Two years have passed since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and its ensuing havoc. The pandemic caused extreme disruptions across the global supply chains, and today, there are no signs that these disruptions will disappear in the near future.
Many believe that the Covid-19 pandemic was the sole reason for these disruptions. However, numerous factors have contributed to the fragmentation of the global supply chain system. These include aspects such as customers’ ever-increasing demands and desires for changes, suppliers, economic and political factors, investors, staff, and other stakeholders. Therefore, the pandemic simply revealed the cracks in the system, which has accelerated the need for change as well as a new approach to supply chain management.
In a highly disruptive environment, it’s important to consider the skills eCommerce supply chain managers should have to ensure that they’re able to navigate this unchartered territory.
Adaptability & Flexibility
The world is evolving, and the supply chain sector is no exception. Therefore, agility is an essential skill to have if an eCommerce supply chain manager hopes to manage the “increasing expectations and requirements of today’s customer”.
Adaptability and flexibility are required within several areas of supply chain management. With regards to customers, supply chain managers need to be able to develop a deep understanding of the customers they serve. Within the eCommerce industry, consumers can easily select suppliers based on their service and delivery without compromising on cost. Thus, supply chain managers need to remember this and ensure they do not fall into a high-cost, low-return situation.
Further to this, supply chain managers should create sufficient flexibility within their strategies and platforms so that they can adapt their direction should the need arise. In conjunction with this, the ability to develop agile solutions that address current issues as well as a range of potential future scenarios is another aspect of adaptability to consider.
Strong communication and collaboration skills
To facilitate adaptiveness and flexibility within an organisation or team, supply chain managers need to develop their communication and collaboration skills. Such capabilities are necessary to seek out creative approaches to complex problems.
Strong understanding of technology
Recent studies have noted that legacy supply chain architecture is the second greatest obstacle preventing companies from achieving their digital ambitions. Thus, technology and supply chains can no longer be considered as two completely separate areas.
As a result, supply chain managers need to develop their digital and technical skills within the supply chain process. This is especially true for data analytics. Supply chain managers must be comfortable using technology and harnessing information to make fast, holistic, data-driven decisions.
With constant changes occurring within the supply chain sector, managers within these positions cannot afford to become overwhelmed when they’re presented with large, complex challenges.
The skill of problem-solving does not refer to the ability to find the ‘right’ answer to a problem. Instead, a supply chain manager should be able to come up with creative problem-solving solutions that will keep the supply chain moving or, better yet, improve it.
Additionally, problem-solving also relates to the ability to assess risks proactively. For example, supply chain managers will inevitably find themselves in situations where they must approve a requested project. Thus, having risk management abilities will ensure that they can ask the right questions about the proposal before moving forward.
In general, many project management skills will set an individual up to be a good supply chain manager. However, these skills become even more essential when looking to fill higher up management roles within the supply chain.
A supply chain manager should have strong financial awareness, an analytical mindset and be comfortable in negotiation settings. These skills are important when having to negotiate resources, budgets and schedules.
Supply chain managers must increase their knowledge reach. Whether this is freight and logistics, production and processes or even legal knowledge and best practices, having a diversified knowledge base will set a supply chain manager up to creating scenario approaches that are structured yet flexible to different situations.
In today’s economy, there’s an excess supply of supply chain positions and not enough people to fill them. In addition, with the current market being so volatile, multiple-step interview procedures can lead to you missing out on a star candidate.
Companies following this procedure can consider placing a highly experienced interim candidate whilst the longer-term search for a full-time role is underway. Of course, when the marketplace is less volatile, you can always revisit a permanent position. Who knows, your interim candidate may be looking for a longer-term role by then.
Get in touch for honest, open advice and assistance in finding the right solution and candidate to fill your talent gap.