The Strategic Nature of Supply Chain

Becky Partida's picture

A recent survey conducted by the publishers of Supply Chain Management Review (SCMR) revealed that three-quarters of surveyed companies have either filled supply chain positions within the last year or are planning to fill positions in the coming year. This is positive economic news, but it raises two questions: What types of jobs are companies looking to fill? And what types of skills are needed?

Michael Koploy of Software Advice has put together a list of the top five hot jobs in the supply chain area. His list spans the entire supply chain, from demand planning to procurement management to distribution center management. The common skill needed for positions throughout the list is strategic thinking.

Forty-seven percent of respondents in SCMR’s survey indicated that supply chain job candidates need to be better prepared in the area of supply chain strategy. Other areas of concern for the respondents were global supply chain knowledge and supplier management/procurement.

Universities offering degrees in supply chain management have attempted to address knowledge gaps in the supply chain profession by offering more courses in global supply chain and procurement. While university courses are helpful for establishing concepts, they do not provide the on-the-job experience that a lot of companies also demand. This does not mean that opportunities for real-world experience do not exist.

Students can obtain practical experience through student groups that partner with companies to provide real-world problem-solving experience. Individual students can obtain internships to gain experience that backs up classroom learning. Companies can provide their existing supply chain professionals with opportunities to rotate through other positions within the supply chain as a means of gaining broader knowledge.

How does your company balance the classroom knowledge held by recent graduates with the need for real-world experience? Does your company rotate employees through different departments to give them broader knowledge of the supply chain?

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