Why You Need a Supply Chain Non-Executive Director

Written by Craig Elvin on Mar 28, 2017

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As an Associate Director of global executive search firm EO Executives, I also head up the Procurement and Supply Chain Practice. My role means I get the opportunity to meet with the top industry leaders on a frequent basis, whilst continuously keeping up to date with new industry trends and what’s going on in the market.

One reoccurring (and well known) fact that keeps arising in my discussions with industry leaders is that is that MD’s, CEO’s and boards of SME’s are facing huge challenges growing their businesses; in a volatile market that often has more disruptive and aggressive competition than ever before.

You are not competing company to company any more but supply chain to supply chain. You must be faster, leaner, more innovative and agile than ever before.

In a recent blog, my colleague Michael Fisher (Head of the Financial Services Practice at EO) recently wrote about why you should hire a non-executive director. However, it is important to remember that you need to surround yourself with the right mix of advisors and where better to start than someone with a Supply Chain and Procurement background?

Here is why I truly believe an experienced Supply Chain expert can and will add value, mitigate risk and accelerate the growth of your business:

Broader industry insight: Without doubt those who have worked in supply chain will be able to provide you with insight into a plethora of different industries. Most executives focus on their organisations industry. However, those experienced in supply chain will have interacted with, purchased from or supplied to industries outside yours.

This can provide you with market knowledge, networking opportunities and ideas around innovation outside your normal channels.

Multi discipline experience: At EO Executives we are starting to see more senior executives with supply chainbackgrounds, such as Tim Cook of Apple, make it into the board rooms of major organisations. A major driver for their success is that they often have multiple discipline experience. Many come from finance, operations or manufacturing backgrounds and some of the best procurement experts I have ever worked with started in sales.

As an SME, this experience can provide your business with tremendous value as these individuals offer broader, top level experience that can help your company develop and grow.

Removing the bottle necks: It is the entrenched nature of supply chain executives to remove bottle necks and develop workable solutions. With a high proportion of SME’s reporting issues with their suppliers, distribution of product or cost of sales as major stumbling blocks, who better to provide the solutions than someone who has found those solutions in the past?

Future Innovation: Have you thought about automation, robotics, design generation?

Top supply chain professionals can help you leverage your supply chain and bring the next level of product innovation to the table. They will work to create strategic alliances and joint innovation programmes that will drive your business ahead of competition.

Social responsibility: In the days of social media, bad news spreads fast. You need to protect your brand and bridge the gap between ethical attitudes and sustainable capability. Procurement professionals are adept at auditing not only your suppliers but their suppliers. They ensure that you are not dragged in to the ethical mind field that can jeopardise your company reputation.

If you are interested in talking about how you can attract Non-Executives to your business or if you are an executive looking to undertake Non-executive work, then please get in touch directly for a confidential discussion: craig.elvin@eoexecutives.com.

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