Other than the factors that help people advance their careers in most all professions, my opinion is that especially for SCM professionals, a key differentiator is to think and act "strategically" rather than "tactically". I think it is important to get involved with and drive improvements in processess - get involved with system deployments and enhancements and bring new tools and capabilities to the organization.
Interesting question. After having the opportunity to interview a number of successful SC Executives here are some common characteristics I noticed. First they all seemed to be students of Supply Chain. They never assumed what worked yesterday will be good enough for tomorrow. This is critical given the amount of change in SC management expecially over the last few years. Secondly they understood all aspects of the business and the role/impact SC has on their organization. They viewed SC as a competitive advantage rather than a necessary evil. The knew the impact the SC could have on delivery, margin, customer satisfaction etc. and also the roles other groups played like IT. The third thing that became obvious is that these leaders surrounded themselves with very strong SC personel. In meetings or discussions, it was nothing for a SC executive to call on one of his team to respond to questions. With all the press on SC talent these days, it is not an easy thing to do. A great leader will obviously have more success recruiting great talent.
I definitely agree with Max’s post, but I can’t resist mentioning some of those things which probably help career development in general in all professions:
· Make a concerted effort to get experience in different areas of Supply Chain Management and broaden your understanding of other functional areas, too (e.g. Finance, Engineering, Marketing). The functional areas are all closely interrelated, and the more you understand about the different functions, the better you’ll be able to do your own job, and the more you’ll stand out. This will also prepare you for management roles.
· Work on people and teamwork skills. Supply Chain is all about working with other people, whether it’s suppliers, customers, or co-workers in other groups. The better you are at working with and through other people, the more you’ll be able to accomplish.
· Work on systems skills. The importance of using technology and software applications to help get your job done is a fact of life, and truly understanding what’s inside the black box and being able to make use of the box to help you in your job will give you an advantage.
· Increase your knowledge through outside training, whether that be through classes, seminars, webinars, or conferences. Bringing in new ideas and perspectives to your company will show initiative and creativity.
Kinaxis Senior Solution Consultant
Here's a interesting Industry Week article on the topic from five years ago:
Supply chain leaders embody five critical skills:hiring the best and brightest, being driven by metrics, having a performance-reward orientation, being technology savvy, and resisting the urge to surge.
I wonder if any events of the last five years would change the author's mind that these are the five critical skills?