Grocery supply chain leadership roles 'now more commercial'

Some 86% of food and consumer goods supply chain leaders believe their roles have increased in complexity over the last five years, particularly in terms of range and routes to market.

The research from grocery research and training body IGD also found that 71% of supply chain leaders said their responsibilities are broader than they were five years ago – yet one-third of respondents had seen their people resource decrease.

In addition, 62% of supply chain leaders claim the role of a supply chain leader is now more commercial, with more links to the overall business growth strategy.

IGD revealed the research at GroceryShop 2019 in Las Vegas over the weekend.

While the aforementioned statistics suggest a more challenging landscape for supply chain leaders in the foods and consumer goods market, the research also found that 83% of respondents have seen more collaborative and cross-functional leadership within their organisations.

IGD programme director, Stewart Samuel, who spoke on day one of the event, commented: “Recent years have seen rising costs in supply chains, partly through investment in meeting evolving shopper demands, and this naturally puts pressure on leaders as they seek to innovate while remaining profitable.

“However, we are also seeing these leaders reach out across their organisation to find new ways of operating: whether that is with data, technology or adaptation to a different business model.”

He added: “This is helping to build resourcefulness but also encouraging investment in staff, as roles become more collaborative and future-focused. Ambitious leaders should continue developing in this direction if they want to keep growing in the marketplace.”

Following the research, IGD has suggested ‘the five Es’ today’s supply chain leaders must consider building into their work in order to be successful: empirical, entrepreneurial, end-to-end, evolving and enterprising.

The training body said it has designed this framework to help companies “adapt and build the capabilities needed to meet the changing expectations of retail customers worldwide”.

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