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C-Suite: critical issues in supply chain management

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In this month’s article, we discuss the critical concerns within supply chain management and offer key takeaways on what senior professionals interested in the C-Suite can do to prepare for the future of this field.

This month, we spoke to both a supply chain expert and an alumnus of our C-Suite: Strategic Supply Chain Management Programme for their perspectives.

Tava Olsen

Tava Olsen is the Ports of Auckland Chair of Logistics and Supply Chain Management and a Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at the Business School. She facilitates Executive Education’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Programme.

What are the critical issues in supply chain management senior professionals should think about for the future?

The perennial supply chain challenges of risk, sustainability, visibility and collaboration haven’t changed. However, COVID has highlighted the importance of these, most notably, risk. Risk management is particularly challenging for managers because risk hedging usually costs money in the short run. Therefore, it’s increasingly important that supply chain managers measure risks on metrics beyond cost.

How do programmes such as Executive Education’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Programme help senior professionals prepare for current and future issues in this industry?

We teach the latest in best practices. There is a science to supply chain management – management by “gut” (the number eight fencing wire approach, if you like) no longer cuts it in today’s competitive and complex world. But we also take a broader approach to cover topics like strategy, collaboration and leading change, which are almost more important than the core supply chain theory that we teach.

Richard Marshall

Richard Marshall is the General Manager Global Supply Chain for Douglas Pharmaceuticals. He has been involved in significant roles in operations and supply chain management for nearly 20 years. He completed Executive Education’s Strategic Supply Chain Management Programme in 2020.

Why did you choose to do the Strategic Supply Chain Management Programme?

I was looking for an opportunity to continue my development in an academic environment that allowed me to work alongside peers and expand my network.

What did you find valuable about the programme?

The most valuable aspect of the course was the quality of the speakers and the learnings I took away from my mentor and the rest of the Supply Chain Advisory Panel.

How do you think the programme has helped you in your career?

Primarily it has given me confidence that my development is still on track and that I can work at the C-Suite level in the future. My project work on competitive advantage has helped the business identify where it needs to focus to enhance the advantages that we currently have in the market. This project work has also reaffirmed that our investment plan for New Zealand continues to be favourable when compared with outsourcing options.

What advice would you give to people hoping to progress their career toward the C-suite?

The skills that got you to your position as a Head of Department or a General Manager are not the skills that will make you successful at the C-Suite level. To quote Marshall Goldsmith, ‘what got you here, won’t get you there.’

The course will certainly help focus you and provide guidance and support for your journey towards a C-Suite role. I learnt a great deal from my peers, the invited presenters, the University faculty and the Supply Chain Advisory Group. I strongly endorse and recommend this programme to those who wish to take the next step in their careers.


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