Priorities and determinants for supply chain management skills development in manufacturing firms

Harri Lorentz*, Juuso Töyli, Tomi Solakivi, Lauri Ojala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to find out the current SCM skill development priorities in manufacturing firms and how the structural properties of the supply chain translate into demand for SCM skills in manufacturing firms.

Design/methodology/approach - An internet survey was designed and conducted. The responses of 154 manufacturing companies operating in Finland were analysed through descriptive statistics and regression analyses.

Findings - The supply chain management skills with an inter-organisational focus tend to have a higher development priority than the skills with an intra-organisational focus. The top five skills for development are: demand forecasting and supply planning; sourcing and supplier management; customer and distribution channel management; production planning and control; and information systems for logistics and production planning. Structural properties of the supply chain seem to have an effect on skills that are related to supply chain design and information flow infrastructure, i.e. the ability to locate the various nodes in the network, and to connect and coordinate their respective activities in the face of often uncertain demand.

Research limitations/implications - The results are based on survey research with a limited sample size and geographic coverage with bias towards large firms. The research scope is further limited to investigating the influence of structural properties of the supply chain, leaving opportunities for further research on the demand for SCM skills.

Originality/value - The authors report original findings that provide input to the development processes of training programmes and university curricula, related to supply chain management. They also initiate theory development on the determinants of demand for SCM skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-375
Number of pages18
JournalSupply Chain Management: An International Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Finland
  • Geographic dispersion
  • Manufacturing industries
  • Manufacturing strategy
  • Supply chain management
  • Supply chain management skills
  • Supply chain tier


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