Key competencies & skills for new-era supply chain managers

Ian Murphy 10.03.2018

As companies continue to invest in their supply chain teams, a core set of competencies are essential for the success of the applicant for the role. Companies are now screening for these none competencies when conducting interviews. 

These core competencies are in high demand and those who master all of them are set up for success. 

Companies are now looking for a core set of these skills: 

  • Project management
  • Technical understanding
  • Cost accounting skills
  • Ability to understand financial statements
  • Understanding of e-business / e-procurement systems
  • Troubleshooting, problem solving
  • Understanding of cross-cultural / global issues
  • Business ethics
  • Understanding of the legal issues involved in managing contracts


This list is also supplemented by soft skills such as:

  • Ability to communicate effectively through presentations, email, one-on-one, and team discussion
  • Ability to logically organise thoughts
  • Ability as a natural facilitator to enable team-based decisions
  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Understanding of customer’s expectations
  • Vision – creating the environment
  • Desire to learn
  • Ability to present oneself with confidence
  • Ability to think on ones feet
  • Ability to pass on knowledge and mentoring


While most supply chain managers have some of these competencies, very few have perfected all of these. Those who have mastered this skill-set are progressing rapidly in their career and are progressing from supply chain manager to director very quickly. 

As supply chain in Ireland continues to develop into a value-add function, we anticipate to see these skills becoming a requirement.  

If you are a supply chain manager and possess seven of the nine skills, and looking for opportunities to round out the skill-set, please feel free to get in touch with me via my details below.

Ian Murphy's picture
Senior Consultant | Supply Chain, Planning & Procurement Recruitment


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