This is the time of year when supply chain thought leaders are forecasting which topics and trends will be top of mind in the coming months. There is plenty to think about: In the world of supply chain management, there is no shortage of issues that will affect us.
At CSCMP, we are in contact with professionals all over the world. Through our events, programs, and the other ways that we connect supply chain leaders with one another, we hear what the word on the global street is about supply chain trends and concerns. Here are three of the most common themes we're hearing:
Globalization and the lack of predictability. We are all learning to deal with the growing complexity of global networks of partners and suppliers. Meanwhile, we are facing supply chain "whiplash"—rapid changes that translate into intense price pressures in a compressed time frame (think of the meteoric rise of oil prices). Additionally, uncontrollable factors that affect our profession, such as increased regulation, are now the norm. As a result, cultural and geopolitical issues are discussed everywhere, and the question of how to manage through times of great economic change is foremost in many supply chain managers' minds. You can hear the latest thinking and exchange views on these important issues April 23?25 at "Enhancing Supply Chain Performance in an Uncertain World," our European conference in Brussels, Belgium.
Environmentally sound practices. We constantly hear about the growing demand for environmentally sustainable and socially responsible products and services. A question for many: Is "green" just a cost issue, or are there ways to generate revenue in this space?
Find out the answer to this and other questions June 9-10 at "Greening the and railroad employees to manage Supply Chain" in Sacramento, California. CSCMP will host this joint conference with the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) and the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC).
Changing demographics. Our population is aging. Will we have enough truck drivers, warehouse operators, our freight in the future? CSCMP is helping members understand the ramifications of demographic trends through events like the "Disruptive Demographics and the Supply Chain" session at last year's annual conference. We'll continue to investigate this topic at future events like our 2008 Annual Global Conference.
Managing through these complex issues will require great leadership. Successful 21st-century leaders will be experienced in global business activities and relationships. They will be generalists, but with a specialty focus. These leaders will be able to talk about revenue, not just costs, and how the supply chain affects both. They will know how to leverage their interpersonal skills, realizing that consensus building will yield positive results. And they will continue to drive the supply chain to benefit both the internal organization and—more importantly—the consumer.
Although we're experiencing massive change, one thing is certain: world-class leadership will make the difference. At CSCMP, we're working hard to help you, today's supply chain management executive, become an even more influential global leader.