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Decoding Supply Chain Management for Better Training and Efficiencies

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Supply chain management (SCM) impacts local, national, and global economies and involves the delivery of products and services across the world, from raw materials to deliverables for the end customers. Supply chain managers are intricately involved in all stages of product development and service, including the initial design, implementation, quality control assurance, logistics, and supervision of the supply chain process.

The transfer of technical skills and knowledge is a critical issue facing SCM companies. And as more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, companies must find ways to mitigate knowledge loss. However, research also reveals a strong need for SCM companies to provide soft skills training to budding professionals, including enhancement of influencing skills, building teamwork, and resolving cross-functional conflicts. What’s more, current SCM professionals are experiencing low engagement and dissatisfaction in their work due to a lack of collaboration with other organizations and even their own managers.

Clearly, the evolution of customer challenges, industry changes, market insights, and a new generation of SCM professionals necessitate improved training. Comprehensive learning programs can make a positive impact on both individual and organizational performance measures, and better training can build an understanding of the balance needed between both human skills and analytical skills for SCM specialists to succeed personally and in business.


Talent development leaders can build effective, diverse programs by using blended training approach that addresses these skills, as well as the generational shift taking place with younger, tech-savvy professionals dominating the workplace. Here’s the problem: a review of academic literature confirms a positive relationship between sustainable SCM and organizational learning, yet gaps still exist in current training initiatives.

So, what can SCM companies do to overcome these gaps? And what components are necessary for management staff to develop more effective, efficient training for the future of SCM and logistics services?

Recent studies suggest five potential solutions for overhauling today’s SCM training programs:

  • promote all-inclusive stakeholder engagement, including customer insights and outside professional and educational entities
  • offer continuing education through certification and professional development opportunities
  • nurture a full understanding of job-specific competencies
  • build an energizing culture of coaching
  • implement post-training measurement objectives.

These solutions can be implemented in a phased approach to drive better employee engagement and reduce turnover—even during times when organizational focus is on cost and quality of services.

About the Author

Debbie Petru is a senior consultant on the learning and development team in Union Pacific’s marketing and sales department. She previously worked in two logistic services positions for Union Pacific’s subsidiary company, Loup Logistics. Debbie is pursuing her master’s degree in business and professional communication with anticipated graduation in June 2019. She has a longstanding interest in training and development and recently obtained certifications in Emergenetics+ and The Challenger Sale. She looks forward to developing curriculum and innovative teaching tools conducive to adult learning preferences.

1 Comment
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A faculty in a SCM school in Argentina myself, delivering courses to bring insight in the HR processes that support SC. I totally agree with these five potential solutions. Would appreciate more details on the recent study referred
Hi Alicia, I just returned from maternity leave, so I am just now reading your comment. Which study are you referring to?
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