environment to help monitor market behavior and deliver joined-up customer experiences, it needed more than quality insights to adapt to a new era of continuous change.<br>“We realized that things would never be the same again,” says Eissinger. “Whether it’s geopolitical disruption, labor shortages, or whatever new connected experiences our customers expected that day — we needed to be ready for anything.”<br>But getting people onboard for change is easier said than done. That’s why it’s so important that everyone understands your vision and how they contribute to it.&nbsp;<br>And as Eissinger explains, without the right skilled individuals, there’s no way to meet that vision: “Our mission is to get devices safely back and forth to our customers, but our vision is where we want to go next — like delivering incredible customer experiences. Your employees must feel like they’re part of a bigger story and see that embracing change can help them achieve the best possible outcome for everyone.”<br><h2 class="wp-block-heading"><strong>Putting faith in the next generation — and broadening skillsets</strong></h2><br>Organizations are struggling to fill a widening supply chain skills gap. Deloitte estimates up to 2.4 million positions will go unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion.<br>For Comcast, the lack of available talent is a very real challenge. In response, Eissinger and his team have nurtured an environment where employees can learn new skills outside their traditional roles — and even their industry.<br>“Many companies will try and solve the skills gap by bringing people in and molding them to do business the same way it’s been done for decades,” says Eissinger. “But when you need to adapt to change quickly, sticking to tradition is counterintuitive.”<br>Today, Comcast is recruiting more digital natives and giving them the autonomy to add value, solve problems, and collaborate to build new supply chain capabilities.<br>“You’ve got this generation of supply chain talent coming out of school with the digital literacy skills our industry needs,” says Eissinger. “They expect you to let them learn and experiment. It’s important to harness that energy and let it grow.”<br>In doing so, Comcast is building a more adaptive and resilient workforce and introducing its senior executives to new solutions.<br>“We’ve had instances where we’ve hired a junior planner, and before you know it, they’re using their initiative to solve problems by writing code and using analytics — skills outside the role’s remit on paper,” says Eissinger. “And I say, why not? They understand it, and they’re doing a great job. We’re proud to have created an environment where people can learn, share, and experiment without fear of failure.”<br><h2 class="wp-block-heading"><strong>Harnessing collective intelligence to solve problems</strong></h2><br>With Comcast’s employees spread across the U.S., spanning administration, field services, warehouse logistics, and more, Eissinger recognizes that people can sometimes feel disconnected from the vision and lose the drive to learn and embrace change.&nbsp;<br>That’s why Comcast hosts a six-month cohort ideas tournament each year for its employees to network and build solutions to shared challenges.&nbsp;<br>“There’s real power in letting people collaborate and recognize the challenges they all share,” says Eissinger. “And at the end of the tournament, they get to pitch their ideas to an executive panel, and we pick the most realistic solution for implementation.”<br>So far, the tournaments have proven hugely beneficial for participants and leaders alike, with monthly team reviews also helping the latter share insights into the decision-making process to drive engagement and understanding.&nbsp;<br>“We’re all learning from each other,” says Eissinger. “Not only do employees learn more about the executive side of the business, but we get to come away with unique insights into the consequences of our decisions and the challenges our employees face.”<br>And by working and learning together, Comcast is harnessing collective intelligence to build new organizational capabilities and drive business performance.<br><h2 class="wp-block-heading"><strong>It’s time to prioritize Learning and Development</strong></h2><br>To help drive continuous skills development, Comcast encourages its employees to explore learning opportunities both in and outside the organization.&nbsp;<br>This includes helping people make the time to take online courses, attend conferences, and explore the Udemy Business platform, which Comcast has used for several years.<br>“We must lead by example and keep testing ourselves,” says Eissinger. “If somebody wants to develop a skill outside the company, I’ll always say: go for it. As for Udemy, we will follow up with people if they aren’t using it because they’re always given the time to do so.”<br>As for what’s next for Comcast, the plan is to keep learning, upskilling, and adapting — a journey Udemy Business is proud to support wherever Comcast goes next.<br><br><h2 class='cta-module-block__title'>Empower your team. Lead the industry.</h2><br><br>Get a subscription to a library of online courses and digital learning tools for your organization with Udemy Business.<br><br><br>Request a demo<br><br>

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