High Demand for Real Supply Chain Experts

scm-advantage

Good solid supply chain thinkers are in high demand and low supply.

I would know, I run this company called Global Supply Chain Group for the last 17 years.

It appears that it was not too long ago (when we formed this company) – most business people were struggling to understand what is supply chain and what does it do. We have come a long way since then.

Every politicians speech today is laced with references to global supply chains and business networks that run the commerce on earth today. Companies that are seen as supply chain trend setters are leaving everyone else (even in adjoining industries) biting the dust.

Take a look at the chart below:

But Amazon.com is not the only one.

Current trend is becoming clear- companies such as Apple, Zara, Uber, AirBNB have one thing in common – Supply Chain Leaders as CEOs. Integrators are in high demand. Optimisers rule the roost.

Every era has its own heralds and the mantle changes every few decades.

Every politicians speech today is laced with references to global supply chains and business networks that run the commerce on earth today. Companies that are seen as supply chain trend setters are leaving everyone else (even in adjoining industries) biting the dust.

As as example, it only one or two decades ago that strategists coming from McKinsey or 3Bs (BCG, Bain, Booz) were the prime candidates for the role of the CEOs. What made this necessary was the need for strategic thinking that was missing at the highest level before that. But clearly the mantle has passed on the the integrators / real supply chain leaders now. Here are the previous trends:

  • 1900 – 1925: Inventors, Creators
  • 1925 – 1955: Makers, Builders
  • 1955 – 1970: Promoters, Marketers
  • 1970 – 1980: Accountants, Finance
  • 1980 – 1990: Human Resources
  • 1990 – 2000: Strategists
  • 2000 – Current: Integrators, SCM Leaders

I know, you are asking where is the proof. Take a look at the picture below:

It will take a long time to explain the picture above, if you don’t get it by seeing it. It is also perhaps unnecessary in that case. Suffice it to say that two skills are becoming critical for business leadership:

Integration – of various parts of the 5-STAR Business network, internal and external resources, into a complete unit that delivers the customer experience

Optimisation – that enables sound profitability while delivering the customer experience

I have many other pretty pictures to expound these points, but I would rather focus on the outcomes.

So, what would you expect if above two skills were available in abundance? For sure, you would expect good business outcomes. These could take the form of any of the 5 possible themes:

This is the topic I cover in great deal of detail in my book THE 5-STAR BUSINESS NETWORK – so I will not talk about it in this post. Rather I want to focus on the reason I wrote this blog:

Now, if you have read it this far, there is a good chance that you know someone who will benefit from this information. Earn yourself some brownie points by letting them know – by sharing directly, or via groups. It only take 15 seconds.

Point to Remember - Two Keys to Success:

Integration – of various parts of the 5-STAR Business network, internal and external resources, into a complete unit that delivers the customer experience.

Optimisation – that enables sound profitability while delivering the customer experience

 

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Vivek Sood

I write about "The Supply Chain CEOs", "The 5-STAR Business Networks", and, how to "Unchain Your Corporation". In my work, I help create extraordinary corporate results using several 'unique' supply chain methodologies. Contact me for interesting, high impact projects, or, to get access to my IP for creating transformations using these methodologies.

  • Michael says:

    Great concept of the 5-star business network for the companies. It shows Supply chain experts on high demand in the industry.

    “A supply chain that can deliver around the globe on time at low cost takes years to build,” “It brings real competitive advantage [to a company], and that’s why supply chains are important and becoming more so.”

    However, the climate changed: Fuel prices went up, making it more cost-effective to ship computers in bulk; computer prices dropped, making it more affordable to store computers instead of building them to order; and the market matured and the rate of innovation slowed down, reducing inventory-carrying costs. This gave retail chains with big warehouses an advantage over custom shops such as Dell. As a result, Dell had to dramatically revamp its model. Sheffi says Dell is a cautionary tale for up-and-coming supply chain managers.

  • Supply Chain Owners Group says:

    Hi,

    Of course, one will have to be a Supply Chain Subject Matter Expert. This can only be honed after years of Experience, Education, Practical or Applied Theory, and perhaps Certification to at least one’s Mastery of the Supply Chain Body of Knowledge.

    • Umrawat says:

      It is well known that supply chain management is an integral part of most businesses and is essential to company success and customer satisfaction.
      Whether dealing with day-to-day product flows or dealing with an unexpected natural disaster, supply chain experts roll up their sleeves and get busy. They diagnose problems, creatively work around disruptions, and figure out how to move essential products to people in need as efficiently as possible.

  • Jorge SC Executive says:

    Because of advancements in digital technology and an increased focus on supply chain risk and globalization, supply chains are expanding in scope and the need for top talent has increased with it, and companies are having to pay more for the right people.

    Workers in high demand not only execute strategies to minimize the costs of moving goods through the supply chain but also understand management and customer needs while identifying additional areas for improvement.

    But one thing I am not sure about is what new career trends in logistics seem to be emerging?

    • Henry says:

      It may be emerging is the trend in logistics. Logistics and supply chain management may be the next big job market in the coming years, as companies buoyed by two big government moves to boost the sector are spending big bucks in hiring the best talent in the function.

      Professionals with experience levels of about 5-8 years in this domain are being offered middle management positions in companies across sectors. The other interesting trend is that a lot of fresh graduates are freelancing for companies and helping them adapt to artificial intelligence and big data.

  • CEO SCM-company says:

    As mentioned above Amazon is great player in SCM and getting more and more success everyday. So does credit goes to their CEO or their supply chain team?
    Amazon Success should be a part of SCM case study for other CEOs.

    • Vivek Sood says:

      Amazon is one of the few companies in the world that does not confuse between supply chain and logistics. Granted they do logistics very well too, but it is supply chain that they shine.You have to give the credit to Jeff Bezos, who is a supply chain CEO par excellence. I have included Amazon as a big case study in my 2013 book THE 5-STAR BUSINESS NETWORK – check it out here http://www.5starbusinessnetwork.com

      • Cathy SCM says:

        According to venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, “software is eating the world” and therefore eating supply chains with it. Business around the planet is increasingly dependent on IT and software applications. More and more transactions, operations and processes are conducted within IT servers and data centers.

        Anyone can comment on it? What should be the next steps for the business?

        • Jorge SC Executive says:

          Cathy, Software has eaten the world and supply chains with it. The service economy is booming and nobody just wants a product anymore. In fact, even the concept of a service, which is vitally important in B2B commerce, is already losing ground in consumer circles to the idea of dealing in “experiences.”

          Experience is everything in 2018 and without software—and supply chains—few if any businesses, can even exist, since there is no way to deliver the kind of experience that customers desire without either. In some domains, however, software is on its way to eliminating supply chains too or at least shortening them significantly.

          I hope I clarify your query.

          • Cathy SCM says:

            Thanks for your response, Jorge. But if the experience is everything then what would happen with freshers who are new entrepreneur or Jobs or new ventures?

    • Michael says:

      We can’t give credit to any individual for any type of success. I give credit to both CEO and their team. If the leader is lacking than team also lacking too or team is not working good, so somewhere leaders can suffer problems toward the success.

  • Godfery says:

    Good article Vivek. In the middle of this article, you have talked about skills essential for becoming a business leader. Well, my observation says whether the CEO of a global enterprise or the owner of a small retail store, every business leader must come to the job with more than just a vision. The fundamental management skills to bring it to life are just as necessary. From the ability to communicate effectively to time management and finely honed organizational skills, these are always relevant basics that every manager who intends to lead must develop in order to advance. And while the underlying principles and standards can be learned in the classroom, there’s nothing like talented and dedicated management mentors to teach by example.

  • Theo Zempest says:

    Good article Vivek. In the middle of this article, you have talked about skills essential for becoming a business leader. Well, my observation says whether the CEO of a global enterprise or the owner of a small retail store, every business leader must come to the job with more than just a vision. The fundamental management skills to bring it to life are just as necessary. From the ability to communicate effectively to time management and finely honed organizational skills, these are always relevant basics that every manager who intends to lead must develop in order to advance. And while the underlying principles and standards can be learned in the classroom, there’s nothing like talented and dedicated management mentors to teach by example.

  • Leo Hart says:

    Incredible article on supply chain expert and leadership demand. I believe being an effective business leader takes years of practice. The primary reason it takes so long is that effective leadership means being able to balance a number of skills, all of which require their own learning curve. In fact, “skills” isn’t even the best word for it. They’re really more virtues than anything else. Though different leadership styles can be used at different times to build and run an effective business, few basic and essential character traits should be universal in each and every leader, especially in a business leader.

  • Arnold says:

    Everyone here is talking about different leadership skills and a few important skills you have also discussed in this article too. I would like to add my point of view as well. My Judgment on this topic articulates that one of the most important characteristics of a business leader is decisiveness. Every effective leader has to learn how to make sound decisions, quickly. What so many leaders forget is that no decision is still a decision in itself. This is known as paralysis by analysis. Out of fear of making the wrong decision, they end up postponing taking action, which almost always causes a larger problem, and so on and so forth. Effective leaders often learn this lesson the hard way. And once they do, they know the value in moving swiftly and confidently, even if they’re not entirely certain of their direction because they know any direction is better than no direction.

  • Eric says:

    Professional people having experience in supply chain management have much influence on the success of the business. From planning, purchasing, production, transportation, storage, distribution and customer service supply chain professionals are having a major role in the process of running in any business. They connect all the major departments in the organization. From controlling expense to boosting sales supply chain managers maximize the profit of a company. However, there are certain roles which need assistance and mutual participation. As supply chain professionals connect different part of an industry it is easier for them to help other departments execute their strategies. A supply chain management professional can choose whether to work for attaining results or apply technology or analyze data at various stages. This also differs among various industries like manufacturers, retailers and transport organizations. Supply chain professionals also need to have knowledge of managing supply chain functions such as transportation, warehousing, inventory management, and production planning. More recently, supply-chain management extends to logistical support across firms and management of global supply chains.

  • Lilly Ficher says:

    The role of supply chain experts is very crucial and perhaps that’s the reason they are held responsible for everything that gets wrong. One of the reasons operational experts are being dragged out of back offices is that supply chains have become more complex and far-reaching. With the growth in developed economies stagnant, companies are increasingly pushing into emerging markets where they are more reliant on third party suppliers. Operational experts are gaining status because the risk of getting the logistics and supply chain wrong can be so catastrophic. Once I was working in a company, the clothing company. The company announced that a supply chain problem in its warehouse management system had led to problems shipping customers’ orders and a significant loss of sales, resulting in a considerable percent drop in the share price.

  • Ammy Breda says:

    Duh. Everyone knows great leaders have to be great communicators. But there are certain points of communication that many people forget. For example, it’s critical that you communicate to employees how their work matters in the bigger picture. Are they a cog, or does their work truly make a difference? Communicating success is also something leaders forget to do. People need affirmation. They want to know they did a good job. You just have to tell them. And be precise. Insecure leaders will often ramble; uninterested leaders cut things off too quickly. Whether you’re giving praise, providing constructive criticism, or defining goals and to-dos, you have to figure out how much to say and in what order. Be precise, specific and concise. Get to the point.

  • Jean says:

    While there is a high demand for supply chain experts there is also a shortage of experts and business leaders. There are several reasons for the shortage of talent in the supply chain field, including the looming retirement of skilled Baby Boomers and the qualifications required to keep pace with a changing landscape. Just take a look, for example, at what’s required for supply chain professionals working for a global third-party logistics. Employees need to know customs rules and regulations, fulfillment, distribution, warehousing, transportation, consolidation, and just about any logistics and trade-related services. Another issue for the talent shortage is the outdated perception among potential candidates of the supply chain industry, deterring them from entering the field. The industry has a whole has to present a clearer understanding of what supply chain professionals do, which can lead to a big increase in supply chain talent. The supply chain sector faces severe types of hurdles to bridge the talent gap.

  • Carl Catullin says:

    Amazingly written article Vivek. I agree with everything you have revealed in this article. No doubt the demand for supply chain experts is increasing day by day. In fact, the demand for supply chain professionals in manufacturing and retail has gone through the roof. Because of advancements in digital technology and an increased focus on supply chain risk and globalization, supply chains are expanding in scope and the need for top talent has increased with it, and companies have to pay more for the right people. With the industry poised for growth, there will be many opportunities for those looking for a career within the supply chain and logistics industry.

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