At its annual general meeting, SAPICS, the professional body for supply chain management, reaffirmed its strategic focus on the professionalisation of supply chain management in South Africa and across the African continent.

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the vital role that supply chains play in the global economy. According to SAPICS, the role of the supply chain professional is now recognised as a strategic imperative essential for every aspect of a company’s operations and, through the provision of goods and services, as a critical enabler of economic growth.

“We need skilled, ethical, suitably qualified and professionally designated supply chain professionals now more than ever,” SAPICS president Keabetswe Mpane says in her annual report.

Mpane states that, in the year ahead, SAPICS will continue its drive to advance and standardise supply chain skills and practices across the continent.

“The past year was one of foundation building for the professional development body. The SAPICS executive committee – a team of highly dedicated professionals – took on the management of the project. Based on the feedback received from the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) it was determined that the focus should now be put on the designation at the top end of the ladder, the Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMPro), and this will be our priority this year.”

Outlining the benefits of the professional designation of supply chain professionals, Mpane says: “It will increase supply chain management competence, knowledge and skills, and industry professionals will have prescribed values and ethics to uphold. The ongoing professional development required to maintain designations will ensure that African supply chain management keeps pace with global best practice, so that optimised supply chains can drive the competitiveness and growth of African businesses and economies.”

The coming year will also see SAPICS focusing on developing the supply chain skills of small and medium enterprises, which play a crucial role in the national economy as major sources of employment and drivers of inclusive economic growth.

“We have a very energetic task team working with both SMMEs and the large corporates that they supply, as well as our network of authorised education providers, to offer accredited skills development opportunities that will deliver mutual benefits and enable job creation,” Mpane reports.

At the AGM, Mpane’s tenure as SAPICS president was extended for another year. Two new directors, Gary Benatar and Dave Hudson, join the SAPICS board.