31 January 2012 – The world is changing at an increasingly fast speed and so is the supply chain management profession. “Twenty-five years ago, the term “supply chain management” did not exist. The core elements of the supply chain were managed by different people in different departments without any specialisation or coordination. This scenario is inconceivable today,” says Wesley Niemann, Supply Chain Coordinator of the Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria.
Since its inception, the field of supply chain management (SCM) has become extremely important to firms in an increasingly aggressive marketplace. Businesses realise that being competitive in the 21st century requires leading-edge thinking around supply chain management and logistics. Companies are looking for talented individuals with a strong mix of education, potential and motivation to manage and lead their global supply chains and the real good news for the aspiring SCM workforce is that the industry’s leading supply chain executive recruiters agree that the demand for good supply chain talent is going to outstrip the supply for the foreseeable future. A recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 48% of US companies plan to snap up supply chain and logistics graduates in 2012 – and thanks to globalisation, the situation on South African soil is not much different.
Due to the fact that supply chain management is a systems approach which manages the flow of material, information, services and finances, the opportunities for someone pursuing a career in Supply Chain Management (SCM) are almost endless. Says Ken Titmuss, CFPIM, CSCP and director of SAPICS - The Association for Operations Management of Southern Africa: “Careers in SCM provide job opportunities from entry level up to executive management. An interested candidate can take up a position after school and develop it into a successful career. Qualifications in Human Resource Management, Financial Management, Information Technology and Operational Management all stand an applicant in good stead. However successful supply chain employees – those with a chance at reaching executive levels – need a broad set of skills beyond the ‘engineering and technical’ talents that used to be the most in demand. Qualifications specifically relating to SCM will fast-track career growth,” comments Titmuss. Titmuss further explained that people within organisations need to begin to look at the organization as a whole and understand the supply chain within their own organisation and resist the temptation of thinking and working in silos.
The SAPICS education offering is one of the most comprehensive available in Africa and educational programmes are offered extensively in a national capacity in South Africa and as far afield as Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania via a network of Authorised Education Providers.
Titmuss maintains that there is no such thing as a standard career path in SCM and that an individual’s road to success will be largely influenced by his or her skills, interests and personal decisions. He also indicates that individuals with an affinity for a fast paced job that demands continuous personal development will thrive in this environment.
Richard Henderson, Vice President, Procurement of Limited brands managed to encapsulate the reasons why an individual should consider a career in SCM when he said: “I enjoy, and am sometimes amazed at, the diversity of the supply chain (if we can change this because by just putting supply we are merely talking about procurement!) management practice. In any given week, I can be involved in or called on to influence strategic decisions in logistics, marketing, benefits, travel, telecommunications or any number of functional areas. The diversity keeps the work interesting, influential and challenging. The level of talent, business acumen and intellectual horsepower necessary for success grows daily. It's a great way to gain direct exposure and broad-based business knowledge across a lot of areas. I also like the growing respect and admiration the practice is gaining. It's a great time to be in supply chain management."
For more information in this regard the SAPICS offices can be contacted at (011) 023 6701.
SAPICS - The Association for Operations Management of Southern Africa - comprises professional members from across the spectrum of South African industry. Since its foundation in 1966, SAPICS has become a leading provider of knowledge in supply chain management, production and operations in South Africa. The association is closely affiliated to APICS -The Association for Operations Management and the Institute of Business Forecasting in the United States.
SAPICS is the South African custodian of two internationally accredited certification programmes from APICS - Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP). The association’s education offerings are aimed at advancing industry's ability to succeed in a changing and increasingly competitive market place.
The Annual SAPICS Conference and Exhibition is the premier educational and networking event in Africa for Supply Chain management professionals. The 34th Annual Conference & Exhibition will take place at Sun City from 3 – 5 June 2012. The theme of the conference is “Africa – release the potential”.
For further information, please contact:
Jenny Froome at SAPICS
011 023 6707
The SAPICS offices can be contacted at (011) 023 6701 for more information.