Johannesburg – This year’s Young Professional and Student Conference, hosted by SAPICS, was a resounding success, according to the organisers.
Held recently at the Altron Conference Centre in Midrand, it attracted supply chain talent from around the country.
SAPICS president Kea Mpane said several universities were invited to send students to the conference.
Mpane said the event is aimed at young professionals and students who want to gain insight into the supply chain profession from the conference’s practical perspective. “Because it is sometimes misunderstood and undervalued, the profession is not attracting the young, emerging talent that it needs. Events like this are vital to inform graduates and students of the opportunities that exist in this exciting and dynamic field, which is constantly evolving and leveraging new technologies.”
The young professionals who attended are currently working in related fields, in their first or second years of graduate programmes or learnerships.
The event’s programme included speakers from diverse backgrounds; who gave the young delegates career path guidance as well as insights into the supply chain management profession’s many facets.
In his presentation, supply chain guru Steven Melnyk, professor of Supply Chain Management at Michigan State University in the United States, addressed the emergence of the strategic leader.
Melnyk highlighted how supply chains are transforming from tactical to strategic and noted that this new supply chain requires a leader with skills and orientations not currently found in many supply chain managers. He outlined what needs to change, and the traits that differentiate the supply chain leader of tomorrow from the supply chain manager of today.
Chantal Kading, managing director of The People Shop, shared her expertise on how to achieve career success in today’s fast paced, increasingly complex business world.
“In an artificial intelligence age, emotional intelligence is the foundation,” she said.
Chantal Kading and Karen Pretorius offered guidance on how they should represent their brand via social media, in their CV and at in-person interviews.
Personal experiences from individuals travelling the world with their supply chain knowledge were included in the programme.
Grant Swanepoel, himself once a student who has been a member of SAPICS, shared his experiences and the opportunities his supply chain skillset has afforded him.
Glenda Maitin, who owns her own supply chain consultancy; and heads the public health project for the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, talked about her career path to programme director of the project, improving last mile delivery of medicines to the most needy in Africa.
Martin Mvulane, a seasoned supply chain professional with an extensive career at companies such as Tiger Brands, SA Breweries and Unilever shared his experiences with the audience.
How jobs in supply chain will be affected by the Fourth Industrial Revolution was presented by Tony Sinton, CEO of Netstock, South Africa. “The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent, the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of supply, production, distribution, management, and governance,” he said.
SAPICS also used the event to raise funds for Tumelo Home for mentally disabled children of Midrand.