Critical Characteristics Every Supply Chain Manager Should Have

To be best in any job, one ought to have certain skills and characteristics that complement requirements brought up in that field. To choose the right people to take on the supply chain responsibility, CEO’s must have and know the perfect criteria. The items included in this criterion can be grouped into five key qualities and they are:

Being technically savvy

IT skills are the second most sought after skills in supply chain management. The needed skills may range from simple computer literacy skills to a working knowledge of industry-specific software. The supply chain chief need not have credentials in IT systems, but must have a close relationship with the IT director and ideally have no shortage of IT savvy specialists on staff. He or she must be able to deal with challenges of technology selection, implementation and application; must be up to date with the latest technology innovations and tools; must also be wise and understand the implementation challenges that take place in the complexity of today’s supply chain software solutions.

Being a systems thinker

Supply chain managers must be able to keep up with the challenges that come with thinking of the supply chain as a system. They must embrace the added dimension of cross-functional and cross-company complexity. Excellent managers are able to understand the connections and interdependencies across logistics, manufacturing, marketing/sales and procurement. Success in engaging in the complexity of interfaces with suppliers and customers outside of the warehouse is also very important.

Having superior business skills and language

Supply chain leaders must be able to effectively communicate with senior executives. They must be comfortable with speaking about terms such as EBITDA, ROIC and economic profit as they are comfortable talking about fleet-truck efficiency or demand forecasting. A supply chain manager needs to step into the treasurer’s office and be capable of holding a conversation about cash flow and step outside and be able to immediately engage in delivery schedules talk with suppliers. Supply chain problems are often the least understood by the board and the CEO and must be explained in their language.

Having influential leadership and the ability to inspire

The number of supply chain leaders that are front-and-center within organizations is growing. They must be able to create close interpersonal relationships that build a credible reputation for them and for the supply chain function across the organization. True leaders build teams and manage personnel where they find themselves in positions to influence. Such positions are used to get people to work together to create world-class supply chain. Managers of stature are also gifted in building close collaborative relationships with their companies’ leaders in sales and marketing, human resources and finance.

Being globally orientated

Finally, all leaders today need to be globally capable. Global sourcing and global supply chains have grown tremendously in the past years and have grown for both retailers and manufacturers. A lot of companies source & sell globally and also have competitors that do so. Therefore, supply chain managers must be able to manage an enterprise that extends across continents and must deal effectively with suppliers and customers across the world.

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