With the emerging technological advancements and fundamental shifts in supply chain activities, it is safe to say that the supply chain landscape is not the same as it was a decade ago. New evolutions in technology such as 3-D printing, autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics and omni-channel retailing have brought about tremendous change in supply chain management.
Take the e-commerce giant Amazon for example, which has been working on a drone-based delivery system. The retail corporation Walmart has also developed a global satellite system that collects and shares its real-time store data. While these companies have taken that early step towards redefining their supply chain for optimal success in the future, most industries are finding it difficult to prepare themselves for today’s ever-evolving, exponentially more complex supply chain industry.The question is why?
According to industry analysts and experts, so much progress so quickly calls for new skills in supply chain management and leadership. Unfortunately, most supply chain organizations are unable to meet this demand currently.
Hence, the need of the hour is an advanced workforce who can integrate innovation and technology with their working knowledge of supply chain tools, activities, and goals to carry out strategic, higher-level supply chain activities in the very near future.
Here are some skills that are required for a new-age supply chain manager:

1. Understanding of Information Systems

In the words of Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft, “Information Technology is at the core of how you do your business and how your business model evolves itself.” This stands true for supply chain industry as well. Thus, it is important for supply chain managers of tomorrow to gain expertise and adeptness in packaged software systems like WMS, ERP, TMS, etc. for better decision support.

2. Technological Expertise

In the wake of technological revolution, it has become imperative for supply chain managers to gain knowledge in areas like Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Robotics and Automation, and know how to effectively utilise them to advance their supply chain. Take Alibaba for instance, which was able to reduce the human workforce at one its facilities by 70% by increasing robotic labour.

3. Strategic Planning and Big Thinking

Another capability quickly becoming indispensable in supply chain leaders is data analytics mentality or Big Thinking. The knowledge of advanced analytics provides them the ability to draw on the data sets and information created by supply chain activities to anticipate market trends and make better, faster, holistic decisions while say, optimising their production runs and distribution plans.

4. End-to-End Supply Chain Management

Unlike a few years ago, a supply chain manager today needs to understand the complete end-to-end supply chain – from sourcing to production, planning to delivery and service – through collaboration and networking. This real-time experience can enable future managers to align all key supply chain partners, identify potential risks and address issues as they arise for effective operations.

5. Risk Management Expertise

As new and improved products, processes and services are entering the market, risk management is fast becoming an important asset for supply chain managers. While different businesses will have an array of different potential risks, the knowledge of risk management can help supply chain managers ask the right questions relating to business, quantify risks, and build contingencies effectively.

6. Global Leadership

As the supply chain is becoming global owing to the technological developments and changes in the market, it has become vital for supply chain managers of tomorrow to develop a holistic leadership style. The ability to control the entire supply chain process as a single point of command, and work seamlessly on a multi-channel, multi-partner basis will enable them to drive change and action.

Currently, supply chain management positions are growing at nearly 270,000 opportunities per year, and there is only one skilled candidate for every six job openings. By 2030, the volume of jobs in the supply chain industry would have grown exponentially and the ratio of qualified candidates to job openings could be as high as 1:9.
The question is will you qualify to run the supply chains of 2030? How would you thrive, and not just survive in the rapidly changing and rather complex supply chain environment?If you wish to accelerate your career and master these new-age skills to prepare yourself to lead the supply chain industry to 2030 and beyond, MIT’s Supply Chain Management Program is just the right choice for you. For more details, click here.

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