CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
February 22, 2020
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Keep an eye out for change

Today's supply chain professional needs to be able to route freight while also constantly scanning the horizon for future trends and developments.

Adapting to the ever-changing supply chain landscape requires vigilance. What that means in today's terms is that you need to keep a strategic eye on macroeconomic trends, advancements in technology, and consumer expectations that have the potential to become either rallying points or disruptors to your business.

Indeed, there are many issues facing you today—such as trade wars, autonomous fleets, crowdsourcing, and the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement—that you were not dealing with five years ago. But in spite of recessions, natural disasters, and border issues, supply chains still need to roll on. Which means that if you don't evolve quickly, you die. That may sound a little harsh, but if you don't shift and adjust with the landscape, you will wither and someone else will fill the void.

Despite the growth and positive momentum within our field, being a supply chain professional today isn't easy. It requires that we be open to anything, because change is inevitable. Sometimes you need to see the world through a different lens, adjust your perspective, and eliminate blind spots. Innovation knocks infrequently, so you've got to consciously open the door and welcome it in.

Being a supply chain leader requires the ability to focus part of your brain on the future and the other part on routing freight, for example. You need to be able to work at both ends of the spectrum, from the strategic to the tactical. That's a rare skillset, as most people tend to be either strategic or tactical by nature.

So, you either need to be both or hire both, growing and assembling quality talent is the key to a successful future in supply chain.

Supply chain is still, after all, a people business. All of the whiz-bang trends and technologies are great, but people are greater. If your team is high functioning, if everyone understands their specific role, is trained to perform it, and collaborates effectively, then the company benefits and the individual benefits.

As your professional organization, it's our responsibility to help prepare you for what's coming. We promise to be a supply chain influencer, providing the highest quality research and education to improve the profession.

Whether you're a supply chain practitioner, an academic, or a student, CSCMP cares about you, your professional development, and your success. We take our job as the custodian of the supply chain industry very seriously. CSCMP believes we have an implicit obligation to be caretakers of our discipline and advance it wherever and whenever possible.

Rick Blasgen is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP).

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