Supply Management Leadership


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Leadership Skills in Supply Management

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Supply Management Leadership

  1. 1. What They Are and How to Obtain Them
  2. 2. Leadership Skills The business sections of bookstores and libraries are overflowing with titles that describe leadership skills and how to apply them in the workplace. But what kind of leadership is needed to develop specifically for the supply management profession?
  3. 3. Leadership Skills Simply put, what is needed is well-rounded leadership - people who have a broad understanding of the business, and strong capabilities in change management. Furthermore, leaders are needed who are capable of taking people in their organizations step-by-step to a position of high performance.
  4. 4. Leadership Skills It’s the kind of leadership that is based in knowledge, character, and the ability to craft a vision that translates into value for the organization.
  5. 5. Leadership Skills Regardless of a supply manager’s level in an organization, he or she is tasked to do a certain job and to achieve certain results. Whether it’s administering a purchasing function, negotiating a small deal, or establishing an alliance relationship, there are particular responsibilities to carry out.
  6. 6. Leadership Skills If a supply manager defines a new result that leads to a cost reduction or quality improvement, then he or she has already gone through the process of establishing a vision, however small, and achieving it. And getting to that vision requires leadership at some level.
  7. 7. Leadership Skills To achieve higher levels of leadership, however, requires a more conscious, proactive effort. Establish an agenda for leadership that builds upon current strengths. Use management skills to outline a plan to further develop leadership skills, and establish the mind-set now that you are going to be a leader.
  8. 8. Leadership Skills Once a supply manager has made this conscious decision to pursue an education in leadership, much of what follows will come naturally.
  9. 9. Leadership Skills The key elements of leadership may be categorized in a variety of ways. These elements include: Influencing and persuading others Taking a goal-oriented approach Applying analytical and technical skills to accomplish goals
  10. 10. Leadership Skills Business acumen is key, for the highest levels of success in the supply management field require an understanding of every aspect of business and an appreciation for everyone’s role in its success.
  11. 11. Leadership Skills After all, supply management doesn’t have goals for itself so much as for the organization, so the supply management professional must know the organization intimately to be a leader in serving its needs.
  12. 12. The Road to World-Class The world-class supply manager is an individual who visualizes and approaches their job from a strategic perspective in dealing with the supplier-company-customer linkage.
  13. 13. The Road to World-Class This individual continually validates and leverages their skills and knowledge of critical supply chain activities in a team environment to provide value in meeting organizational and customer objectives.
  14. 14. The Road to World-Class There are eight broad skills that are common to supply management professionals deemed to be world-class. All of these attributes or skills will allow supply managers to improve their capabilities in key areas of leadership and position them for greater and greater leadership opportunities.
  15. 15. The Road to World-Class These skills are included here as a starting place for identifying the leadership skills that will lead to personal and professional success. They are the key elements of the world-class supply manager.
  16. 16. The Road to World-Class 1. Interpersonal communication skills. Supply management professionals must communicate well both internally and externally. There are many subsets and facets to interpersonal communication, such as interacting with people and having personal respect for others’ opinions. The function can be described as a communication bridge to the outside world: traffic on that bridge must flow smoothly into and out of the organization.
  17. 17. The Road to World-Class 2. Team and facilitation skills. Cross- functional teams are a way of life, and decisions are no longer unilateral. Teaming skills build on many of the interpersonal skill requirements. Effective supply management professionals must learn to play different roles on different teams, from leader to member to advisor.
  18. 18. The Road to World-Class 3. Analytical problem-solving skills. With the movement to closer relationships, supplier selection criteria must be much more precise. The focus has shifted from buying to contracting. Supply management professionals must know their suppliers and the suppliers’ industries and have the ability to translate that knowledge into total cost evaluation.
  19. 19. The Road to World-Class 4. Technical knowledge. A technical understanding of the organization’s business is required. Since many supplier relationships are extended for longer periods of time, continuous improvements are often driven by process improvements. To meet this goal, supply management leaders must have the technical background to understand supplier processes and scheduling systems to make improvements.
  20. 20. The Road to World-Class 5. Computer literacy. Eliminating redundancies and non-value activities, such as purchase orders, is accomplished through the use of systems. Capturing data to prove savings is where the computer can help by allowing managers to organize and analyze data they have never examined before. E-mail, the Internet, and electronic commerce are but a few of the applications.
  21. 21. The Road to World-Class 6. Negotiation skills. While this skill was mentioned less frequently in study interviews, it’s very prevalent in the literature and surveys, and also found repeatedly in organizations’ internal documents that describe purchasing skills. Most organizations are trying to get their employees to develop negotiation strategies that satisfy both parties and produce lasting agreements. It’s one area in which most supply managers receive some training.
  22. 22. The Road to World-Class 7. Education and professionalism. A formal education is a necessity for a supply management position, with arguments being made for both business and engineering degrees. Self-improvement - attaining the Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) designation or the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) - was important at most organizations.
  23. 23. The Road to World-Class 8. Continual learning. Learning is a lifelong process, which never stops. Although it’s more of a skill builder than a skill itself, it belongs in the world-class supply management professional’s tool kit. It’s also imperative to keep learning on the agenda because requirements will always change; the standards for world-class status are not a milestone to be achieved, but a journey that will constantly be taking you in new directions.
  24. 24. The Road to World-Class The best way to learn these skills is to actually practice them. Once a supply manager starts looking for opportunities to practice leadership, he or she will discover that they are all around you. For example, as previously stated, multi-function teams are the essence of supply management activities in many organizations today.
  25. 25. The Road to World-Class One of the best ways to learn about effective leadership of this kind of team is to get involved in one. Volunteer for a project, and be proactive in seeking out ways to align yourself with potential mentors who can expose you to new areas of learning.
  26. 26. The Road to World-Class On the training front, ISM,, is an outstanding resource that offers learning materials, seminars, and courses that ultimately lead to the CPM or CPSM designation. This is a goal that can be key for all supply management professionals. Become an ISM member today!
  27. 27. The Road to World-Class Make sure that you read magazine,, CPO Agenda,, and other relevant publications. Find something in each issue that you can grab onto. Go to the organization’s Web site, which is another excellent resource for leadership training.
  28. 28. The Road to World-Class All of these activities not only provide tools that can hone leadership skills, but by taking the initiative to seek out these tools and resources, a supply management professional is demonstrating leadership qualities.
  29. 29. The Road to World-Class And don’t stop there; again, be proactive. Reach out to those who have ideas and information to share, including authors who are writing on subjects that matter to you or that you want to learn in greater detail. Many professionals have found that colleagues who write for professional publications are usually very receptive to phone calls.
  30. 30. The Road to World-Class There are so many opportunities for supply management professionals to be leaders and demonstrate leadership qualities. Each and every person can continue to seek new ways to improve and grow as a leader.
  31. 31. The Road to World-Class Now, go create a vision and a plan -- then get out front and quot;lead from a forward position”!