Survey sheds doubt on supply chain efficiency

A survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) suggests that almost half of UK supply chain managers lack the necessary skills to carry out their work effectively.

The poll of 460 CIPS members in the UK, Australia and South Africa found that 45% felt they had not received the necessary training and 60% did not believe the profession was respected within their business.

Eight in 10 of those who felt inadequately trained also believed that malpractice could be occurring within their supply chain.

The survey follows CIPS’ latest risk index covering the second quarter of 2015, which found that global supply chain risk has risen to its highest level since late 2013. A tightening of credit rules in China has forced managers to look much more closely at the durability of their Asian supply chains, said CIPS.

CIPS’ chief executive, David Noble, commented that the UK economy’s recovery was being threatened by a lack of skills. “Supply chain managers are the first line of defence for British consumers and businesses,” he said.

“They protect shoppers from harmful products, stop our businesses from being ripped off and keep slavery out of Britain’s supply chains.

“These new figures show that our tentative recovery is being undermined by a lack of skills. Without them, we risk building our growth on human rights abuses and malpractice abroad. Supply chain professionals are doing the best they can with insufficient training but as the threats to British supply chains continue to evolve, so skills must be continuously renewed to keep up.“

The survey also found that adequately trained supply chain managers were 50% more likely than those poorly trained to conduct annual supplier audits. Only 16% of their inadequately trained counterparts could see the entire length of their supply chain, with 79% admitting that malpractice could be occurring.

Ethical considerations were regarded as the profession’s most important responsibility. Fifty-one percent of managers cited treating people fairly as one of the top three aims of a supply chain professional, followed by meeting regulatory requirements (46%) and helping to grow the business (44%). Only 7% of survey respondents were motivated by driving a hard bargain.


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