Key skills every Supply Chain leader needs
- 1 September 2017
- Written by: bemelmans
- Category: Supply Chain
Leading organizations are increasingly recognizing the supply chain functional leader as an essential executive to coordinate the end-to-end supply chain process. According to a survey by Deloitte in 2014, 79% of companies with high-performing supply chains, achieve revenue growth greater than average within their industries. Managing supply chain functions such as transportation, warehousing, inventory management and production planning, supply chain leaders need to quickly switch between different tasks and this can prove to be quite challenging. Specific skills are required which can eventually lead to sustainable business results. To be ahead of the game, supply chain leaders must ensure their skills and knowledge are well developed and stay relevant. Let’s take a look at the five key skills which they need:
Information technology and Automation Knowledge
Given the increasing use of technology across the supply chain, it is essential that supply chain leaders become tech savvy. For example: An understanding of how your supply chain uses enterprise technology tools such as warehouse management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems leads to effective use, more efficiency and reduction in wastage.
In 2014, 100-plus thought leaders and partners that participated in the US Roadmap for Material Handling and Logistics survey predicted that traditional Supply Chain models would undergo dramatic transformation change due to technological innovation and changes in customer demand between 2015 and 2025. New technology gives businesses the ability to boost communication and coordination of purchases. If applied efficiently, it has the capacity to increase revenue and significantly reduce costs – making your organisation more competitive.
Companies have already come a long way in terms of implementing new technologies, but there is further to go. Emerging technologies such as 3D printing, drones, predictive analytics, robotics and automation, cloud computing and storage will have a major impact on how supply chains operate in the future.
Global business leadership
The expanding global workforce is increasingly being enriched in diversity and mobility. The expansion of international corporations benefits the global economy. In this economic and technological growth, it’s crucial that supply chain leaders develop the leadership skills to be able to operate in an international business environment. It’s also essential that supply chain professionals understand the basic supply chain fundamentals associated with global logistics; for example, understanding how to optimize the import and export flows, dealing with global labor issues and how to source globally.
Strategic supply chain management
Understanding all the facets and elements of a supply chain is a must. Having strategic supply chain management means being able to operate a chain in any organization, regardless of its size. Customer service, and most importantly customer satisfaction, are among the most important factors which will determine revenue growth in businesses. The customer must be the primary focus when considering supply chain strategy, network design, and performance management. Furthermore, improving, streamlining and optimizing the supply chain can lead to cost reduction.
There are a number of project management skills that you will need as a supply chain leader. You need be able to plan and manage various projects effectively. The most important project management skills to acquire as a supply leader are:
– The ability to negotiate successfully for resources, budgets, and schedules.
– A high degree of personal organization which allows you to keep track of numerous projects.
– A proactive approach to risk management, for instance: asking the right questions relating to project proposals and business cases.
As a supply chain leader, it is imperative to know the language of senior executives. For example: speaking about demand forecasting, the efficiency of truck scales and terms like profit and economics should come naturally to you. Besides, discussing cash flow and talking about delivery schedules with suppliers is part of the job for supply chain leaders. Effective business communication will allow you to explain several issues to various board members who are not familiar with supply chain topics in a way that they will understand.
Acquiring these skills – Try a different type of Supply Chain Training
Effective supply chain training can significantly improve the bottom line of an organization by reducing cost, implementing new technology, encouraging employee engagement and ensuring customer satisfaction. Traditional training has been here for some time and still prevails with successful results. However, with modern technologies there is a new way of learning, and many global companies are already opting for such modern solutions which include e-learning, simulation, webinars, and gamification.
At Supply Chain Academy, we provide your employees with application-based training which allows them to apply what they are learning in their daily tasks. For instance: through scenario-based training videos, employees learn from real job situations so they know how to react in certain circumstances at work. With this unique approach to bridging the gap between theory and practice through internal academies within companies, supply chain leaders can acquire the leadership skills they need to run the supply chain of their organization effectively, leading to competitive advantage and sustainable business results.
A successful and productive supply chain can improve the bottom line in any industry. Leaders have to put in place strategies to create a strong supply chain which will support the overall operation of the organization. For this to happen, supply chain leaders must develop their skills and knowledge and stay relevant, while ensuring their employees have the required capabilities to implement their strategic visions aligned with the overall objectives of the company. This can be achieved through a world-class training and development program.