Supply Chain Matters was pleased to have the opportunity to speak with David Malenfant, Vice President, Global Supply Chain, Alcon Labs, the new chair of the Board for the Supply Chain Council last week. In our part one posting, Dave shared his vision for the Council, the continuing mission, as well as some prospective changes that members can anticipate over the coming months. In this part two posting, Dave goes on to share prospective changes in education delivery, some comments regarding upcoming programs, as well as Dave’s view of the role that blogs can play in the new world of supply chain management.
Q: What changes have you observed regarding how Council members want to receive education or became aware of new developments and needs in supply chain management?
As mentioned before, supply chain professionals are very busy people. One of the ongoing issues we have debated as a Council is whether to continue to schedule an annual North America or European annual conferences. We will continue to consult with our members relative to the best means for how they desire we deliver that education. There are so many different supply chain conferences today, many of which overlap. If I had the time and budget, I could attend a supply chain conference every single week. We need to have one conference that differentiates the Council and provides much broader educational opportunities, perhaps in coordination with other professional organizations such as APICS or CSCMP.
The Council will also continue to provide alternative means to get education disseminated either through virtual conferences, monthly webcasts, or other web-based exchange forums. We have been building into the Council web site better means for promoting more awareness to these types of educational events, as well as reaching out more often to the Council membership.
Q: Can you comment on any upcoming programs and/or initiatives to which we can look forward?
At the chapter level, members should anticipate more on the ground activities related to thought leadership, education and training. One of the things we have learned as an organization during these past months is that supply chain professionals are very, very busy. We have heard feedback that members desire focused training and education either on the local level where travel can be managed, or virtually via webinars or virtual exchange among professionals.
The other concerning trend is that we are not attracting enough new people into the supply chain profession, people who have the passion for making supply chain their long-term career goal, along with the broad skills to be successful in this changed environment. I’ve been in this profession for 37 years and we finally are beginning to see that supply chain is being recognized as an attractive profession. If we are really going to help prepare companies for future needs, we’ve got to continue to reach out and partner with educational, academic and other training communities to foster the concept of SCOR as a framework for integrating the various functional and management skills required to succeed in the new era of supply chain management. We should stress the importance of the SCOR framework as the example of an integrated view of the skill disciplines required to prepare our future supply chain management professionals. This is a strong passion of mine, and I trust for our membership. There is no better time than now for the Council to grasp and run with this passion in order to make supply chain the profession of choice, and ensure that we have the programs that are designed to do that.
Q: Will SCOR continue to have a global chapter presence?
Absolutely. As an organization, we continue to reach out beyond just North America and we continue to do that In South Africa we are doing an exceptional job of reach out, along with our partnership with APICS. In Europe we have had some success, but not as great as I would like to see for the Council. Latin America provides other needs and opportunities. The global reach of the Supply Chain Council is great, and we now need to expand upon our programs to capitalize on that reach.
In our ongoing membership programs, I would foresee our organization working more with multi-national companies and their supply chain executives who have supply chain activities residing across multiple global regions, where there remains a need for continuous training and development. That’s also why we have redesigned the Council website to make navigation far easier, allow multiple members of a particular company to have broad access to content, or share in web-based forums or peer exchange.
Q: A final question. I continue to observe by just the increased readership of this blog, that a perspective of end-to-end supply chain integrated process, as well as timely awareness of current supply chain developments and what this means, seems to be filling one educational void for supply chain professionals. What’s your view of the role of blogs within supply chain management?
That’s why your blog is so good, because it provides professionals, who don’t have the time to attend all of these many conferences, or who are on the road most of the time, a means to quickly check into current developments within supply chain, and what meaning they might have. That’s really what I think it means. We need open discussions among professionals within blogs, vs. Facebook or Twitter, where these professionals can understand what’s happening with current issues and how their peers are viewing or responding to these trends or events. I like the fact that your blog is posting a lot of current issues.
Dave, I appreciate the time as well as your perspectives, and best wishes on your new role as Board chair.