Client Resources, Professional Growth, Supply Chain Trends

How to Identify Great Supply Chain Managers for Your Team

If there’s one constant in the supply chain market, it’s change. To keep up with the modern demands of the industry, new and different skills are necessary.

If you are in the market to hire a supply chain manager, what kind of background should you look for? What does a modern supply chain manager need to know?

Ten years ago, supply chain management was more focused on logistics—knowledge of shipping routes, familiarity with warehousing equipment, awareness of distribution-center locations and footprints and the ability to calculate fuel costs and freight rates.  These days, managers still need to be experienced with more “old school” functions like transportation, warehousing, inventory management and production planning, but their role goes far beyond functional expertise.

Here are five key qualities to look for:

Global Capabilities

Supply chain managers today need to be globally capable. Most retail and manufacturing companies source or sell globally, or their competitors do. A successful supply chain executive has to manage initiatives that extend across continents and build relationships with suppliers and customers worldwide.

Big-Picture Perspective

Unlike some executives who can think of their responsibilities as discrete, supply chain managers have to see the big picture and realize that supply chain is a cross-functional, cross-company system. They need to understand the connections and interdependencies across procurement, logistics, manufacturing, and marketing/sales internally, as well as external relationships with external suppliers and customers.

Leadership Abilities

More and more supply chain managers these days take a front-and-center role in the organization, or at least have a seat at the executive table. Not only must they be able to build and maintain good professional relationships to build credibility for themselves and the supply chain function, but they need to be able to communicate their message compellingly to multiple stakeholders including sales and marketing, human resources, and finance.

Technical Knowledge

While supply chain managers don’t need direct IT experience, they need to have experienced the challenges of technology selection, implementation and application. They also need to be able to communicate with tech-savvy members of their team and be aware of upcoming changes and implementation challenges that come along with today’s supply chain software solutions.

Business Acumen

Supply chain managers need to able to speak the language of senior executives and use and understand terms like EBITDA, ROIC, and economic profit. Supply chain issues are often the least understood by high-level executives and need to be explained in language they understand.

Hiring and retaining the right talent is a critical element in building a world-class supply chain. Finding that talent can be a challenge due to the cross-company, cross- functional skills that are necessary. If you feel you need assistance finding supply chain management candidates that will keep your chain running smoothly, don’t hesitate to contact Pamela Day and the team at ZDA Supply Chain Recruiters.

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