The supply chain industry demands that people who work in it are continuously providing value through their skills and experience. The industry puts a premium on using skills to minimize costs and provide the most value possible to clients.
That being said, some skills provide more value than others. Below is a short list of supply chain skills that provide the most ROI.
IT and automation skills
Supply chain is based on people using technology as a tool. There aren’t many supply chains, if any, operating effectively today without the assistance of enterprise technology tools like warehouse management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Supply chain managers must also be comfortable working with enterprise software applications like WMS, TMS and ERP, in addition to analytics software, which is growing into a common resource for leadership decision support.
Supply chain professionals should also be familiar with automation-based systems, given that more and more businesses are using automation in their operations. Ultimately, automation abilities may become more useful to supply chain professionals than their people abilities.
Knowledge of market dynamics
Market dynamics in many sectors are being impacted by rapid changes in buyer and supplier behaviors. For instance, many manufacturers that were strictly regional or local in the past have gone international, as have the supply chains that service them. As a supply chain professional, you should focus on what is coming up next for your market and be capable of forecasting trends. This requires a thorough knowledge of the market dynamics that relate to your organization.
Certainly, every industry and the niche markets within them are susceptible to their own particular dynamics. While it’s possible for supply chain professionals to function in any industry provided they know supply chain principles, a change of industry can require some research if the market they enter is not familiar.
Not enough businesses concentrate on the real costs involved with serving their customers.
The result of this lack of detailed focus is often a one-size-fits-all approach; resulting in the over-servicing of some customers and the underserving of others. Even more important, a single service offering can damage profitability, possibly setting up a scenario where logistics costs result in some sales producing losses rather than profits.
By having a complete cost-to-serve understanding, you’ll be better informed to make choices that boost profitability, as opposed to ad hoc decisions focused on cutting losses.
Project management ability
If you’re in the leadership stage of your supply chain career, or plan on moving up the ladder, project management skills are crucial to providing value for an organization. These skills include the ability to negotiate effectively for resources, stay organized and a proactive approach to risk management.
Start working with a Chicago supply chain recruiter
At ZDA, we work with supply chain professionals at all career stages, from entry-level to executive. If you’re currently looking to take the next step on your career path, please call a top supply chain recruiter today to find out how we can be of assistance.