A decade ago, the supply chain leaders at most companies relied on hard technical skills — analytical prowess, technology expertise, operations, and economics knowledge. However, the rising pandemic has exposed loopholes in the existing global supply chains. To avoid potential losses, the supply chain executives now rely on new leadership competencies and soft skills to rise to the top.

A myriad of challenges is thrown every day to the supply chain professionals, ranging from managing the team and improving their productivity to risk prediction and profit forecasting. As a result, they should never stop learning new skills and enhancing the existing ones.

Now that you have a brief idea of the responsibilities of a supply chain professional, let us dive deep into the six core leadership competencies that you need to master as a supply chain leader.

Agility and Flexibility

The economic paradigm of the world is constantly changing rapidly and unpredictably; volatility is the new norm in supply chain management. Thus, the organizations need a leader who reacts quickly to external factors and minimizes potential risks. This calls out for the top core skills that every leader in this career should process, agility and flexibility.

As historical analysis has reported, unpredictability will always be present in the form of changing customer demands, economic apocalypses, market demands, and technological trends. Therefore, in this situation, the world needs leaders who are comfortable adapting to the ambiguity-prone environment with rock-solid real-time analysis.

An agile supply chain would deliver at the end of the day despite the challenges. Leaders who are agile and flexible would embrace changes and never resist them. You cannot plan it all in project management. So let’s be more flexible, adaptable, and creative!

Transformational Leadership

Supply Chain professionals drive businesses around the world. They are the key people working in a dynamic environment responsible for bringing out the best in people. They manage to change demands, markets, economy, etc., with a great sense of accurate analysis and transformational skillset.

Needless to say, supply chain leaders must possess excellent business communication and market negotiation skills. These soft skills are very crucial to excelling in this field. The ability to see the big picture and take action instead of being bewildered in spreadsheets is the need of the hour!

Strategic Leadership

Building and delivering sustainable and socially responsible products require your personality to be highly strategic with a heightened sense of responsibility as a leader. As aforementioned, the pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of supply chain organizations globally, for example, delayed shipments, mismanaged docks, and skyrocketing costs.

To be seen as the focal of the enterprise’s success, supply chain leaders must exceed customers’ expectations by continuously delivering outstanding value. Therefore, supply chain leaders now need new plans to fix problems on the go and make sure everything continues to run smoothly.

They also must communicate, coordinate, and collaborate effectively with their team members and external stakeholders. Maintaining a long-lasting supplier relationship with your unique business case-solving attitude will keep your organization at par with the competitors.

Collaborative Leadership

Too many cooks do not spoil the broth in a supply chain environment! Often a critical task requires the involvement of diverse teams having expertise in different sectors, ranging from marketing to operations. The supply chain leaders must have collaborative leadership skills to bring together the different teams around one table.

Today’s collaborative organizations are looking forward to hiring supply chain professionals who are willing to work collaboratively with IT, operations, finance, sales, etc., to ensure company-wide success and bring harmony and justice to the organizational culture.

Technical Expertise

Demand forecasting based on different parameters is what supply chain leaders do now. Machine learning and data visualization skills are necessary for deciding the inventory policy based on the current market scenario. Data analysts may help the leaders with the tool-tailored reports, but it is crucial to have technical knowledge of the core concepts to comprehend the matter in a better way.

As strategic supply chain management is highly emerging within the business landscape, the demand for high-level problem-solving skills among supply chain professionals will escalate accordingly. Thus, now is the time to explore the technical niche and upskill yourself to master the role of end-to-end supply chain leadership.

Global Business Leadership

Competency, consistency, and commitment drive the effective movement of the fast-paced international supply chain environment. Global diversity, adaptability to different work cultures, and staying consistent with the delivery efforts on an international front are examples that demonstrate the sense of global business leadership.

There can be multiple bottlenecks when operating globally, such as labor, logistics, resource crunch, and optimizing the import and export. It is possible to adept the necessary skills, but a word of caution here! If building teams and networking is not your cup of tea, then supply chain leadership roles may not be the best for you!

According to the Logistics Bureau, the above leadership competencies, communication, collaboration, and change are the three skills that any employee in a supply chain environment should have. A global supply chain leader should have a unique mix of talents and multitasking skills to lead and achieve their organisation’s business objectives.

So that’s all! The above discussed are the six crucial skills that any supply chain management professional should have. Of course, these skills may vary from company to company, but the core concepts stay the same.

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