Talented managers are companies' key competitive advantage

The Global Supply Chain Institute advisory board concluded, based on findings from 21 senior supply chain executives, that the recruitment and development of talented supply chain managers is the key to a long-term competitive advantage.


The recruitment and development of talented supply chain managers is key to creating a long-term competitive advantage, according to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Global Supply Chain Institute advisory board.

Senior supply chain executives from 21 leading global companies recently met in Atlanta for the board's first face-to-face meeting to discuss key supply chain issues. Previous meetings were conducted virtually.

The executives agreed that, when hiring, they look for supply chain professionals with the following skill sets and competencies:

  • Strong critical thinking and data analysis skills
  • The ability to translate process improvements into the financial language of the executive suite, the boardroom and the balance sheet
  • Six-sigma green belt training, which is highly valued
  • An understanding of how to apply lean to the entire supply chain and use value stream mapping
  • An ability to interact appropriately with customers.

While they seek to hire people with these skills sets, often they must train them either through internal or university-based programs.

"Many supply chain managers don't know how to speak the language of the financial community," said Paul Trueax, vice president, North America customer service and logistics, for Colgate-Palmolive. "It's important to know how to translate process improvements to the financial statements."

Other board member observations included:

  • The supply chain involves all activities from getting the order to making the sale, including the flow of information and materials, manufacturing, cash flow, etc. To be successful, supply chain talent must be proficient in all of these areas.

  • The war for talent is being fought on a global scale, with companies in Asia and Latin America now competing on an equal if not superior footing to U.S. companies. This creates a need for supply chain managers with a broader, more global skill set.

  • "Tremendous growth opportunities in Asia are fueling companies to move more of their leadership to Asia, including their headquarter operations," said Daniel Myers, executive vice president of supply chain for Kraft Foods.

  • The unique curriculum of UT's new global supply chain executive MBA, which includes two residence periods in Europe and Asia, was seen as a potential resource for the development of this group's high-potential supply chain managers.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.