Annual Review & Outlook 2013: MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics

Yossi SheffiAs the supply chain management discipline evolves in response to a more complex, interdependent business environment, professionals must complement their technical knowhow with “soft” managerial skills. Educators must rise to this challenge in the coming year.

The profession has been moving beyond its physical distribution heritage for several decades. Globalization, increasing uncertainty and the growing economic power of emerging countries are some of the trends accelerating the shift away from this traditional distribution base.

To keep pace with these changes, practitioners need deep expertise in the latest technical advances. But they also must manage strategically across the extended supply chain as well as vertically within their own organizations.

This requires superb communications skills. Supply chain managers must be able to lead teams that span multiple countries and cultures, and they should be adept at communicating with other functions and at every managerial level within the enterprise – including the C-suite.

The cross-organizational element is particularly important. More than ever supply chain management is a bridging function that operates across departments. The boundaries that used to partition corporate disciplines are eroding, as companies are forced to become more responsive and agile in extremely competitive markets. The growth of social media is reinforcing this trend.

Supply chain practitioners must be well-rounded professionals with a solid knowledge of every corporate discipline and a broad view of company operations.

Educators must change their programs to take account of these demands.

The supply chain discipline is changing, and the way we educate and train its professionals must follow suit.

Visit the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics online.

See all ARO Logistics-related content.

For the full story: Log In, Register for Free or Subscribe