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Article
Publication date: 11 June 2013

Harri Lorentz, Juuso Töyli, Tomi Solakivi and Lauri Ojala

The purpose of this paper is to find out the current SCM skill development priorities in manufacturing firms and how the structural properties of the supply chain

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to find out the current SCM skill development priorities in manufacturing firms and how the structural properties of the supply chain translate into demand for SCM skills in manufacturing firms.

Design/methodology/approach

An internet survey was designed and conducted. The responses of 154 manufacturing companies operating in Finland were analysed through descriptive statistics and regression analyses.

Findings

The supply chain management skills with an inter‐organisational focus tend to have a higher development priority than the skills with an intra‐organisational focus. The top five skills for development are: demand forecasting and supply planning; sourcing and supplier management; customer and distribution channel management; production planning and control; and information systems for logistics and production planning. Structural properties of the supply chain seem to have an effect on skills that are related to supply chain design and information flow infrastructure, i.e. the ability to locate the various nodes in the network, and to connect and coordinate their respective activities in the face of often uncertain demand.

Research limitations/implications

The results are based on survey research with a limited sample size and geographic coverage with bias towards large firms. The research scope is further limited to investigating the influence of structural properties of the supply chain, leaving opportunities for further research on the demand for SCM skills.

Originality/value

The authors report original findings that provide input to the development processes of training programmes and university curricula, related to supply chain management. They also initiate theory development on the determinants of demand for SCM skills.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Peter Tatham, Yong Wu, Gyöngyi Kovács and Tim Butcher

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the supply chain management (SCM) skills that support the sensing and seizing of opportunities in a changing business environment.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the supply chain management (SCM) skills that support the sensing and seizing of opportunities in a changing business environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the previous literature on the T-shaped model of SCM skills, data were collected through a mail survey among Australian business executives. The resultant skill sets are grouped along factors that support the sensing vs seizing of opportunities.

Findings

Interestingly from an SCM perspective, functional logistics-related skills are important to maintain competitiveness but are not the ones contributing to a firm’s ability to sense opportunities and threats, and to seize opportunities in a changing business environment. The authors, therefore, support the notion that supply chain managers should be managers first. Factual SCM knowledge is the solid basis, but otherwise only an entry requirement in this field.

Research limitations/implications

Problem-solving skills, along with forecasting and customer/supplier relationship management, stand out as important components that support the ability of supply chain managers to sense and shape opportunities and threats in a turbulent business environment. This focus would tend to suggest the importance of supply chain integration and collaboration as management approaches. Other SCM skills from warehousing and inventory management to transportation and purchasing are more prevalent for maintaining competitiveness.

Practical implications

The results of the survey and the consequential analysis indicate that the content of tertiary-level educational programmes should be significantly reviewed to deliver two distinct (but partially overlapping) streams that focus on the generalist and functionalist managers who must work together in the management of the increasingly global and complex supply chains.

Social implications

Functional skills often form the basis of training and education programmes for supply chain managers. Whilst these form the solid foundation for their jobs, they are entry requirements at best. In a changing business environment, other skills are needed for success. Given that turbulence is becoming the norm rather than the exception, this finding necessitates rethinking in training and education programmes, as well as in the recruitment of supply chain managers.

Originality/value

Testing the T-shaped model of SCM skills from a dynamic capabilities perspective, the results of the factor analysis lead to a regrouping of skill sets in terms of sensing and seizing opportunities in a turbulent business environment.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Article
Publication date: 8 August 2016

Christine Jordan and Ozlem Bak

The growing scale and scope of the supply chain requires a greater understanding of the broader supply chain skills picture. This study aims to assess the supply chain

Abstract

Purpose

The growing scale and scope of the supply chain requires a greater understanding of the broader supply chain skills picture. This study aims to assess the supply chain skills needs within the context of a UK-based higher education institution involving graduates, academics and employers to appreciate the graduate skills demands of modern supply chains.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed methods study entailing in-depth interviews with academics followed by a questionnaire distributed to graduates and employers has been designed and utilised.

Findings

The findings indicate that the changing supply chain scope encourages the requisition and development of different supply chain skills with varied levels of emphases in relation to 25 skills identified in the literature. Key graduate skills needs are highlighted, including time management, collaborative learning, teamwork and problem solving, with the addition of two supply chain skill areas, namely specialist training and the understanding and application of regulations. The findings of the current study present a limited emphasis on information technology (IT) skills, despite the significant IT advancements and changes in supply chains.

Research limitations/implications

The study has been carried out in a UK university delivering undergraduate supply chain management courses. It would be beneficial to test whether the findings are exemplary across other supply chain courses and to investigate the integration of these skills within the supply chain syllabus and how employers, graduates and academic parties could actively engage in developing the agenda for future supply chain skills needs.

Practical implications

This research paper highlights the gaps in supply chain skills, which inevitably puts considerable pressure on operatives and managers whose responsibility it is to ensure compliance with regulations and professional bodies.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the supply chain skills discussion and reports subject relevant challenges for supply chain educators by engaging three key stakeholders – graduate employers, graduates and academics. The findings have generated additional supply chain skills to the academic literature, in addition to providing an understanding of the weighting of skills in terms of their importance and application to industry needs.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2019

Ozlem Bak, Christine Jordan and James Midgley

With supply chains expanding in scope and scale globally, the academic literature underlined the increasing role and importance of soft skills. Traditionally, the supply

Abstract

Purpose

With supply chains expanding in scope and scale globally, the academic literature underlined the increasing role and importance of soft skills. Traditionally, the supply chain literature geared towards hard skills including functional and technical skill sets with limited discussion on soft skills. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to assess and explore the soft skills demand in supply chain management arena.

Design/methodology/approach

This study has utilised a mixed methods study in two phases, with the first stage including a questionnaire distributed to 120 supply chain employees in the UK, followed by six interviews with supply chain experts in the UK.

Findings

The results suggest that soft skills, especially behavioural skills such as communication, planning, initiative and negotiation, were seen to be more important when compared to decision making, negotiation and management skills. The findings indicate that the changing supply chain scope encourages the requisition and development of different supply chain soft skills with varied levels of emphasis in relation to 15 soft skills identified in the literature.

Research limitations/implications

This study employs a mixed-method approach to establish the perceived importance of soft skills in the UK supply chains. This limits the generalisability of the results to other contextual settings.

Practical implications

This paper presents soft skills impact upon the supply chain. Specific soft skills are critical to supply chain employees compared to others (e.g. behavioural and people management skills), which may lead to articulation of supply chain soft skills training initiatives.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the soft skills discussion in the supply chain context and discusses the role of soft skills. Topical gaps in the literature are identified as areas for future research. The findings have generated additional supply chain skills to the academic literature as well as provided an understanding of the weighting of soft skills in terms of their importance and application to industry needs.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2014

Shams Rahman and Nie Qing

The aim of this research is to identify the relevant skills and their relative importance, required by supply chain managers, and to suggest the key skill items that…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this research is to identify the relevant skills and their relative importance, required by supply chain managers, and to suggest the key skill items that require improvement.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a survey questionnaire, data were collected against 41 supply chain management skills. Using expert opinion, these skill items were then grouped to create four higher level supply chain skill-categories. These are supply chain general management (SCG) skill-category, supply chain analytical (SCA) skill-category, supply chain information technology (SCIT) skill-category, and supply chain environmental-related (SCE) skill-category. Subsequently, the importance-performance matrix (IPM) analysis was conducted to these higher level skill-categories to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the offered skills as perceived by the respondents.

Findings

The analysis revealed that in order to prepare supply chain managers to face up to the future challenges educational institutions are required to devote their attention on areas such as warehousing management, distribution planning, demand forecasting, negotiation skill, cross-functional coordination skill, and knowledge of environmental issues in supply chains.

Originality/value

This research provided insight into skills need for supply chain managers using IPM analysis. The results of the study could be adopted to upgrade the existing logistics and supply chain management program or design new logistics education and training programs to meet the current and future needs.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2021

Heather Lutz, Laura Birou and Joe Walden

This paper aims to provide the results of a survey of courses dedicated to the field of supply chain management in higher education. This research is unique because it…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide the results of a survey of courses dedicated to the field of supply chain management in higher education. This research is unique because it represents the first large-scale study of graduate supply chain management courses taught at universities globally.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis was performed on each syllabus to identify the actual course content: requirements, pedagogy and content emphasis. This aggregated information was used to compare historical research findings in this area, with the current skills identified as important for career success. This data provides input for a gap analysis between offerings in higher education and those needs identified by practitioners.

Findings

Data gathering efforts yielded a sample of 112 graduate courses representing 61 schools across the world. The aggregate number of topics covered in graduate courses totaled 114. The primary evaluation techniques include exams, projects and homework. Details regarding content and assessment techniques are provided along with a gap analysis between the supply chain management course content and the needs identified by APICS Supply Chain Manager Competency Model (2014).

Originality/value

The goal is to use this data as a means of continuous improvement in the quality and value of the educational experience on a longitudinal basis. The findings are designed to foster information sharing and provide data for benchmarking efforts in the development of supply chain management courses and curricula in academia, as well as training, development and recruitment efforts by professionals in the field of supply chain management.

Details

Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1359-8546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 July 2021

Andrea Stefano Patrucco, Liliana Rivera, Christopher Mejía-Argueta and Yossi Sheffi

In line with the knowledge-based view of organizations, this paper aims to analyze how supply chain (SC) employees contribute to the creation of competitive advantage…

Abstract

Purpose

In line with the knowledge-based view of organizations, this paper aims to analyze how supply chain (SC) employees contribute to the creation of competitive advantage through knowledge acquisition and utilization activities. The authors consider SC employees' skills and competencies, their external network of relationships, their job satisfaction and company investments in training and test how they relate to SC-level outcomes (i.e. SC growth).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors design a research model including the aforementioned variables, and the authors apply structural equation modeling (SEM) to survey data collected from 246 SC professionals in Latin America. The authors also use multi-group analysis to evaluate how the relationships between these variables change with different levels of company investment in training.

Findings

The results show that a broad professional network of relationships contributes to increasing the skills and competencies of SC professionals, which, in turn, impact job satisfaction and SC performance. This reinforces the value of investing in skilled human talent, who can contribute to knowledge acquisition, utilization, and, ultimately, to SC competitiveness. Companies that invest more in training to develop their SC employees benefit from stronger SC outcomes.

Originality/value

This study contributes to broadening the understanding of the impact of human resource management (HRM) on supply chain management (SCM). One of the added original foci of this research is the emphasis on developing countries where these HRM-to-SCM performance relationships have not been studied before.

Details

International Journal of Logistics Management, The, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Amit Sinha, William P. Millhiser and Yuanjie He

The field of supply chain management (SCM) evolves dramatically due to factors of globalization, innovation, sustainability, and technology. These changes raise challenges…

Abstract

Purpose

The field of supply chain management (SCM) evolves dramatically due to factors of globalization, innovation, sustainability, and technology. These changes raise challenges not only to higher education institutions, but also to students, employing organizations, and third parties like SCM-related professional bodies. To understand the challenge, the purpose of this paper is to examine the gap between demand and supply of SCM-related knowledge areas, answer-related design questions, and make recommendations to close the gaps.

Design/methodology/approach

To compare the demand and supply of SCM-related knowledge areas, demand data is collected from a professional career website and supply data is gathered from operations management (OM) and SCM course syllabi from AACSB-accredited business schools in the USA. Cluster analysis identifies how supply and demand are matched on the data collected.

Findings

First, gaps exist between SCM talent requirements from industry and the knowledge/skill training by US business schools. This paper identifies matching, under-supplying, and over-supplying knowledge areas. Under-supply in emerging areas such as SCM information technology and certain logistics management topics are found. Some traditional OM topics are over-supplied due to out-of-date industry applications and should be revised to reflect the field’s transition from an OM to SCM view. Last, this paper makes recommendations to different stakeholders in this matching supply with demand process.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature in two ways. First, it provides an up-to-date understanding on demand and supply of SCM talent in USA. Second, it provides insights and recommendations not only to educators on curriculum design, but also to potential candidates interested in SCM careers, to companies’ job recruiters, and to professional organizations (such as APICS and Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals) to reduce the gaps between demand and supply.

Details

The International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-4093

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Rameshwar Dubey and Angappa Gunasekaran

– The purpose of this paper is to build a supply chain talent framework and test it empirically.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to build a supply chain talent framework and test it empirically.

Design/methodology/approach

The present study adopts extant literature to understand current state of supply chain talent literature and used knowledge and skill constructs and their items from comprehensive literature review to develop an instrument to gather data. The data are further checked for assumptions and further examines the framework using confirmatory factor analysis.

Findings

The findings support previous studies and establishes that knowledge-skill framework is scientifically a strong framework which can help to build current supply chain competencies among future supply chain managers.

Research limitations/implications

This study considers only a limited number of variables that define the supply chain talent. The framework can be further developed and extended to different industries and countries.

Practical implications

The study identifies knowledge-skill framework which can help to develop a training module for current or aspiring supply chain managers. It also can provide significant input to design university supply chain management program to meet future supply chain manager’s requirements.

Social implications

Include providing the right education and training in support of supply chain operations and in turn serving the community with products and services on time and that too in a most cost effective manner.

Originality/value

This paper develops a new framework for supply chain talent development. This framework has been empirically tested, and major findings and future research directions are highlighted.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 47 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Rameshwar Dubey, Angappa Gunasekaran, Stephen J. Childe and Thanos Papadopoulos

A shortage of skills is recognized as a major source of risk in supply chain networks. This study uses two independent organizational theories to explain how to build…

Abstract

Purpose

A shortage of skills is recognized as a major source of risk in supply chain networks. This study uses two independent organizational theories to explain how to build applicable skills for continuous availability of appropriate supply chain talents. The purpose of this paper is to propose an integrated framework that links human agency theory, social capital theory and supply chain skill.

Design/methodology/approach

This framework is analyzed in third party logistics (3PL) organizations by confirmatory factor analysis and tested using a survey. After pre-testing by six academics and six practitioners, and following the total design method, the data were collected from 183 3PL organizations in India. Data were checked to ensure no non-response bias. Research hypotheses were tested using WarpPLS-structural equation modeling.

Findings

A primary finding offers guidance to 3PL managers. Their driving role and mediating role of access to information and access to resources facilitate building supply chain skill. Leaders who invest in library, acquiring e-resources, offer financial support and create trust among employees are enablers of building supply chain skill.

Originality/value

This study classified 14 supply chain skills into three categories as: managerial skill, quantitative skill and supply chain core skill. The study could be extended to similar companies in other developing countries.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 56 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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