How to become a successful Supply Chain leader?

How to become a successful Supply Chain leader?

Earlier, a supply chain leader was a tactical position because it included one with specific expertise on things such as warehousing equipment, shipping routes, and fuel costs. Today, the profile of a supply chain leader is immensely different. Supply chain leaders are strategic leaders and are focusing on the overall growth of the company, not just their part in it.

The need for smart, strategic supply chain leaders is crucial as organizations now are spending a large amount of money on their supply chain processes. Whether it’s gathering business intelligence to help make better decisions, or building relationships with suppliers and stakeholders, supply chain leaders require a new set of skills above and beyond logistical knowledge.

Thinking beyond the supply chain:

Today’s supply chain leaders need to have business skills in order to drive results and accelerate revenue for their respective companies. This requires a more strategic approach, and a more strategic mindset. Some characteristics of a successful supply chain leader include:

Business Acumen: Supply chain leaders are no longer relegated to their specific expertise; they are now a critical part of the overall business. The involvement is complete right from speaking to the CEO in terms of ROI, or discussing cash flow with accounting, these professionals must see beyond the supply chain and see the business as a whole.

Global orientation: All senior business executives today need to be globally capable. Global sourcing and global supply chains have expanded tremendously in recent years, for both retailers and manufacturers. There are few companies that do not either source globally, sell globally, or have competitors that do so. Therefore, supply chain executives must manage, like never before, an enterprise that extends across continents and must deal effectively with suppliers and customers worldwide.

Leadership: Supply chain leaders are no longer hidden in the background; they hold prominent positions in companies. They must not only lead their team to create an effective and efficient supply chain, but they must also be able to collaborate with other departments and external stakeholders to drive cost savings and revenue generation.

Information Technology and Automation Knowledge: Supply chain is all about people using technology as a tool. Nothing is more important than working on your people skills if you want to be a successful supply chain leader

The Skill of Flexibility: The one thing you won’t find on this list of supply chain leaders’ “must have” skills is innovation. You don’t have to be an innovator to be a good supply chain leader, but you do have to support and drive innovation. Flexibility is the skill that will help you to do that.


Demand for the most talented supply chain professionals will continue to rise, and hiring and retaining them will continue to tax the best organizations. It is obvious that companies must “sell the opportunity” to candidates much more adroitly.

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