This is what a supply chain professional in 2018 needs to know

Ian Murphy 26.01.2018

​Supply chain professionals, looking for new roles, should be aware of the following five trends and how to prepare for these in an interview.

Supply chain is moving at a much faster pace compared to a few years ago. With new technologies, new opportunities and new challenges it is difficult to keep on top of the in demand skills. 

Transparency across the supply chain 

We have seen a trend recently in companies demonstrating their ethical purchasing and corporate responsibility. There is now a greater focus on not only how products get to us, but also who the products are from and how they are produced. Supply chain professionals can expect to complete an ethical risk assessment for suppliers in the future to ensure that the company’s values are reflected in their supply chain partners. We are seeing an increase in interviewers asking applicants about their own company’s values and how they demonstrate this. 

Big data

Previously the dark arts of IT and marketing, we are starting to see big data being used across supply chain. With millions of data points and variables in any supply chain, supply chain professionals are now using knowledge and insights from data analysis to determine business strategies and to support decision-making processes. The 2018 supply chain manager will need to be comfortable in data analysis and can extract the correct information to back up business decisions. 

EU & Asia

A major push from the EU has seen multiple free trade agreements put in place recently. With new agreements in place with South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore we are beginning to see Irish companies capitalise on the increased global access and removal of customs barriers. With a proposed EU-India agreement we could soon see Irish companies take advantage of the second largest market in the world. Those already possessing experience working within these emerging markets will have a greater chance of success within interviews. 

China’s dominance in manufacturing 

In 1990, China’s manufacturing industry produced less than 3% of the global manufacturing output by value. Now that figure is 25% and increasing. It is expected that this figure will increase as a result of the Chinese government investing more into their manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure.

We are seeing the knock-on effect here in Ireland with an increased need for supply chain professional to have experience in negotiation with Chinese suppliers and direct face-to-face experience. Within this experience will need to demonstrate how they have adapted to some of the cultural and language differences. 

Disrupted logistics 

Anyone who has watched the news over the last few months will have seen the increase in storms, hurricanes, earthquakes and natural disasters. Coupled with rising political tensions and a shifting global outlook in the US has lead to many companies reviewing how to resolve their disrupted materials flow. We have seen companies undergo stress tests to identify weak points in their supply chains and take proactive steps to minimise this. 

This year may see a repeat of these situations and we would suggest supply chain professions to prepare for interviews by providing examples of being proactive and anticipating disruption 

These are just a few anticipated trends to watch for across supply chain in 2018. 

As a specialised national supply chain recruitment team who work closely with industry, we are ideally placed to provide the latest in trends and how best to prepare for them 

For more information on expected trends, market insights or interview preparation, feel free to contact me or any of the national supply chain team on 021 2300 300.


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


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