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Qualities and skills needed to succeed in a supply chain career

Awareness of the needs of others 

  • Understand other business needs and goals.
  • Have perspective into other points of view.
  • Build rapport and credibility with colleagues.
  • Anticipate needs and respond to concerns and conflicts.


  • Demonstrate trustworthiness and professionalism with clients, peers and team members.
  • Respond with consistency in situations that require honesty and candor.
  • Avoid conflicts between work and personal interests or activities. 

Interpersonal and effective communication skills 

  • Express information to individuals or groups considering the audience and the nature of the information
  • Relate well to clients, colleagues, and team members.
  • Receive, interpret, understand, and respond to both verbal messages and non-verbal cues
  • Maintain a positive, supportive, and appreciative attitude.
  • Actively listen to others and demonstrate an understanding of their point of view.
  • Anticipate needs and respond to concerns and conflicts.
  • Communicate clearly to avoid misunderstanding.
  • Influence others; persuasively present thoughts and ideas; gain commitment and ensure support for proposed ideas.


  • Demonstrate intellectual curiosity about why things are the way they are. Challenge the status quo.
  • Change, elaborate, adapt, and improve on ideas or those of others.
  • Demonstrate ability to put ideas into action; materialize thoughts into products or services.

Problem solving and decision making 

  • Practice goal-directed thinking and action in situations for which no routine solutions exist.
  • Understand a problem situation and its step-by-step transformation based on planning and reasoning.
  • Demonstrate ability to choose between alternative courses of action using cognitive processes such as memory and evaluation.
  • Demonstrate ability to map processes of possible consequences of decisions, to work out the importance of individual factors, and to choose the best course of action. 


  • Demonstrate a commitment to the mission and motivation of the team.
  • Understand the dynamics of effective teamwork in order to attain higher levels of performance.
  • Demonstrate ability to work as part of a tight-knit and competent group of people.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to engage teams in other departments or divisions of the organization.

Customer focus (internal and external)

  • Understand the organizational orientation toward satisfying the needs of potential and actual customers.
  • Ensure that the whole organization, not just frontline service staff, puts customers first.
  • Ensure all activities, from the planning of a new product to production, marketing, and after-sales care, are built around the customer
  • Understand that every department and every employee should share the same customer-focused vision.
  • Practice good customer relations management.
  • Demonstrate ability to balance the needs of the organization and the needs of the customer.

Planning and organizing

  • Effectively plan what is to be achieved and involve all relevant staff members.
  • Anticipate important or critical events, identifying resource requirements and assigning
    responsibility for specific work, including deadlines and performance expectations.
  • Demonstrate the use of information-gathering techniques, analyzing situation and identifying implications in order to make correct decisions.
  • Demonstrate ability to monitor progress and to make changes as required.
  • Ensure that staff is aware they will be accountable for achieving the desired results through planned program evaluation and individual performance appraisal.
  • Ensure that staff is provided with the necessary tools to succeed.

Conflict management

  • Demonstrate ability to manage conflict by identifying and handling conflicts in a sensible, fair and efficient manner.
  • Demonstrate skill in effective communicating, problem solving, and negotiating with a focus on party interests.

Project management

  • Understand the discipline of planning, organizing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives.
  • Achieve project goals and objectives while abiding by project constraints, scope, time and budget.
  • Optimize the allocation and integration of inputs necessary to meet pre-defined objectives.
  • Define the set of activities that use resources, such as money, people, materials, energy, space, provisions, communication and motivation, to achieve the project goals and objectives.

Enabling technology application

  • Recognize that continuous process improvement is an accepted way of life in business
  • Understand that technology and process functionality are interconnected and that each helps transform the other.
  • Initiate process improvements that are enabled and supported by technology.

Continuous learning

  • Demonstrate an interest in personal learning and development; seek feedback from multiple sources about how to improve and develop; modify behavior based on feedback or self-analysis of past mistakes.
  • Take steps to develop and maintain the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to achieve positive results; participate fully in relevant training programs and actively pursue other opportunities to develop knowledge and skills.
  • Anticipate changes in work demands and participate in assignments or training that address these changing demands; treat unexpected circumstances as opportunities to learn.

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