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Survey Finds Differing Perceptions Between Global Supply Chain Executives and C-Suite

Posted May 13, 2015

The heart of any global business has always been the operations by which it purchases, makes and moves what it sells to customers. Yet only 45% of supply chain and 40% of procurement executives say they are extremely or very confident that their supply chain organizations have the competencies they need today, according findings in the newly released “2015 Supply Chain Survey” from Deloitte.

The survey of 400 executives from globally active U.S. companies also found alarmingly wide disparities between these supply chain executives and top company leadership when it comes to assessing their supply chain’s talent. In sharp contrast with the supply chain and procurement executives, more than three quarters of CEOs and presidents say they are extremely or very confident their supply chain organizations have the required competencies needed for today.

“Today’s global economy demands a networked and efficient supply chain,” said Kelly Marchese, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and supply chain strategy leader. “The disparities in viewpoints that exist between company leaders and supply chain professionals could materialize into actual barriers to success, particularly as companies try to evolve their supply chains through new technologies and operating model changes. Approaches to talent management must evolve with supply chains to ensure today’s workers can meet tomorrow’s challenges. That can only occur if executives at every level are informed and in agreement when it comes to their talent needs.”

On average, less than half of all executives rate their employees as excellent or very good on seven leadership and professional competencies, such as strategic thinking and problem solving, the ability to manage global or virtual teams, and the ability to effectively persuade and communicate. At the same time, an average of about two-thirds of executives say these competencies will become more important to their supply chain during the next five years, creating a talent gap that could have serious implications for companies and their customers.

“Companies increasingly must extend their supply chain’s talent base beyond technical skills to bring more leadership and professional skills into more levels,” Marchese said. “This has the potential to empower and inspire employees at all levels to support constant innovation in fast-moving industries, and to generate new forms of leadership that can help create more engaged and effective supply chains.”

The survey also found recruiting new talent is seen as a greater challenge than retaining existing talent, especially at higher levels, suggesting that building skills internally is becoming increasingly important. About two-thirds of executives say recruiting senior leadership for the director and senior director level is difficult, while less than half say retention is difficult.

Click here to download the survey.