A supply chain manager is a prominent role in technical operations careers and one which has a huge amount of potential. It’s also a critical position in terms of ensuring the effective flow of goods, services, raw materials, work-in-progress inventory, etc., and sits at the heart of operations for most businesses. For those in technical operations careers, such as a supply chain manager, it’s vital to have a combination of practical and people skills. So, what does it take to become a good supply chain manager?
This is often where we typically focus when considering personal fit. This is all about having the right qualifications and experience, as well as understanding supply chain management in depth. Often, the best supply chain managers will also have technical skills acquired while working across a number of different industries. This cross-section of experience means that it’s possible to bring a great deal more to the next role, as you’ll have a much broader and deeper understanding of technical operations careers. In many ways, this is the most basic skill required - and also the easiest to develop and prove.
Being a great supply chain manager isn’t just about understanding your specific role, but also the broader context of the business in which you’re operating. How - and where - does what you do fit within the organization as a whole? And what does the role of the supply chain manager need to contribute to the business overall? It’s often important for a supply chain manager to have a very robust set of financial skills and to have an understanding of every facet of the business, even if it's not in-depth. This means is that you can work cross-functionally, with insights into what’s happening elsewhere in the company; and not just with respect to the work that you’re doing in your team. That includes marketing, product development, and - in particular - the financial parts of the business. A robust supply chain manager is able to develop and leverage a supply chain and communicate and interact with others at every level of the business; from the mailroom to the board.
When you reach a certain level in technical operations careers, it’s not just about being a good manager but also being a good leader. That’s especially true for a supply chain manager - but this can be the toughest skill set to develop. A high level of emotional intelligence is vital here, having the ability to understand how people function and what makes them tick. Being able to delegate and develop teams is another essential quality - balancing stretching teams and providing support, as opposed to micromanaging. One of the fundamentals of people skills is being able to motivate others to take on challenges - and also allowing them to take the credit when they succeed. Great leaders don’t take the glory for others' work.
If you have the skills to become a successful supply chain manager take a look at our live roles. Apply today and take the next step in your career.