Effective SCM skills needed to improve service delivery quality



DouglasBoateng.jpgTo significantly change South Africa’s service delivery issues, it is imperative that government implements an effective supply chain management strategy, supported by the appropriate skills.

However, South Africa is hampered by a dire shortage of executive-level supply chain management and procurement professionals, says Professor Douglas Boateng of the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) and SmartProcurement Editorial Board member.

This lack of capability remains the largest weaknesses in South Africa’s drive for economic transformation and service delivery quality, says Prof Boateng, Africa’s first Extraordinary Professor for supply and value chain management.

“Forward-thinking governments are fully aware of the strategic importance of using effective supply chains,” says Prof Boateng. Effective supply chain management can help with industrial competitiveness, job creation and much needed service delivery quality improvements - everything from waste collection, tourism and financial services, to health, education and service delivery in local government has a supply chain associated with it.

However, supply chain management is still generally organised as an administrative rather than a strategic function in South Africa. The situation is no different in most African countries. Owed to this, the procurement aspect of supply chain management is still not recognised as a specific profession.

“There is a relative lack of guidance for procurement officials on how to effectively integrate B-BBEE with other societal and commercial considerations, resulting in increased corrupt and wasteful practices.”

To reduce these wasteful practices the South African Government must support specialist skills development, innovatively adapt supply chain management practices and drive integrity in public and private sector procurement, says Boateng. “Such a co-ordinated move will assist policy makers and directors to use procurement in a way that contributes to a more performance-driven use of resources.”

Planning delivered by skilled Supply Chain professionals is essential to provide the necessary momentum to the National Development plan. “If there is no strategic supply chain blueprint with a clearly defined plan on how to reach Vision 2030 as outlined in the National Development Plan, then any efforts by National Treasury to leverage spend and increase accountability via any technological platform will simply fall flat,” notes Boateng.

Prof Boateng is leading the drive at SBL to improve specialist skills in Supply Chain Management. “We have a public sector contingent engaged with our Masters of Business Leadership (MBL) programme as well as our Executive Education Programmes at SBL. We also focus on supply chain management in specific public lectures and through offering two-day courses as part of an Executive Insights series focused on different aspects of Supply Chain Management.”

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