A recent World Bank report, produced by the Kühne Logistics University, highlighted the fact that there is a global shortage of competent supply chain professionals. This shortage is acute not only in developed economies but also in developing economies and the shortage isn’t only at blue collar level but at all levels of personnel up to the strategic level.
Supply chains provide the backbone of an economy and it is interesting to see that the current uncertainty in the UK about Brexit highlighted the importance of having integrated, time sensitive supply chains. Who is ultimately responsible for building up a cadre of supply chain professionals to relieve this shortage? We all have a role to play. This includes training organisations (universities and private companies), governments , professional associations and of course the individuals themselves. Working together we can bridge the gap between supply and demand.
The European Logistics Association’s (ELA), key mission is to promote the profession in supply chain management and to develop competent supply chain professionals as well as improving the competence of current professionals. ELA is a federation of national logistics associations and via this network it reaches around 50,000 logistics professionals.
ELA’s goal is to promote the profession but it does not represent the logistics sector as supply chain professionals can be working in many different areas including logistics organisations, in 3PLs, manufacturing, food, retail, Healthcare and many other areas. ELA, as a neutral body, can play a key role in providing tools and using its network to fill the gap of skilled professionals.
Back in the 90s ELA developed standards of competence for the professionals in supply chain management. To develop these standards ELA mapped the functions in logistics and supply chain and developed profiles for people working at different levels within the profession. At the same time these standards were developed together with the general industry in order to answer to the needs of the market. The standards of competence are updated regularly to ensure that they remain current and relevant for the profession.
The standards are now adopted by the World Bank and used in their logistics performance index [LPI) as well as project of the European Investment Bank and the United Nations. At the moment the certification based on these standards is available in more than 25 countries.
Beside the standards of competence there are other ways to promote the profession in order to attract people to find job opportunities in supply chain functions. Companies, schools, organisations etc.. are invited to open their doors on the International Supply Chain Day. Organised annually on the third Thursday of April next year the 19th of April will be the day to celebrate the supply chain profession.