Help Wanted: Supply Chain Candidates with Communication and Technology Skills

Considering a career in supply chain or logistics management?  If so, then it might be helpful to know what types of experience and education are most helpful in landing the job.  A recent study sponsored by Supply Chain Management Review asked hiring managers for feedback on current hiring trends.

Among the findings?  Confidence is in, but arrogance is out.  Also in are enthusiasm, communications skills and critical thinking.

Perhaps a bit surprising is most hiring managers seem to place a higher premium on communications skills than on knowledge about supply chain trends:

  • 58 percent cited communication skills as a desirable attribute
  • 40 percent are looking for candidates knowledgeable in the latest technology
  • 35 percent want relevant technical training
  • 33 percent look for knowledge of industry trends.

The purpose of the survey was to gain insight about the effectiveness of various academic programs designed to train supply chain managers.  Managers reported that job candidates “are sufficiently prepared” in the areas of Supply Chain/Design Fundamentals (44%), Transportation and Logistics (33%) and Technology Solutions (32).

The more interesting findings were managers’ concerns about areas in which candidates were not sufficiently prepared:

  • Supply Chain Strategy –47%
  • International Experience – 44%
  • Management Skills – 44%
  • Transportation and Logistics — 41%
  • Customer Relationships – 40 %

Speaking about the implications of supply chain academics on real-world applications, Damon Willis, logistics supervisor at medical supply manufacturer Zimmer, Inc. noted that students “are often well versed in ‘book’ knowledge, but lack real-world expertise.  He noted that there is no replacement for “practical supply chain knowledge,” and suggested that potential supply chain professionals consider an internship as a way to gain critical experience and insight.