ManufacturingOctober 5, 2021

What it Takes to Find Your Supply Chain Director of 2030

The supply chain is the heart of an organization’s operations. The vulnerabilities…
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Susanne Lammers

The supply chain is the heart of an organization’s operations. The vulnerabilities in global supply chains revealed during the pandemic proved to be a wake-up call for companies and industry at large. Moving forward, supply chains will heavily rely on organizational digital transformation, which entails optimizing operations (people, process and technology) for resilience and future-readiness. This begins with preparing future talent for supply chain management.

However, interest in a supply chain career is poor among university students, according to the Supply Chain Excellence Leadership Program (SCELP). In the next decade, they will be your potential talent—making it all the more important to plant interest now. Contrary to what students may believe, the role of supply chain director will be an increasingly interesting and meaningful one, driven by innovative technologies, collaboration and system thinking and backed by data analytics, AI and technologies that promote operational excellence. The business community has a responsibility to showcase the value, excitement and impact of being a part of this field. This is paramount in order to appeal to the next generation workforce and ensure you have skilled people in place by 2030.

People: Criteria for the supply chain leader of the future

Planting interest is one thing, but it is equally important for forward-thinking companies to identify the skillset required for the supply chain director of 2030. This may also prove to be useful in narrowing down potential candidates for the role, for which SCELP has developed the ideal profile.

  • Customer focused: The customer will always be the central focus of any smart organization. As such, supply chain directors must be able to work with parties such as sales and marketing to understand customer needs and accurately represent them.
  • Collaboration centric: Supply chain directors work with various parties from an end-to-end perspective, which is increasingly important in a rapidly changing environment that demands adaptive work and agile organizations.
  • Build off a business model: Supply chains largely determine the success of a company. Directors should be able to translate the company’s business model into a supply chain that optimally matches this, based on the business and long-term strategy.
  • Digital know-how and system thinking: We are in a digital age where techniques such as machine learning and AI are increasingly tapped into. Supply chain directors must be able to drive these developments and have insight into their possible application, which ties in with system thinking: understanding how everything is connected and being able to respond to it.

Process: Preliminary considerations on the path to future-readiness

Increasing the efficiency of supply chain management is critical in order to meet evolving business objectives and customer expectations. Collaboration, communication and strategic thinking are the foundational aspects of efficiency and sustainable growth, which supply chain directors are responsible for leading.

Accenture identified three things supply chain leaders must know to accelerate their move towards a future-ready state.

  1. Know the ultimate goal: With relevancy, resiliency and responsibility as guiding principles and a focus on increasing technology quotient (TQ).
  2. Know the key steps: Automate at scale, leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to augment talent and use the cloud to create a “digital data thread” that delivers insights across the supply chain
  3. Know how to leapfrog maturity levels: Strengthen technology ecosystem partnerships to extend innovation by tapping into multiparty systems to establish trust, transparency and accountability.

Technology: The digital drivers

According to Accenture, future-readiness reflects an organization’s ability to scale eight characteristics of operating model maturity, which are analytics, automation, data, stakeholder experiences, AI, business and technology collaboration, leading practices and workforce agility.

Supply chain directors play a major role in managing these developments and will need an integrated planning solution that provides the visibility and agility needed for seamless governance across the value network. For this, they need a platform approach to operational excellence.

With DELMIA Supply Chain Planning & Optimization solutions, supply chain leaders can plan and optimize processes, assets and resources across the end-to-end supply chain. Our solutions offer a single source of truth to consolidate enterprise-wide data, providing superior visibility through the ability to model, simulate and optimize alternative supply and production plans to minimize disruptions.

Coupled with virtual twin technology, supply chain leaders can leverage our solutions for continuous improvement of operations. They can visualize, model and simulate their entire supply chain—from factory planning and layout to workforce safety and material flow simulation—down to each workstation. With solutions designed to ensure business continuity, employee well-being, flexibility and sustainability for the business and the environment, future and even present supply chain directors will be able to explore innovation and drive business growth at scale to deliver with consistency and quickly adapt when necessary.

Looking to the future, supply chain leaders will continue to be challenged. However, exciting times are ahead—there are opportunities to create resilient, relevant and sustainable supply chains that deliver value for all stakeholders, benefiting everyone in the value network. Supported by the right technologies and company mindset, your 2030 supply chain director will be able to help you develop a resilient, future-proof supply chain. She or he may still be in a college lecture hall somewhere in the world right now, but it is never too early to start searching and planting that seed of interest.

To learn more about solutions to support the supply chain of the future, click here.

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