8 Must Have Supply Chain Competencies

Technical Supply Chain Competencies

The underlying Supply Chain competencies are skills, knowledge and characteristics that support the effective performance as Supply Chain professional.  Given the global Supply Chain demands Supply Chain professionals should never stop developing new skills and enhancing existing ones. Here are 8 core Supply Chain competencies that Supply Chain professional need to master—and continually improve.

  1. Capacity Planning

The ability to determine the production capacity required by a supplier or a company plant to meet forecasted customer demand.  The capacity planner must be able to calculate the maximum amount of work that an organization is capable of manufacturing in a given period of time and adjust its utilization based on inputs from various processes, including Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and Sales Inventory & Operations Planning (SIOP).

Supply Chain Competencies


  1. Inventory Management & Optimization

The ability to ensure product availability through inventory administration activities such as demand planning, stock optimization, and monitoring the age of the product.  Inventory levels are set to meet customer service requirements with a minimum amount of inventory.

  1. Demand Management

The use of qualitative and quantitative methods to predict short-term incoming demand for use as an input into the Sales, Inventory, & Operations Planning (SIOP) process.  This supply chain competency includes the use of analytical techniques and software to generate baseline statistical forecasts.

  1. Master Production Scheduling

The knowledge and creation of an overall production plan over a specified time horizon which includes a list of part numbers, quantities, and due dates.  The competency includes the evaluation of capacity, demand and material availability of the operation to ensure an effective supply and demand balance.

  1. Materials Replenishment Planning

The knowledge of forecasting, demand planning, scheduling, and inventory management tools and concepts necessary to analyze optimal placement and velocity of materials required in the manufacturing and distribution process.  This competency includes the ability to take the Master Production Schedule replenishment quantities and “explode” quantities through the bill of materials to create component requirements which are compared against on-hand and on-order.  Purchasing or manufacturing orders are subsequently planned and either placed or deferred.

  1. Order Management

The knowledge and skills necessary to manage the receipt and scheduling of customer orders.  Processes included in this competency include standard order receipt, exception identification, and exception resolution.  Key to the success of this function are 1) the ability to work effectively with customers to clarify requirements and negotiate solutions when constraints exist, and 2) the ability to work effectively with other company functions to assess ability to meet customer needs and to develop work-around solutions when necessary.

  1. Shop Floor Execution

The knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage materials procedures in the order fulfillment process within a plant.  Processes in this competency include receiving, put-a-way to stores, picking, Work In Progress (WIP), scrap and materials hold, production scheduling, back flush, and shipping transactions.  The competency includes the knowledge and understanding of these processes as well as effective application.

  1. Supply Chain Continuity Planning

The knowledge of the process that seeks to optimize Supply Chain strategy, processes, human resources, technology and knowledge. Supply Chain Continuity Planning controls, monitors and evaluates Supply Chain risk, which serves to safeguard against new uncertainties that may emerge affecting profitability.

Those are the 8 most indispensable Supply Chain competencies I believe. Each of them has definitely given my career a huge technical edge. I hope some of them are helpful for you too.

Which Supply Chain competency is your favorite of the above?

16 thoughts on “8 Must Have Supply Chain Competencies

  1. I have been in the supply business for some time now. Your post is packed with useful information that I can definitely use. I favor inventory management and optimization.

  2. Interesting. Incomplete, but interesting nevertheless.

    But, with warranted attention to certain SCM functionality, the REAL missing piece(s) relate to the ultimate must-have, those attributes that constitute authentic and effective leadership. We face many talent shortages; the greatest, imho, is a yawning chasm between need and the current state in SCM leadership. We can fix the functionality challenge. But, what is our capacity and stomach for the tougher chall nge of creatg leadership where little exists today.

  3. Thanks Dr, very useful input. I have question.. are we need to take any SCM professional exam in order to make ourself well prepared in SCM?

  4. Thanks for sharing!
    I work as a Customer Demand Planner and I find very usuful everything you have provided.
    Overall, we need also to highlight the importance of analysing the data and take action. Sometimes, we have so many info, like fcst, sales, Epos, customer fcst, promo activities, distribution channel for every SKU, production dates planned etc… we update the spredsheets without taking time to analyze this info.
    Is there anybody who wants to share with me how they cummulate in an excel file every info effectively and in an easy manner, so as with a glance to see what’s going “wrong”?
    Thank you in advance

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