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Make Your Supply Chain Competency Model Built-to-Last

May 31, 2016
To assess the capabilities of your supply chain team, focus on identifying and then plugging any gaps in their competencies.

Perfection may be your goal when developing a competency model for your supply management team. While that’s admirable, keep in mind the most important characteristics of the plan are consistency and value.

In our industry, we have explicit expectations of the capabilities a supply chain professional must possess and demonstrate in their role and at their current level. Key characteristics of a good competency model include aggregating those capabilities into core competencies that are supported by logical sub-competencies. It also should have the levels of role experience and a description of what each level means.

Of course, for a competency model to be effective, you have to judge the value that it truly provides. You can identify the value by surveying the current level of competency that individuals possess and evaluating where the gaps are as a part of their individual development plan. There, you’ll begin to see organization-wide competency gaps which will enable you to create a roadmap for addressing them over time.

Re-running the survey of competencies should provide feedback on progress and also enable individuals to focus on new (or existing) areas for improving their skills and knowledge.

There are other metrics you should follow regularly: increases in employee training hours, improvements in the employee engagement index and employee retention figures, just to name a few. Employee retention is particularly critical since many supply management teams are hiring, or recently have hired, younger professionals who have their own idea of how they can advance their careers.

While the number of competencies, sub-competencies and role levels is not a hard rule, you need enough of each to cover the breadth and depth of the work being performed. In fact, it’s a good idea to stretch the competencies for a role to its boundaries and not rely just on those capabilities that are safe and historically a narrow definition of the job role. This enables you to include things like communication, and analytical and decision-making skills (e.g., business acumen), which can be one reason why an individual struggles in his or her role even if they possess the technical skills.

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Material Handling & Logistics is an IndustryWeek companion site within Penton's Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group.

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