The Covid-19 pandemic effected major businesses across the globe by greatly impacting the supply chain network. As the epicentre of the Pandemic shifted from Wuhan to Europe to other continents, the supply chain network underwent massive disruptions in manufacturing, warehousing and retailing. In a way, the pandemic has exposed the latent shortcomings in the existing supply chain network. With the world's greatest manufacturer, China getting hugely impacted in its manufacturing sector due to imminent lockdown resulting from increased contaminations, there has been an upward trend towards routing production capabilities back home. This has necessitated the need for robust supply chain policies and models.

According to a report published by Global News Wire, the global supply chain market is currently witnessing the following trends.

  • Demand for the creation of task force to mitigate the challenges posed by COVID -19
  • Demand for greater manufacturing of PPE, testing kits and sanitizers
  • The steady decrease of human resources in manufacturing units owing to the fear of contamination

With the new supply chain model, it has become critical for supply chain managers to step out of their comfort zones and polish their skills and knowledge base. Supply chain rests on Communication, Change and Collaboration and to be able to successfully weave these three things together in the current business environment, there are 5 critical supply chain skills that the new age supply chain managers need to acquire. These are:

Demand Planning and Forecasting

What is the supply chain without forecasting? The great game lies in identifying the 'just enough' quantity to satisfy each customer and yet not reaching the ‘wasteful surplus’. Product Portfolio Management, Statistical Forecasting and Trade Promotion Management are key aspects of demand planning training. This enables young supply chain managers to make critical decisions in terms of implementing the correct ERP software and manipulate data to gain real-time visibility.

Financial Planning

The key to translating all supply chain decisions into financial terms lies in mastering financial planning. Financial planning in terms of supply chain involves a thorough expertise in supply chain audits, procurement & saving realizations along with spend management and VAT implications impacts the way one takes a supply chain decision.

Inventory Management

Inventory management is one of the most critical aspects of supply change management. Though there has been a great level of automation regarding the same, there is still a great level of learning to be done. There has been a great level of transition in terms of usage with the advent of Autonomous Mobile Robots, 3PL, AI, IoT, and Blockchain technology.

Logistics and Global Supply Chain Management

There is a silver lining behind every cloud and therefore the COVID-19 Pandemic has called for a complete rehash of the logistics and supply chain strategies. Minimizing the risk of contamination will continue to drive the use of robotics and drones in supply chain management. To thrive in the current supply chain ecosystem, one needs to completely abreast of the ongoing advancements at the global level. This is just not possible on the job, for this dedicated effort needs to be made through professionally tailored programs.

Modelling and Analytical Tools

There are a lot of analytical tools used for the supply chain. Now with businesses at global scale reeling with challenges, it has become more critical than ever to gain real-time visibility of demand and supply. To support this, one must be aware of the kind of software whose functionalities align with organizational goals.

One of the proven ways to build up these capabilities is by enrolling in programmes that help enhance theses skill, like Advanced Programme in Supply Chain Management (APSCM) offered by IIM Calcutta. This particular course has been designed by supply chain experts to equip the new age supply chain managers with skills to transform challenges into opportunities of growth, build a resilient supply chain network and derive a competitive edge in the volatile market.