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40 SMT007 MAGAZINE I APRIL 2021 aerospace, and so a defence contractor should not necessarily rule out a great candidate from the pharma industry. e reality is, your busi- ness and supply chain will be unique, and the new person (if an external hire) will need to learn all this, regardless of whether they have specific industry experience. For those looking for a career in supply chain management, look to expose yourself to dif- ferent parts of the organisation. Stepping from transactional buying to category management or strategic procurement, then on to supply chain management might seem like a logical pathway, but it will give you a very narrow per- spective on the role. Better to look for horizon- tal steps into operations, logistics, sales, or plan- ning to give you a more holistic understanding of the whole value stream and also give you the leadership skills you will need. Supply chain qualifications abound, however a good grad- uate degree such as engineering or account- ing will give you the analytical skills you need and provide that valuable broader perspec- tive. Good experience is then oen more valu- able than further qualifications, although some education in Lean thinking and supply chain courses such as those offered by APICS will not go to waste. Remember, a good supply chain manager needs to be able to see and under- stand the big picture. You can then hire people to be the technical specialists. SMT007 Tim McLean is co-founder and managing direc- tor of TXM Lean Solutions, global Lean and oper- ational excellence consultants headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and with offices in North America, Europe and China. Prior to establishing TXM, Tim worked for 16 years as a manufactur- ing and supply chain manager with major compa- nies including Hoechst AG, PPG and Amcor. Tim is the author of two books, On Time In Full: Achieving Perfect Delivery with Lean Thinking in Purchasing, Supply Chain and Production Planning, and Grow Your Factory Grow Your Profit: Lean for Small and Medium Sized Manufacturing Enterprises, both published in the U.S. by Productivity Press. technology vendors, and warehouse landlords. erefore, excellent negotiation and communi- cation skills are essential. ey need to be pre- pared to listen to and understand the perspec- tives of all supply chain stakeholders, including those from other cultures and countries. But they also must be able to clearly communicate their vision for the organisation and set and maintain high standards of performance. Summary As you will gather by now, the role of the sup- ply chain manager is a demanding one, partic- ularly in complex industries such as electron- ics or aerospace. Successful recruitment starts with clearly defining the role and then having the patience to search for the right person to fit that role. A common trap is to put too much importance on "industry experience." When you put in a requirement like "must have at least 10 years' experience working in the electronics industry," you greatly reduce the potential can- didate pool. In fact, the supply chain for almost every discrete manufacturing industry has sig- nificant similarities to the electronics supply chain and candidates in those industries will develop similar skills and experience. ere- fore, a supply chain manager with 10 years making medical devices or tractors may have a better overall skill set than the best candidate you can find from your own industry. Like- wise, the regulatory environment in pharma- ceuticals has similar characteristics to that in Successful recruitment starts with clearly defining the role and then having the patience to search for the right person to fit that role.

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