We all have seen, observed and heard a lot about benefits of Supply Chain Systems when deployed in organizations in terms of inventory going down, lead-times getting reduced, driving deflation with vendors etc. but surprisingly lot of supply chain evangelists usually do not touch the subject of increased ability to deskill a role in the organization and save hard cash due to this.
With precision getting increased in the available supply chain solutions, the ease with which supply chain professional plan their chores have become less skill oriented. Whether it is predictive analysis based on the past performance of the vendor and visibility of its stock levels, production plan etc. or it is the accuracy of forecast, every nice feature of SCM solutions have reduced the need of professionals to think like a maverick and they just need to follow the process (I know I am oversimplifying it but the essence remains the same). Earlier they were required to keep a tab on how much material each division is buying from a vendor so that they can take advantage of volume discount by manually following up with people and taking inputs from multiple systems but today the state of art SCM Solutions automatically pick right information from multiple systems, uses fuzzy logic in consolidating vendor billings (in case same vendor is defined in system with slightly different names – a most common mistake across the globe) and throws recommendations to the SCM user after either taking cues from internet on prevailing prices (in case of commodities) or sending RFQs to vendor competitors.
It is not that the life of a SCM professional has become smoother, new technology removes older challenges and brings newer challenges and it will keep on going on but this is not the topic of discussion here so we will refrain from going in that area. The point here is that skills that we all look in the SCM professionals at a senior position can actually be downgraded now as some of those skills are actually not required now as applications have taken charge. Yes, new skills are required but those will anyway not be available in professionals off the shelf and will need to be developed. So, the existing skills set for a SCM professional can be downgraded and manager can be hired where a senior manager used to work earlier whenever you get the chance to replace. Similarly, a senior manager role can be given to a manager and the senior manager can be given responsibilities which were (till now) handled by their seniors and so on. The entire exercise will free up some time for the senior executives for innovation.
One of the few benefits that were not talked upon much earlier after a leading analyst highlighted this in their study a lot of focus is bound to go in this area in-spite of strong counter views coming in from various walks of professionals. The comments section is waiting for your opinion in this regard.