Building a Better Supply Chain Professional

What are the skill sets that will catapult your supply management group to its peak performance? Here is a guide to help unlock their potential


  • Technical & Process Skills (TP)
  • Creative & Strategic Skills (CS)
  • Interpersonal & People Skills (IP)

"Broadly, supply management executives seek professionals with a diverse skill set," points out SupplyStaff's Evans. "They're looking for individuals with an ability to lead and those who are team players." The strategic positions offered today also expect individuals to be stellar communicators as well as possess a degree of sales and marketing skills. Many cite project management skills as a plus.

Once supply management leaders have assessed and identified the appropriate skills required for their team to operate at a strategic level, education and training can be instituted to fill any gaps.

Table 2 is designed to help organize your company's slate of required skill sets based on the overall strategic goals of your organization. (Those listed in Table 2 are simply examples and do not constitute absolute skill set listings.)

Summary

The reality of the "Top 10" is that every supply management group will have a variation of its own while understanding that categories such as Technical & Process, Creative & Strategic, and Interpersonal & People can help organize the required skill sets holistically and inclusively.

"Our set of skills is different than just a few years ago, and they'll probably change again," says IBM's Cantwell. "We will continuously look at the mix of skills, knowledge and competency needed to maintain a high level of innovation within our organization and an integrated supply chain that serves an on-demand client."

All executives interviewed indicate that certain skills will survive the test of time. What's important to executives, however, is continually assessing their top skill requirements based on their organizations' business strategies, and then formally testing for shortcomings and using education or hiring strategies to fill the gaps.

About the Author: Julie Murphree is the founding editor of Supply & Demand Chain Executive. She has written countless articles and spoken on such subjects as negotiations, business management issues, and supply and demand chain management. www.JulieMurphree.com.

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