The Core Traits Top Supply Chain Managers Share

Supply chain managers are the operational backbone of their company. Responsible for ensuring everything runs smoothly from procurement to delivery and beyond, they keep the wheels turning on the ground while never losing sight of the big picture.

A good supply chain manager can keep a business’s operations humming along nicely. But a truly great one can completely revolutionize those operations—streamlining processes, improving productivity, and increasing their company’s margins.

For businesses aiming to hire a new supply chain manager or spot leadership potential in their existing employees, it helps to know what to look out for. Here are a few key traits that top supply chain managers share.

Relationship builders

From suppliers to customers to team members and employees on the ground, supply chain managers are responsible for managing people just as much as products. Top professionals in this field are skilled at building and maintaining strong personal and business connections across the globe. The most effective supply chain managers use these connections proactively, communicating their goals and leveraging their pre-existing relationships to negotiate better deals for their company.

Systematic thinkers

Highly analytical and systematic in both thought and action, the best supply chain managers can masterfully break down large-scale problems into digestible parts. After analyzing an issue, they think critically to conceive detailed and applicable solutions. Their ability to tackle problems and recognize patterns in a systematic manner is integral to evaluating and improving processes along the supply chain—helping their company increase efficiency and remain ahead of the innovation curve.

Attentive to protocol

When managing a global supply chain with expansive reach and scale, protocol is king. The best supply chain managers invest a great deal of attention in every step along the chain—and ensure that others do the same. One way they do this is by fully utilizing their transportation management system (TMS). By standardizing shipping processes across the organization and creating alerts to let them know when certain steps are bypassed, leading supply chain managers put protocol at the forefront to improve visibility and reduce overspend, all while leaving room for flexibility when needed.

Mindful of the big picture

Even with so many minutiae to take care of on a daily basis, a successful supply chain manager never loses sight of the big picture. With so many people and products on the ground, these professionals maintain a comprehensive, birds-eye view of the entire supply chain at all times, especially when others cannot. By constantly zooming out and maintaining a growth mentality, the top supply chain managers are able to keep their companies strategically positioned on the world stage, maximizing profits and global reach.


By taking a data-driven approach to their work, any supply chain manager can gain a competitive advantage. Implementing a powerful TMS and taking advantage of business intelligence (BI) solutions allows managers to glean actionable insights into their supply chains, making it easy to identify areas for improvements, make more informed business decisions, and spot opportunities to save. Not every supply chain professional possesses this mindset—but in a cutthroat market, it may be the final piece of the puzzle to help take a company to the next level.

Need a helping hand?

The right supply chain manager can transform a business, but they don’t have to do it alone. CTSI-Global offers a wide range of managed services to help companies optimize their supply chains and logistics operations. From managing all aspects of a company’s TMS to handling freight claim management and in-transit tracking, we aim to take the weight off staff’s shoulders—and help companies grow.

Partner with the experts. Contact us today.

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