Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoerd Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

Supply Chain Skills Relevant for Ever-Evolving Industry Demands

Key takeaways

  • Supply chain skills refer to the wide range of abilities that a procurement professional must possess to excel in the field.
  • Combining technical and soft skills equips supply chain professionals with dynamic industry demands.
  • Success in the supply chain requires combining data analysis, inventory management, and risk mitigation skills with a growth mindset.

The world around us is constantly evolving, including supply chain demands.  Having a robust skill set in supply chain management ensures that needs are met and risks are identified and mitigated before they get out of hand.

Navigating shifts in the industry starts with knowing your organization’s needs and gaps. Knowledge and skills make a supply chain professional the right person for the job. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the supply chain skills that every supply chain professional should possess to have a competitive edge in the dynamic supply chain landscape.

What areSupply Chain Skills?

Supply chain skills refer to the wide range of abilities that a procurement professional must possess to excel in the field. Aside from technical skills such as analyzing, critical thinking, and management skills—having the right balance of soft skills like communication, negotiation, and leadership is vital for ensuring a collaborative supply chain environment.

Bridging the Gapfrom Changing Demands

Factors such as disruptive technology, globalization, and sustainability concerns, to name a few, are transforming the industry. The supply chain professionals are responsible for ensuring that the organization can survive amid these demands.

The Key Supply Chain Skills for Success

To be able to adapt to the  ever-changing demands of the industry, here are the key skills a procurement and supply chain professional should have to be competitive:

1. Data Analysis and Technology Proficiency

It’s fair to say businesses run on data, especially now that we’re in the digital age. Knowing how to use data analytics tools and software is essential for supply chain management. Data analysis provides valuable insights into various aspects of an organization’s operations.

Analyzing historical data and real-time data can help you make informed and strategic decisions. To hone your technology proficiency and improve your data analysis skills, you can attend workshops, take online courses, or pursue certifications readily available online or in your local academic institutions.

2. Supply Chain Planning and Forecasting

Overstocking or understocking can be costly. This is why knowing how to accurately plan and forecast demand can help organizations optimize their inventory levels. Effective supply chain planning ensures that resources are efficiently allocated, reducing unnecessary expenses.

You can explore the various forecasting models and find the most appropriate one for your business. You can also utilize advanced planning software, often called Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software. These are tools and solutions designed to help organizations manage production, supply chain, and resource processes.

3. Inventory Management

Managing costs starts with effective inventory management. Excessive inventory incurs storage costs, while insufficient stock can lead to lost sales. A skilled supply chain professional can balance inventory supply and demand and ensure that products are available when and where they are needed.

Knowledge of the different optimization strategies in inventory management will help organizations minimize carrying costs and waste. It’s also helpful to learn to use inventory management software to streamline processes.

4. Communication and Collaboration

Working with diverse suppliers and stakeholders requires supply chain professionals to be well-skilled in communication and collaboration. It is an essential skill that can ensure things are communicated accurately to meet customer demand and operational goals.

Start by developing your interpersonal skills. For example, during interactions with suppliers or stakeholders, pay close attention to what others are saying and avoid interrupting; this will help you provide better feedback. Show that you’re engaged and interested in the conversation to build better connections and, thus, stronger, beneficial relationships.

5. Risk Management

Disruptions in supply chain operations like demand drop/increase, logistic delays/failures, cyberattacks, price fluctuations, etc., are to be expected, if not. Organizations should prepare for these kinds of variables in supply chain environments. A skilled supply chain professional can identify and mitigate these risks proactively.

Consider joining courses or workshops to enhance your risk assessment and mitigation skills. Some organizations provide internal training programs or partnerships with external providers that offer risk management courses. However, you can check popular online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and Skillshare for a more convenient upskill.

6. Growth Mindset

Professionals who invest in upskilling and continuous learning are more likely to grow professionally and excel in the field. With new technologies and practices emerging regularly, supply chain professionals can benefit from investing in interpersonal and technical skills to help organizations improve productivity and maximize operations.

Upskilling has become more accessible through webinars, seminars, conferences, and online publications. Indeed, there are a lot of learning opportunities in the industry; it’s just about knowing the necessary supply chain skills and knowledge worth investing your time in learning.


The supply chains are a rapidly changing landscape that demands that professionals continuously develop and improve their supply chain skills. It is not just an option; it’s a necessity.

Remember, the key to supply chain success is a combination of skills and strategies. Skills in data analysis, planning, inventory management, communication, risk management, and continuous learning can position you as a highly adaptable supply chain professional. These skills will be essential in facing the challenges of the industry. Proactively preparing for the responsibilities of supply chain management starts with skills development and growth.


Frequentlyasked questions

What are supply chain skills?

Supply chain skills are the abilities that professionals in procurement and supply chain management need to excel in their field. Supply chain management requires a combination of technical and soft skills.

What are the key supply chain skills for keeping up with the industry demands?

The key supply chain skills for success include data analysis and technology proficiency, supply chain planning and forecasting, communication and collaboration, inventory management, and risk management.

Where can I find risk management online courses or workshops?

Risk management courses or workshops are offered on online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and Skillshare.

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics