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Four skills for modern supply chain professionals

As the skills required to be a supply chain professional evolve, so do the way they work with others

About this article

Supply chains have become more complex; the job is no longer just about being able to deal with facts and figures. A great supply chain professional needs a wealth of softer and broader skills that include being able to act and think collaboratively, being able to influence other departments or the wider business, thinking strategically and a greater awareness of the end-to-end chain.

Here are our top tips for success:

1. Collaborative thinking

Collaboration is all about relationships and developing trusted partnerships.

Individuals need to be able to interpret lots of data and apply strategic thinking in their approach.

By getting exposure to new opportunities, even if it’s developing internal relationships first, this is a great stepping stone to building relationships outside of your business.

2. Greater awareness of the end-to-end chain

Understanding trends in the marketplace and how they affect your business and supply chain will help you put your role in context.

A better understanding of the end-to-end supply chain will also help explain the actions of your trading partners and provide ideas about how to work better together.

3. Strategic thinking

Supply chains have evolved and developed, with many global companies now operating centralising functions that were traditionally regionalised – like customer service and logistics.

Being able to think strategically and apply tactics across regions is now a key part of the role.

Understanding how your role fits into the wider context and contributes to the strategic direction of the business and where you can add value will set you up for success.

4. Understand the levers you possess

Understanding your team’s skills and capabilities is crucial.

Use the different levers your team possesses and understand in what situations they are most beneficial.

If you have some skills gaps, there are some ways that you can upskill relatively quickly:

  • Empower them with information to make informed decisions
  • Provide exposure to other departments and companies as part of a personal development plan
  • Benchmark your company’s training against your peers

IGD’s Supply Chain: The Essentials workshop uses simulated scenarios and interactive activities to understand what is expected of supply chains, how success is measured and the part that collaboration plays to drive efficiency.

If you need a greater appreciation of the end-to-end supply chain and how to drive customer-focus in your business, attend our next workshop on 7th June.

IGD Training

IGD Training

IGD Training helps people at all stages of their careers to flourish in today's fast-changing world. This is delivered through free personal development opportunities on behalf of the charity and also by paid-for commercial workshops, customised training and research projects. 

Supply Chain: The Essentials

Supply Chain: The Essentials

A new practical one day workshop for all roles in suppliers, to help develop your understanding of the vital part that supply chains play in underpinning FMCG businesses.