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Supply chain crisis looms

Wednesday, 2 Sep 2015 ( #734 ) - Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Local News Story
Mark Lamb
Australia faces a looming supply chain crisis, according to the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS), as it reveals that almost half (48%) of Australian supply chain managers say their employer has failed to equip them with the new skills they need to fulfil the demands of their jobs and avert major crises.

CIPS Australasia managing director Mark Lamb says: "The growing complexity of supply chains coupled with a heightened focus on supply chain risk are changing the role of supply chain managers. There is already evidence showing a fundamental shift in the role and priorities of supply chain managers, from a traditional cost control role to one that increasingly prioritises managing risk and building fair and sustainable supply chains."

When asked about the level of respect accorded to the role of supply chain manager, 62% of respondents believe their role is not adequately respected within their business, hampering their capacity to improve the way their supply chains are managed and to develop their own skills. This has the added effect of demotivating talented individuals.

Supply chain managers are responsible for controlling the flow of products and raw materials in and out of Australia. Without trained and qualified supply chain professionals, Australia’s businesses and consumers become exposed to fraud, unreliable partners and human rights abuses further down the chain. Together, these factors pose serious moral questions about the basis for and sustainability of Australia’s economy.

"Our findings show that in Australia, demand for skills is not being met and the ability of professionals to do their job has been undermined. Without proper skills and training, we risk human rights abuses and malpractice all along the supply chain. Professionals are doing the best they can with insufficient training but as the threats to Australian supply chains continue to evolve, so skills must be continuously refreshed to keep up," Lamb adds.

The survey reveals that a core of inadequately trained supply chain managers is failing to prevent malpractice, investigate the origin of raw materials or follow best practice.

"You wouldn’t trust an inadequately skilled surgeon using outdated equipment to operate, but that is often what is happening in the management of Australian supply chains. It is a looming crisis that requires immediate action," he warns.
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