6 Attributes of a Pioneering Supply Chain Professional

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Helen Sabell, of the College for Adult Learning.

An outstanding supply chain professional will shape the function of a business. A pioneer of the supply chain will do that and more, driving real change in the wider industry. Logistics and supply chain is a rapidly growing sector that must be led by innovative thinkers in order to compete with international advancements.

A leader will delight in the challenge of serious responsibility and accountability, working tirelessly to inspire others to join together in a vision. These are just six attributes that signpost a pioneer of logistics and supply chain.

Have A Vision

Inspiration and motivation are pillars of effective leadership. Persuading others to believe in a common vision for the future is an important part of this. While many professionals are able to generate exciting ideas, it takes a true leader to transform these into a passion for the masses. Excellent communication and an intuitive ability to relate to others will ensure that any dream can become a tangible reality.

A great leader has the potential to empower employees and drive positive change all the way along the supply chain. In order to stay effective as a business and appealing to workers as an industry, supply chain must continue to grow and look to the future.

Continually Develop

Adult learning is an integral part of employee growth in every workplace. It is a step toward becoming a considered and responsive professional. In the digital age, where a culture of instant demand and instant satisfaction is high, it is critical that the supply chain is able to keep pace with changes.

A pioneer of the industry will be open to learning new approaches and concepts in order to improve day-to-day performance. Enrolling in adult education courses or going back to school is a great way to significantly broaden your knowledge. Opportunities are everywhere and it is important that professionals equip themselves to embrace the challenge. Leadership cannot be defined through one role; it will take on many forms across your career and will need to change as you do.

Build Unshakeable Relationships

Leadership is as much about creating meaningful relationships as it is maintaining them. Cultivating relationships across the entire supply chain is the first jump toward a seamless operation. Open and honest communication is a great way to form genuine connection both within and outside of the business.

One chink in the supply chain could spell disaster at a much larger level — it is the responsibility of every leading supply chain manager to build a strong rapport with workers, suppliers and vendors.

Personally Reflect

A reflection on industry practice, trends and the performance of coworkers is important. Being able to evaluate yourself is perhaps even more critical. Innovative supply chain management requires a constant reevaluation of where you stand in the current industry and how this could be different.

As a whole, we as people are very aware and responsive to the faults of others but blind to our own pitfalls. It certainly is harder to pinpoint exactly where your own weakness lies. A leader will value and actively seek feedback from coworkers to achieve a better outcome.

Keep Ahead

A pioneer will always be one step ahead in the game, predicting trends before they happen and crafting a response to support the success of the business. In the last 10 years supply chain and logistics has witnessed a huge transformation. Increased connectivity now means that even entry-level positions include decision-making opportunities that have a direct impact on the industry.

Globalization is a movement that has brought about a number of prospects and challenges for workers. Companies face a much wider distribution, different laws and policies, as well as a huge range of shipping methods. These exciting changes require a more diverse skill set from leadership figures, who must be able to analyze and direct based on more than just personal experience, in order to avoid competition.

Stay Educated

An athlete wouldn’t stop training simply because he achieved first place, and a pioneer shouldn’t stop learning just because she’s got the top job. The brain is a muscle like any other and needs constant exercise in order to continue to drive innovation.

An education in the supply chain is an important experience for every industry pioneer. Training can provide logistics professionals with the tools to make educated decisions based on a detailed understanding of the industry. A pioneer of logistics and supply chain will be able to bounce theory with real-world practice to enrich both the business and industry.

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