When you want to become a leading Supply Chain professional, will having just a business degree be enough?

With the current testing times and people consistently learning and upskilling themselves, the simple answer is no.

Below are various essential knowledge areas for anyone who wants to learn and lead the supply chain industry.

Automation and Information Technology Knowledge 

People utilising technology as a tool are at the heart of supply chain leadership. If you want to be a successful supply chain leader, nothing is more crucial than upskilling your people’s abilities. 

Nonetheless, without the use of sophisticated technology tools such as warehouse management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, few supply chains today can function successfully. Thus, working in a supply chain setting requires at least a basic understanding of IT, particularly if you plan to assume a leadership position. If you’re looking for some recommendations, we have a few courses at Seekho that help you understand these technologies at a fundamental and deeper level.

To be a supply chain leader, you must be knowledgeable with enterprise software tools such as WMS, TMS, and ERP, as well as analytics software, which is quickly becoming a standard source of leadership decision support.

A Thorough Understanding of Economics and Market Dynamics 

The supply chain world is evolving quickly and unexpectedly in response to market dynamics in various industries, many of which are being impacted by rapid developments in customer and consumer purchasing behaviour

Several local or regional markets, and the supply networks that serve them, have become global. As a supply chain manager, you must concentrate on the future and, to some extent, foresee it. 

This can be achieved if you have a deep awareness of the market factors that affect your sector and business.

Indeed, each industry, as well as the niches within it, has its own set of market dynamics. 

Supply chain executives can work in any business if they learn their stuff; however, a change of employer may necessitate some research, particularly if the market is unknown.

Cost-to-Serve Analysis 

Supply chain leaders have a significant impact on the profitability of their employing firm. 

Your decisions as a supply chain manager may impact the costs of supplying your company’s clients. 

The measurement of cost components that go into customer service or product production is known as the cost to serve. 

When combined with revenue, the cost-to-serve analysis allows you to properly evaluate profitability by customer, product type (1), production lines (2), facilities, and procedures. 

Moreover, it allows you to pinpoint inefficient business sections and avoid scenarios where increased volume leads to higher losses.

Thus, the service is frequently delivered in a one-size-fits-all manner, resulting in the over-servicing of certain customers and the under-servicing of others. 

A single service offering may even reduce profitability, causing some sales to result in losses rather than profits due to logistics costs.

You can make decisions that improve the profitability of those customers and goods rather than taking knee-jerk actions to cut losses if you establish a deep cost-to-serve understanding. 

Every business wants supply chain executives who can directly and positively impact the bottom line, but not every company has them. 

As a result, learning cost-to-serve analysis is a talent. It can help you stand out as a capable supply chain specialist.

The Ability to Be Flexible 

Innovation does not appear on this list of ‘must-have’ abilities for supply chain leaders. 

To be an effective supply chain leader, you don’t need to be an innovator, but you should learn, support, and promote innovation. 

Flexibility is a skill that will aid you in this endeavour as it allows you to let others participate in creative ideas. Your adaptability will offer those innovative thinkers the confidence to present their ideas, knowing that if it makes sense, you will implement them. 

Flexibility will prevent you from becoming too enamoured with the status quo to ever abandon it.

Change (commonly the sole constant in supply chain management) will not faze you or cause you undue worry if you are flexible.  As a result, your staff will be pushed to embrace change rather than resist it.  

One of the soft talents that distinguishes effective supply chain leaders is flexibility. 

This is due to the changing nature of supply chain activities and the fact that things won’t always go as planned—far from it, to be honest. 

It is not uncommon for problems to arise during supply chain optimization projects, needing plans to be adjusted. 

An inflexible leader may be adamant about sticking to the initial approach, growing increasingly agitated in the process and causing more harm than good.

However, if you learn to be flexible towards improvising and pivoting, you can become the best supply chain manager in the industry.

Knowing to Negotiate

As a modern supply chain leader, you will need to connect effectively and professionally with people outside your firm as well as your colleagues. 

Furthermore, both internal and external relationships will frequently necessitate negotiation. 

Even if you’re not negotiating on a one-on-one basis, you’ll almost certainly find yourself in situations where you’re part of a group of individuals attempting to make a deal or arrangement. 

Negotiations are primarily transactional, but they frequently occur between companies or teams with long-term economic relationships. 

Your talents will impact the outcome of the transaction and the direction of future relationships, whether you are the lead or a casual participant in the negotiation.

Conclusion: How to Upskill Yourself as a Supply-Chain Manager?

Your business degree and/or hands-on experience in a supply chain function will surely aid you in gaining and maintaining a supply chain leader’s position in your present company—or in a new one if you decide to switch. 

However, supply chains have become so complex that continuous upskilling is required to succeed as a supply chain manager and make an impact. 

For example, our <course name> curriculum was created and designed by industry professionals. It can help you learn about each supply chain area in a practical way, with real-world problem-solving and accessible examples of typical blunders and how to avoid them.

You can join our Seekho Select Membership to learn Supply Chain Management now and you can also download our app.

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