Invest in yourself

From the June 2020 print edition

At the moment, the world seems a disrupted and tumultuous place.

While currently occupying fewer headlines, the global pandemic remains a major issue. Civil unrest in the US, Canada’s neighbour and largest trading partner, continues and has now usurped much of that media attention.

Throughout everything, looming behind everything else and ready to reappear, is the world’s climate crisis that governments, businesses and other organizations will be compelled to turn some attention to at some point in the future. The world is complex, and challenges never cease entirely.

It’s perhaps easy to succumb to anxiety at such a fractured global order. It’s also easy to fret over the future viability of industries, jobs and supply chains. And while anxiety is never particularly pleasant, it can help to get one moving and to make changes. This time of uncertainty may also be an ideal opportunity for reinvention.

In his In The Field column on page 6, columnist Tim Moore calls it “sharpening the saw.” The article focuses on ways supply chain professionals can handle the disruption of the pandemic and Moore counsels us to invest in ourselves and our professional direction.

He advises us, for example, to take online courses and read to improve our professional prospects.
This is a good idea. The initial shock of the pandemic is over, and the slight pause is a good time to reassess skills and areas of knowledge. Supply chains will rebound as economies come back online. Supply chain professionals must be prepared for that. In the meantime, here are a few areas in which to hone skills and develop knowledge.

Risk management may seem obvious under today’s conditions but still bears mentioning. Check out resources to help you build your skills in handling risk. Doing so will make you more employable as well as helping to build resiliency in your supply chain. A McKinsey report even found there may be a dedicated risk management function within many supply chains going forward.

Automation should also be on your list. The recent disruption has shown how fragile today’s complex supply chains can be. Automation can help to mitigate this by helping to create intelligent workflows.
Disruption often leads to innovation and new approaches to existing situations. Now is a good time to learn different approaches and read up on how others handle challenges. Perhaps there are innovative ways to build resiliency into the supply chain that recent events bring to light?

The above are simply a few areas of potential focus. Improving one’s skills and knowledge in these and other areas will help supply chain professionals to deal with whatever lies ahead.

Michael Power is editor of Supply Professional magazine.