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Tue 1 May 2007 12:00 AM

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Knowledge is power

Effective and efficient supply chains are fundamental to all businesses, especially those operating on a global or regional basis.

Effective and efficient supply chains are fundamental to all businesses, especially those operating on a global or regional basis. Indeed, the rapid growth of global sourcing programmes has created longer and more complex supply chains, with a consequent increase in risk. At the same time product life cycles are getting shorter and, significantly, customers are becoming ever more demanding.

This increasingly competitive landscape has created major challenges for practitioners, universities, industry bodies, academics and students. The question has to be asked whether all these various players are keeping pace with the changing environment?

The focus for knowledge development has to exist at every level within the supply chain. However, there is a real fundamental issue which has to be tackled - the perception of the "logistics industry". For too long the contribution of the people within transport, logistics and supply chain has been under-recognised within the vast majority of organisations. This is gradually changing, but if we want to attract a new generation of high achievers into the industry sector then more needs to be done.

This will require all participants to play their part in making the sector a career of choice. In terms of education, universities need to develop undergraduate courses from which students will graduate with an ability to make early contributions to companies . Universities will need to work closely with companies to ensure that they are addressing meaningful issues. Postgraduate courses will also be essential, as will ongoing research.

Industry bodies need to ensure they are tackling the issue of ongoing personal development for all members through a range of courses. However, it is also incumbent on their members and all practitioners to ensure that they are following through on their personal development.

It is becoming ever more apparent that those companies which recognise the supply chain as a key part of its competitive advantage will invest in the people and the systems to ensure success. Supply chain professionals who work in these organisations benefit from both the recognition and the rewards.

On a continuous basis all participants need to be addressing this fundamental issue of perception. The sector needs to be viewed positively with clear career opportunities through to senior management and even to board level in order to attract the required talent.

In Dubai Logistics City (DLC), we are developing a supply chain platform that will ensure companies operating within the supply chain can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.

In addition we will ensure that the support services are available within DLC to facilitate this effectiveness and efficiency. One of these support areas will be in education, where the plans are to enable training and education from the basic skills all the way through to degree and postgraduate degree levels.

It is critical to the successful development of Dubai as the logistics and supply chain hub for the greater region - defined as a maximum of four hours flying time from Dubai and includes South East Europe, CIS, Indian subcontinent, Middle East and Africa - that there are a full range of trained individuals available to the many logistics and supply chain companies who will be operating within DLC and within Dubai.

Michael Proffitt is the CEO of Dubai Logistics City (DLC). If you would like to comment on this column, please email
logistics@itp.com

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