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What Makes A Great Supply Chain Leader?

Business executives agree: True leaders are rare, but absolutely necessary to the success of an organization. So what makes a great leader? And how can those traits be learned, and passed on others? We get multiple views on the subject.

What Makes A Great Supply Chain Leader?

Companies can be running the best software and systems available on the market today, but they won’t achieve success without the “best and brightest” people in charge. The question of what makes a great leader has existed for years, but recently has come to occupy front and center in the executive suite, as industries scramble for ways to become more competitive.

Global sourcing and offshoring make for more complex supply chains, and drive the need for end-to-end control. A good leader will understand how the entire business works, and possess an appreciation of the “outside-in” drivers. The leader understands and can read the market, with the ability to translate demand into the needs of the organization.

Leaders can guide companies into becoming “pull-based,” responding to real-world demand conditions instead of pushing product out to meet projected sales levels. The best executives today focus on the whole profit picture, addressing it from a network perspective. They are orchestrators of multiple parties, both inside and outside the company.

The true leader’s vision looks beyond quarterly results to five years or more in the future. The ideal manager is cross-trained in multiple functions, and can motivate people throughout the organization. In short, companies need to hire leaders who can “own the mission” – then communicate it to all individuals and partners in the chain.

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