As supply chains around the globe become increasingly more interdependent on one another, just as new technologies make manufacturing more efficient, supply chain executives need new skills that yesterday’s C-level executive never dreamed of. In fact, need for these skilled managers is expected to far surpass how many qualified executives are available to fill the positions.
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Crisis management is becoming more important, as supply chains are interrupted by natural disasters, political unrest, acts of terrorism, and other sudden and unpredictable events. Managers must be able to foresee problems, have backup plans in place to reroute materials and goods in the event of a disruption, and must track all aspects of the supply chain minute by minute to be ready to respond.
Executives will also have an increasing need for negotiations and people skills, particularly in working with foreign suppliers and transporters. This includes knowledge about foreign cultures, religious beliefs, local work ethics, and other related issues. Further, these leaders need to be able to understand how to comply with a range of government regulations, international transport laws, international customs, currency exchanges, and border treaties, all while keeping costs low and making on time deliveries of raw materials and manufactured goods.
Twenty years ago, supply chain executives didn’t need to have in-depth knowledge of technologies such as robotics, high-speed conveyor systems, or complex supply and transportation hardware and software. World class shipping giants such as UPS and FedEx have raised the bar when it comes to efficiency, on time delivery, and a high level of customer service.
Not only will tomorrow’s executives need to know how to work with these technologies, they’ll also need to leverage them for efficiency, which directly translates into higher profit margins. Perhaps the most important skill for upcoming industry leaders is ingenuity. [/show_to]