by Abe Eshkenazi, Chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management, ASCM
Industry View from
Five ways to create a better world through supply chain
Supply chains have an extraordinary opportunity to solve problems and create brighter futures for people, organisations, communities and economies.
Supply chains shape the world in which we live, having an ethical, economic and environmental impact on every person and place on Earth. And as global supply chains become more technologically advanced, complex and interconnected, the risks and opportunities continue to escalate.
Most of today’s consumers, in all corners of the world, have limited knowledge about how supply chains work, the ways in which their potential is advanced by the latest innovations, and the associated risks and opportunities they present. The future of supply chain begins with shining a light on the countless ways in which the industry affects people and the planet – and then taking action to create a better world. Here are five essential initiatives:
1. Frontier and humanitarian supply chains. By mobilising supply chain communities, skilled leaders and visionary partners, we can create opportunity and find solutions to critical problems. This effort must involve advancing supply chain knowledge and reliability in underserved markets, supporting localised capability-building efforts and furthering supply chain maturity models globally to ensure last-mile product availability.
2. Engaging students, STEM and career awareness. When the supply chain leaders of the future are engaged and educated, they will be better equipped to bring prosperity to countless lives. Those in the supply chain must be committed to the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in schools as a pathway to future opportunity in rewarding supply chain careers, as well as the creation of effective global networks.
3. Workforce development. Strengthening networks also requires addressing the supply chain skills shortage. It’s essential that we attract more people to the industry and provide the education and training necessary for career success. As supply chains grow more complicated, global and sophisticated, organisations face a mounting need for skilled professionals. Preparing individuals for these opportunities not only helps close the vast supply chain talent gap, but also provides high-quality, rewarding jobs and a meaningful path forward.
4. Diversity and inclusion. Diverse and inclusive organisations are better able to drive long-term success and improve the economies in which they operate. Furthermore, supply chain innovation depends on applying the broadest set of perspectives to business challenges. By supporting and advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives, we can foster professional environments that value equality and individual differences while inspiring people of all profiles and backgrounds to build better supply chains.
5. Consumer awareness. The products and services we depend on every day are connected to us by an often-invisible network. It fuels prosperity and makes critical resources accessible and affordable. At the same time, however, many of the millions of supply chain workers face labour rights violations, unsafe working conditions, discrimination and corrupt sourcing practices. By increasing awareness, consumers can be educated and empowered to make better choices, and businesses will come together around a shared concern about how supply chains can be improved in order to create a better world.
There is a clear and significant collaborative opportunity to advance public health and safety, improve global operations, and foster the overall advancement of end-to-end supply chain management. This is the future of supply chain.
Learn more about how ASCM is working to create a better world through supply chain at ascm.org.
Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE, is the chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM).