Seven core competencies of successful supply chain leaders highlighted

18 August 2015

The APICS Supply Chain Council (APICS SCC) has identified seven core competencies as essential for leadership success in the supply chain.

A non-profit organisation promoting supply chain development, it compiled the list from multiple sources, including surveys of APICS members, articles and external research for its report, Supply Chain Leadership Report: Many Styles Generate Success.

The essential skills were based on various attributes, leadership styles and abilities that formally and informally influence a multitude of stakeholders.

The core competencies indentified are:

• Creating and communicating a vision
• Promoting and bringing about change
• Building partnerships
• Capturing and acting on insightful information
• Seizing and creating opportunity at the right place and time
• Consistently modelling honourable behaviour and best practices
• Serving the best interests of the organisation without being self-serving

It also listed key themes for effective supply chain leadership, including:

• Applying certainty to uncertain situations affecting others, such as in forecasting or decision-making.
• Balancing risk and reward in careful analysis using hard and soft skills
• Aligning tactics to strategy in planning and harmony with organisational culture
• Maintaining and improving relationships of supply chain partners
• Satisfying competing priorities and stakeholders on an ongoing basis

According to APICS SCC, most respondents to the survey said developing supply chain resources, potential and trust required both effective management and leadership. While a supply chain was a vast network of products, services, information and finance that can be effectively managed in the short term, strong leadership was required for optimal, ongoing, long-term performance.

APICS SCC executive director Peter Bolstorff said the report provided a blueprint for developing successful supply chain leadership. “We know that the personal demands of supply chain leaders increase each day, and we also know the organisational pressure to recruit and retain effective supply chain leaders is continually increasing,” he said.

Bolstorff added that developing future supply chain leaders was a strategic imperative. “Both individuals and organisations need to take responsibility for identifying supply chain leadership learning opportunities and incorporate them into both personal and organisational development plans.”

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