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ASCM Insights

CSCOs: Superheroes of the C-Suite

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In the not-so-distant past, those of us in supply chain would receive looks of puzzlement when describing what we do. These days, we’re more likely to get a mixture of admiration and empathy. As the profession continues receiving attention — from the coffee shop counter to the national news — companies are increasingly giving chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) a place in the boardroom. In fact, that seat is now arguably the most important one at the table.

In the continuing wake of the Great Supply Chain Disruption, companies are struggling to source materials, make products swiftly enough to meet demand, and get them where they need to be. It seems there are challenges at every step of the supply chain, ones that can bring entire networks to a halt. As Phil Wahba writes for Fortune, amidst this turmoil, a “new hero” has emerged: the CSCO.

Even in the years leading up to the pandemic, companies were beginning to see the competitive advantage that a CSCO brings. Of course, recent events continue inspiring others to get on board. Currently, 85 companies in the S&P 500 have a CSCO or something similar, who is responsible for:

  • keeping supply chains moving
  • answering the toughest questions
  • prioritizing environmental and social goals
  • levelling ripple effects on global operations
  • identifying and leveraging the latest technologies
  • finding new procurement resources and points of entry
  • optimizing inventories
  • keeping pace with the explosive growth of e-commerce
  • and so much more.

Legion of champions

At ASCM, we’ve always known supply chain management professionals are superheroes. Our member meetings, university presentations and other events are often wrapped up with this quote, adapted from an MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics roundtable: “Organizations want a superhuman combination of people with technical depth; business breadth; and the professional skills to be a leader, influencer and diplomat. Modern supply chains call for deep subject-matter expertise, an integrated understanding of broader business imperatives, and the ability to lead coworkers when operating across countries and cultures.”

We ask our participants, “Where are these superheroes?” And the answer, of course, is right there in the audience. Supply chain professionals are already the champions companies need.

But the world needs even more of these pace-setters, pioneers and visionaries, which is why there has never been a more important time to be an ASCM member. Our ranks are filled with the greatest supply chain minds from around the world. These people are dedicated, passionate and connected — joining together to share ideas, examine challenges and inspire the entire industry to make an impact. Plus, ASCM members have unparalleled access to essential thought leadership through our global alliances; webinars, events and seminars; free and open supply chain standards; and ASCM’s award-winning publications.

The very best supply chain leaders are required to get our networks back on course. Discover how ASCM can help you become just the superhero for the job. 

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through editorial@ascm.org.

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