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Today's Supply Chain Needs "Star Power"

January 2, 2011
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Supply Chain Managers who operate in the international arena are facing a very daunting, but opportunistic future in corporate America.

Most companies are trending into truly global markets. They are both selling to and purchasing from world markets; along with creating assets and vested interests in most trading nations.

The ability to manage this diversity and global reach requires executives with multi-level skill sets, experiences and management prowess…they need “Star Power.”

Over the years most supply chain executives had three primary responsibilities, to move their freight timely, safely, and cost effectively.

These three areas then became the cornerstone of their skill sets-negotiation, knowledge of freight markets, Customs, carriers, and forwarders and brokers.

But today, these same executives need a much larger and more diverse set of skill sets, such as but not limited to language, culture, trade compliance, cargo security, product knowledge, hazmat regulations, presentation capabilities, multitasking, technology, frequent travel scheduling, high-end negotiation, logistics, supply chain management, purchasing, value chain, green initiatives, and an array of additional capabilities unique to their global supply chains.

Education, training, and information-resource gathering are becoming key staples for the supply chain manager. And, there are many quality choices for education and training in supply chain management, including the University of Tennessee, Georgia State, Cal State at Long Beach, and Rutgers, to name just a few.

Furthermore, there are a number of places to acquire supply chain management skills that have earned excellent reputations, such as The World Academy (http://theworldacademy.com), the American Management Association (www.amanet.org), along with the outreach initiatives of the federal government, particularly the Department of Commerce and its various internal agencies.

The global supply chain executive must also reach out to trade organizations that provide timely information and offer programs focused on education and training. These are typically industry specific, but a few are worth mentioning: the Professional Association of Import/Export Compliance Managers (www.compliancemaven.com), National Industrial Transportation League/NITL (www.nitl.org), and ISM/Institute for Supply Management (www.ism.ws) are some good options, as are APQC and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), which announced in December that they were expanding their alliance to create the largest global community of supply chain management professionals.

Meanwhile, the latest forecast from the Institute for Supply Management show that manufacturers “are optimistic about their organizations’ prospects as they consider the first half of 2011, and they are even more positive about the second half,” which bodes well for supply chain employment opportunities.

The supply chain executive needs “Star Power” in order to manage increasingly complex corporate responsibilities, which is best gained from developing skills through education, training, information gathering, and establishing a world class mind set. wt



Thomas A. Cook is the Managing Director of American River International (www.americanriverintl.com). With over 35 years of supply chain and international expertise, he has proven to be a valuable commodity in education, training, and business development for over 40 percent of America’s Fortune 1000 corporations.


 

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