Building supply chain management competencies
An SME seeking to be competitive or becoming a supplier to a multinational or large domestic company needs to demonstrate that it has sufficient control over its own supply chain, has the right contracts and processes in place, and can ensure delivery on time and with the required quality.
Managing suppliers and contractors – and handling the related operations and expenses – is an essential part of any business. Supply chain management is especially critical for SMEs, which have fewer resources and must use them wisely. Managing supplies and controlling costs can mean the difference between profit and loss, between success and failure.
The Modular Learning System in Supply Chain Management (MLS-SCM) is a comprehensive training programme covering the total supply chain process, developed by ITC and a team of international supply chain experts. It consists of a series of up-to-date training packs, each covering a particular aspect of this process. The programme promotes the competitiveness of enterprises through better supply chain management. The firm-level capacities that business managers should develop to enter and operate in value chains, which are outlined in this SME Guide chapter, reflect the training material of this course.
Most enterprises spend at least 60% of their earnings on buying goods and services. As a result, improved supply chain management has the scope to deliver substantial savings, increased competitiveness and higher profits. Some enterprises participating in the MLS-SCM training programme have achieved cost reductions of 50% or more.
A deputy purchasing manager of a Nigerian engineering company says she was able to improve her ‘negotiation skills by integrating negotiation variables and components learnt from Module 7 (Negotiating), like trade-offs with regards to payment terms, importation options etc. This resulted in formalizing the agreement which allowed joint-cost reduction strategies’.
The training programme for SMEs – delivered through ITC partner institutions in over 40 countries – provides concepts and tools to SME managers seeking to take their business to a higher level. According to a procurement officer at the Eritrean Education Sector Development Programme, by making use of the supplier positioning model to manage standardized items he was able to ‘minimize effort in re-tendering, evaluating and negotiating the contracts with many individual suppliers, and the cost associated with switching suppliers’.
The ITC certification process consists of a flexible three-step approach that provides increased professional recognition. It also allows participants to have their credentials recognized by other agencies, such as the Institute for Supply Management in the United States. This body accepts the ITC diploma in supply chain management as equivalent to its Certified Professional in Supply Management certification. The programme is ISO 9001:2008 certified.
• Sustainable vocational training programme
• 16-year track record in developing and least developed countries
• ISO 9001:2008 certified
• Global outreach with 51 countries and 135 partner institutions
• 5,194 professionals certified 77,710 professionals trained (41 % women) trained in supply chain management
• 7,302 supply chain management training events held
• 2,310 supply chain management trainers trained
For more information on the MLS-SCM programme and a list of local partners, go to:
Note: Data from 2002 to 2016. Gender disaggregated data collected since 2007. Total of 34,774 participants in 2007–2016 period, out of which about 41% (14,198) were women. Source: ITC (2013).