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CSCO

The Chief Supply Chain Officer is tasked with predicting demand and adjusting allocations in every channel, as well as integrating warehouse and transport processes for optimal delivery to the organization's customers. But are the CSCO's pain points being adequately addressed?

The increasing indispensability of CSCOs

In recent years supply chain management has taken a central role in business operations. Given tougher competition, the speed of information and the quest for greater efficiency, managing supply chains has increasingly become a high-level function in firms.

Welcome the CSCO – the chief supply chain officer.

Companies involved in distributing consumer products were among the first to recognize the need for a C-level supply chain executive. Retail business, after all, has taken a drastic turn as customers have switched to online shopping and personal deliveries.

Manufacturers, too, see the clear need to upgrade their supply chain processes and systems in terms of speed, visibility and accommodations. Having someone at the helm of the supply chain is perceived to be a must for any company that wants to offer topnotch service and near-perfect efficiency that does away with delays and wastage.

In factories and other production sites, as well as in asset-heavy industries that require huge capitals in order to function, the CSCO is sometimes treated almost the same as the chief operating officer (COO).

The CSCO – or whatever he or she is called – is that person in the executive hierarchy in charge of the extended supply chain processes, from product improvement to the delivery of the merchandise.

What, then, are the qualities CSCOs must possess to be truly effective at their job?

The CSCO must be willing to make big changes when necessary. Foremost among these changes is the adoption of cloud technology to revolutionize the company’s processes. A CSCO must be decisive about why the shift should be made, what the benefits would be, and how this could yield other advantages for the company.

The CSCO must be able to articulate these concepts to his or her peers at the C-suite, emphasizing in measurable and time-bound terms the potential returns that a shift to cloud SCM could bring.

The CSCO should understand all the steps in the supply chain process, so that he or she could re-imagine and reconstruct if necessary.

He or she must have a deep understanding of the market such for accurate demand forecasts, and a flexibility to adjust these requirements at once, as needed.

The CSCO must have extensive prior knowledge of warehouse and transportation procedures to know at once how even the slight adjustments in supply will affect the whole.

Supply chain managers are no longer hands-on, tactical operators with rolled-up sleeves. Today, they are part of the team of strategists and decision-makers whose input is valuable, even crucial, in determining the company’s path.

More than ever, it is CSCOs who have the long view of the interconnectedness and interdependence of one unit of business with others, how one event in one group will affect the processes and output of another, and how business is really done from beginning to end.