“The image of the supply chain management profession has been marred by corruption, and skills development and the professionalisation of supply chain management has never been more critical than it is today, in our increasingly global, challenging, complex and dynamic business environment.”
This is the contention of Tonya Lamb, business development executive at SAPICS, The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management. Speaking at the 11th annual Supply Chain Management Education Excellence Awards, Lamb said that the current shortage of skills is a major threat not just to supply chains, but to businesses and the economy. “Supply chain management is at the heart of every organisation. An effective, streamlined and skilled supply chain provides a business with a competitive advantage, but more importantly, is paramount to building thriving economies,” she stressed.
In his 2019 State of the Nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the importance of effective supply chain management in Government’s service delivery objectives. “In improving the capabilities of public servants, the National School of Government is introducing a suite of compulsory courses, covering areas like ethics and anti-corruption, senior management and supply chain management,” he said.
Lamb stated that the factors contributing to the supply chain management skills gap include retiring “baby boomers”, the profession’s image and its changing job requirements. “Many of the people who entered the supply chain management profession at its inception are now at retirement age. Because it is sometimes misunderstood and undervalued, the supply chain management profession is not attracting the young, emerging talent that it needs. Supply chain management is also a constantly evolving and changing profession. We are seeing the rapid introduction of new technologies, and businesses are struggling to find people with the required skills sets.”
SAPICS’s Supply Chain Management Education Excellence Awards recognise individuals, organisations and educators who are going the extra mile to advance and develop the supply chain and operations management profession.
Addressing guests, nominees and award winners at the event, Ingrid Du Buisson, executive officer of the Forwarding & Clearing Chamber at the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA), reported that TETA is forging strategic partnerships with organisations like SAPICS to drive much-needed recognition and professionalisation of the supply chain industry. Recent advances include the establishment by National Treasury of the Interim Supply Chain Council, with which TETA is working to ensure quality and standards in supply chain training and certifications. “TETA is excited to be a part of today’s awards, celebrating individuals and organisations that are working hard to make a difference and contributing towards tackling the skills crisis,” she said.
The Supply Chain Management Education Excellence Awards covered several categories. The awards were presented by SAPICS director Keabetswe Mpane, who is Transnet Rail Engineering’s head of department for logistics and compliance. “This year’s submissions have been nothing less than extraordinary,” she noted. “They speak of individual growth and personal development, business transformation and improvements in efficiency, but also highlight how education, training and skills development have in some cases been life changing. Every year the task of evaluating the submissions and deciding on the winners becomes more and more challenging. The panel of judges - comprising leaders and specialists in the profession - had a tough task,” she said.
The 2019 Supply Chain Management Education Excellence Awards winners were:
Higher Education and Training Student of the Year: Marna Louwrens, Stellenbosch University
Facilitator of the Year: Mpho Makaleng of UNISA
Education Organisation of the Year: Centre for Logistics Excellence
Supply Chain Professional of the Year: Richard Dos Santos of Isential
Corporate Educator of the Year: Imperial Logistics