Half of supply chain managers don't have the necessary skills, CIPS poll finds

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
3 September 2015

Almost half of UK supply chain managers lack the necessary skills to do their job, a survey has revealed.

The survey, carried out by CIPS, also found eight in 10 of those who felt inadequately trained thought malpractice could be taking place in their supply chain.

The poll of 460 CIPS members in the UK, Australia and South Africa showed 45 per cent did not believe they had received the necessary training and 60 per cent did not feel the profession was respected within their business.

The research comes as the quarter two 2015 CIPS Risk Index shows global supply chain risk has risen to its highest level since late 2013, driven by a tightening of credit rules in China, which has forced managers to look much more closely at the durability of their Asian supply chains, said CIPS.

David Noble, group CEO, CIPS, said the economy’s recovery was being threatened by a lack of skills.

“Supply chain managers are the first line of defence for British consumers and businesses,” he said. “They protect shoppers from harmful products, stop our businesses from being ripped off and keep slavery out of Britain’s supply chains.

“These new figures show that our tentative recovery is being undermined by a lack of skills. Without them, we risk building our growth on human rights abuses and malpractice abroad. Supply chain professionals are doing the best they can with insufficient training but as the threats to British supply chains continue to evolve, so skills must be continuously renewed to keep up.

“You wouldn’t trust an underskilled surgeon using outdated equipment to operate, but that is often what is happening in the management of our supply chains.”

The survey found adequately trained supply chain managers were 50 per cent more likely to carry out annual supplier audits. But just 16 per cent of their inadequately trained counterparts could see the entire length of their supply chain and 79 per cent admitted malpractice could be happening.

Ethical considerations were seen as the most important responsibility of the profession, with 51 per cent of managers saying treating people fairly was one of the top three aims of a supply chain professional, followed by meeting regulatory requirements (46 per cent) and helping to grow their business (44 per cent).

Only 7 per cent in the survey were motivated by driving a hard bargain, with 48 per cent motivated by contributing to business growth.

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