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ASCM Insights

5 Strategies for Expanding Your Supply Chain Skill Set


Industry experts estimate that 270,000 new supply chain management positions are created each year. Furthermore, for every six job openings, there is only one qualified worker available to fill them. To address this ongoing talent gap and prepare to lead the supply chains of the future, industry professionals must hone their skills and continuously develop new capabilities.

“The supply chain landscape is not the same as it was a decade ago,” writes Roy Strik for Logistics Middle East. “New advancements in technology such as 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, the internet of things, big data analytics and omnichannel retailing have brought about tremendous change.”

Likewise, in a recent Forbes article, author Anant Agarwal says technology is revolutionizing modern work. As a result, professional success will hinge on having a mix of skills. “The power to learn lies in the hands of individuals to take control of their careers,” he writes.

To prepare for these extraordinary shifts, Strik and Agarwal offer some tips:

  1. First, conduct an audit of your skillset. Identify areas of strength and weakness, and always be thinking about how you can better position yourself professionally.
  2. Next, hone your technological expertise. Information systems are at the heart of most business processes. You’ll make better decisions when you understand how they work. Similarly, learn all you can about the latest innovations — artificial intelligence, robotics and the like — in order to apply them effectively. In addition, look to advanced analytics to help you maximize the data sets created by your networks.
  3. Gain risk-management expertise. Strik writes: "As new and improved products, processes and services are entering the market, risk management is fast becoming an important asset for supply chain managers. … The knowledge of risk management can help supply chain managers ask the right questions, quantify risks and build contingencies."
  4. Develop a holistic leadership style. The ability to control a global supply chain from a single point of command will empower you to drive positive change.
  5. Finally, be a lifelong learner. “Education no longer stops after high school or college,” Agarwal says. “Learning will be a fluid and continuous process.”

Ongoing advancement

As technology transforms our supply chains, how can we blend the latest innovations with our understanding of fundamental supply chain activities in order to achieve strategic, next-generation networks? ASCM is dedicated to helping you answer this question with APICS certifications and credentials. The APICS body of knowledge has been the global standard in learning and development for more than 60 years. Yet, we know that keeping pace with change is critical. Therefore, I am pleased to share the news of a patent-pending tool we have developed called Rapid Item Development (RapID™).

RapID will enable ASCM to create high-quality test questions more quickly, add questions on several important topics, enhance security and expand testing windows. Download the RapID whitepaper to read more about how this strategic approach will ensure that APICS education continues to be as relevant as possible. By clearly reflecting future supply chain management job requirements, we at ASCM look forward to supporting you and your organization for years to come.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted through

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