How to Become an Innovative Supply Chain Manager – Step Outside of the Box

Do you have your eyes firmly set on the field of supply chain management as your dream career? Are you looking to forge a path that doesn’t just follow the standard steps, rather you want to be innovative, make a difference in supply chain management, and actually create chains and processes that people want and can benefit from?
Creating a streamlined supply chain isn’t just about ticking off all the boxes on a checklist; it’s about using critical thinking skills, being flexible, adaptive, and of course embracing innovation where it seems beneficial. Here’s a more in-depth look at how you can become a successful innovative supply chain manager and step outside the traditional box.

Feed Your Creativity

First things first, in order to innovate supply chains whether here at home or around the world, you need to be willing to feed your creativity. What that means is that it’s okay, in fact, it’s preferable if you don’t look at today’s supply chains and accept that that’s just the way things have to be.
Allow yourself to look at things from different points of view and start to question processes, technology, safety protocols, and more. The more closely you start looking at supply chains, the more creativity it can spark.

Get the Formal Education Needed

While a big part of your success will hinge on your ability to be creative, it’s important to also keep in mind that formal training and education is also important. This is the first thing that potential employers will see on your resume, so this is what you need to land a job. Once in the job, that’s when you can start to shine and start letting your innovative spirit be free.

So, what’s the best education path for supply chain management? You can actually enroll in a supply chain management graduate program that is done entirely online, and some courses specify that there is no GRE/GMAT required. Just make sure that the school is fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Some of the benefits of a degree course in supply chain management include:
• You can customize your online supply chain degree by adding a graduate certificate – this can make you more in-demand to employers
• You can earn two levels of a supply chain management certificate as you work to get your degree
• The degree prepares you for a leadership role in manufacturing, transport, import and export, and the logistics management industries
• The program will help you to develop your ability to interpret and analyze data as well as implement best business practices

Use a Mixture of Big and Small Picture Innovations

Once you’re in your role as a supply chain manager, it’s important to remind yourself that not all the innovations need to be big. Sometimes it is the small picture, also seen as low-tech solutions that are just as impactful.

Reputed institution Kettering University Online highlights this exact topic in an informative blog that discusses innovators in the field of supply chain management. The focus of these innovators was to look at lower-tech, simple solutions that would result in huge benefits. It’s a matter of using “real-world solutions”, said one of the innovators who was profiled by the online university.
It’s a different way of approach problem-solving in the industry, and one that is proving to be highly effective and productive.
But what exactly can you use these low-tech simple solutions for?
• They can be used to better enhance the safety protocols already in place
• They can help to re-shape the processes that are efficient but yet offer room for improvements still
• They can speed up the supply chain
• They can make the supply chain more streamlined
• They can help you to embrace strategic purchasing; a whole new concept for many companies
• They help you to look at enhancing the bottom line

Look into New Technology

Just as low-tech, simple solutions can have a huge impact on the supply chain, so too can high technology enhancements. Some of the areas you may want to keep a close eye on and look to tweak include:
• Data analytics – here is where you can find all the details that show just how productive and efficient your current supply chain is. Making sure you’re getting the most out of your data, and collecting the right kind of data will be essential.
• High-Tech Weighing – The weighing process in the supply chain is one of the most important steps. There is no margin for error here. The process needs to be quick, accurate, and streamlined, so why not look at innovative high-tech solutions to enhance the process? Take for example the trucks that have scales built into them. As the truck is loaded, the shipper will be able to clearly see the weight. This can speed up the process and ensure accuracy.
• Enhanced Transport Management Software – Software is the cornerstone of the supply chain. It is what keeps things humming along without any snags and ensures everything is on track and in-sync. Of course, this can only be achieved when you have the right software that addresses the company’s specific needs and its supply chain. It may be time to innovate in this category and find software better suited to the company.
• Focus on Product Design – It may even be time to go back to the drawing board where product design is concerned. Product design should be optimized so that it works with the supply chain as a whole – this means the supply, manufacturing, and sustainability of that item.

The Path to Innovation in Supply Chain Management

As you can see, there are plenty of ways that you can bring innovation into the field of supply chain management, making you efficient as a manager now and helping to set the company up for long-term success. Is supply chain management the right career for you? Let us know.

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