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Supply chain management skills to sense and seize opportunities

Tatham, P, Wu, Y, Kovacs, G and Butcher, T ORCID: 0000-0002-8425-5961 2017 , 'Supply chain management skills to sense and seize opportunities' , International Journal of Logistics Management, vol. 28, no. 2 , pp. 266-289 , doi: 10.1108/IJLM-04-2014-0066.

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the supply chain management (SCM) skills thatsupport the sensing and seizing of opportunities in a changing business environment.Design/methodology/approach: Based on the previous literature on the T-shaped model of SCM skills,data were collected through a mail survey among Australian business executives. The resultant skill sets aregrouped along factors that support the sensing vs seizing of opportunities.Findings: Interestingly from an SCM perspective, functional logistics-related skills are important tomaintain competitiveness but are not the ones contributing to a firm’s ability to sense opportunities andthreats, and to seize opportunities in a changing business environment. The authors, therefore, support thenotion that supply chain managers should be managers first. Factual SCM knowledge is the solid basis, butotherwise only an entry requirement in this field.Research limitations/implications: Problem-solving skills, along with forecasting and customer/supplier relationship management, stand out as important components that support the ability of supplychain managers to sense and shape opportunities and threats in a turbulent business environment. This focuswould tend to suggest the importance of supply chain integration and collaboration as managementapproaches. Other SCM skills from warehousing and inventory management to transportation andpurchasing are more prevalent for maintaining competitiveness.Practical implications: The results of the survey and the consequential analysis indicate that the contentof tertiary-level educational programmes should be significantly reviewed to deliver two distinct(but partially overlapping) streams that focus on the generalist and functionalist managers who must worktogether in the management of the increasingly global and complex supply chains.Social implications: Functional skills often form the basis of training and education programmes forsupply chain managers. Whilst these form the solid foundation for their jobs, they are entry requirements atbest. In a changing business environment, other skills are needed for success. Given that turbulence isbecoming the norm rather than the exception, this finding necessitates rethinking in training and educationprogrammes, as well as in the recruitment of supply chain managers.Originality/value: Testing the T-shaped model of SCM skills from a dynamic capabilities perspective, theresults of the factor analysis lead to a regrouping of skill sets in terms of sensing and seizing opportunities ina turbulent business environment.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Tatham, P and Wu, Y and Kovacs, G and Butcher, T
Keywords: Dynamic capabilities, Supply chain agility, Supply chain management skills, Business turbulence, Business volatility, Sense and respond
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Logistics Management
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN: 0957-4093
DOI / ID Number: 10.1108/IJLM-04-2014-0066
Copyright Information:

© Emerald Publishing Limited

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