A supply chain manager is responsible for your product’s journey, from sourcing materials to maintaining good relationships with both vendors and distributors. The role has become an integral part of the supply chain process and serves as the backbone of any company.

Managing can be a challenging task to execute. That’s why effective supply chain managers need to have the right balance of hard and soft skills. To assure high supply chain performance, here are three top skills that every supply chain manager needs to possess in their skill set.

1. Global Business Leadership

Many supply chain operations can be found around the world. As a professional working in the supply chain industry, it is best to have a concrete understanding of how to operate in an international business environment. Working in a global environment means that you will encounter a variety of different cultures and will have to understand how different global risks can affect your business.

Supply chain professionals also need to have an understanding of basic supply chain fundamentals and their association with global logistics. For example, a manager must have an understanding of how to deal with global labor issues, how to optimize the import and export flows and how to source globally.

2. Project Management

As a supply chain leader, you need to be able to multitask and head a number of projects. A few of the essential project management skills include:

  • Successfully negotiating for budgets, resources, and schedules
  • A proactive approach to risk management
  • A high level of personal organization that helps you to keep track of multiple projects

With the right project management skills, a leader can make informed and quick decisions on approving projects and ask the right questions in regards to project proposals or business cases.

3. IT and Automation Knowledge

In recent years, we have seen an increase of technology across the supply chain, due to this it’s necessary that supply chain leaders are tech savvy. To be tech savvy you don’t need to know the ins and outs of IT, but you should have a basic understanding. A supply chain leader will be working closely with the CIO and will be consulted on the selection, application, and implementation of technology.

In the future, emerging technologies such as predictive analytics, cloud computing, and robotics and automation will have a significant impact on the operation of supply chains. Staying on top of emerging technology trends will give your supply chain an advantage and help reiterate your expertise in the industry.