Leadership Skills and Supply-Chain-Management in the 21st Century

Intermediate Examination Paper, 2009

18 Pages, Grade: 3.9/4.0


Table of contents


Financial management

Marketing management

Global business management

Operations management

Strategic management






This paper focuses on leadership skills required within our fields to manage the 21st century. The paper examines the leadership skills required to effectively manage financial aspects of organizations. Most organizations are profit oriented, which require skilled leadership to ensure proper management of their finance. The paper evaluates marketing management skills that organizations need to gain appropriate competitive advantage in the volatile market conditions. Many emerging organizations are expanding globally, which the paper examines. The paper focuses further on operations management and strategic management of modern organizations. The paper evaluates the significance of effective leadership skills in strategic management since many organizations face challenges that require appropriate strategies to manage.


The 21st century has a lot of challenges due to the emergence of advanced technologies, which have created numerous disparities in the business field. The previous century was characterized by slow movement of products due to poor infrastructure. The emergence of technologies created a business arena where lead time is very minimal thus requires leaders who are highly skilled to manage such challenges. The consumers are highly aware of prevailing market conditions, therefore demand divergent preferences, which organizations must satisfy to maintain the competitive advantage. This phenomenon calls for skilled leaders to manage the prevailing business challenges (Pandya, 2009).

Effective leadership skills were a rare concern in the past business field because of few challenges that organizations experienced during their operations. The endowment of recent market conditions by uncertainties, natural disasters, government regulations, among other aspects initiates adequate leadership skills in organizations. For example the supply chains are very complex in their operations, such as logistics, marketing, procurements, distribution, among others. The business leaders should therefore have the ability to coordinate and proactively manage various business units to produce substantial results.

Financial management

The 21st century is full of challenges that influence the business sector (Lange. 2008, p.10). This implies that leaders should have financial leadership skills in order to overcome such challenges. Lange (2008, p.10) states ‘‘managers should understand accounting language to effectively report financial issues’’. The organizational leaders should be able to make appropriate analysis of financial aspects. Many organizations are profit based therefore the ability to effectively manage financial matters elevates the company’s performance (Lange. 2008, p.10).

The organizations’ leaders should be capable of focusing the future occurrences in the organization (Chidrawar, et al, 2009). The automation of both inventory and logistics units assists in quick response to financial matters in the organization. Many organizations realize poor performance due to bad management of their inventory and logistics. According to Chidrawar, et al (2009), stocking the right products at the right time in the right warehouses uplifts the organization’s financial status. This implies that consumers will be able to access the required products in time, hence increased sales, and subsequent increase of marginal returns.

The supply chain management is a sophisticated task according to Wong (2007). For the supply chain to record better financial results, the top management must ensure effective management of financial issues. The financial management should cover both investments to marginal returns. The effective supply chain managers should redesign the poorly performing strategies to improve the organization’s financial performance. The top management should put the available finance into effective investment, such as acquisition and outsourcing to generate substantial results (Wong, 2007, p.2).

‘‘This century requires information professionals who can manage organizations for profitability’’ (Abels, et al, 2003, p.2). The information professionals have the ability to utilize available information to successfully manage organizations. Such leaders are very competent in their work, thus improves the organizations financial performance. This draws an implication that such competent leaders are able to inculcate technologies and business strategies to achieve appropriate financial results. Abels, et al, (2003) believe that able leaders can put the available information into proper use in an organization. For example, the financial information should be a tool that enables top management makes appropriate decisions to improve the overall performance of the organization in the end (Abels, et al, 2003, p.2).

Pandya (2009) states that the inability to effectively correspond supply with market demands impacts negatively on the financial performance of the organization. The business managers should be able to achieve the organization’s financial vision by initiating appropriate management plan. Pandya (2009) comments further that the current organizations are much different from the traditional ones in terms of complexity. Modern organizations must adhere to the call of advanced technologies to cope with the volatile market conditions. This implies that leaders must be tactful in their financial management to ensure that the organization maintains the competitive position in the market (Pandya, 2009).

Craumer (2009, p.1) states ‘‘performance measurement plays an integral role in the management of organization’’. The current business leaders require adequate skills and information on performance measurement tools. For example, the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Balanced Scorecard (BSC), and Key Business Areas (KBAs), assist in gauging the organizations financial and non financial performance. The knowledge about performance indicators will assist the 21st century leaders to realize the organizations financial performance, hence making appropriate judgments and adjustments (Craumer, 2009).

‘‘Many projects experience numerous challenges, which include but not limited to great uncertainties, poor management of product delivery, and increased operational costs, among others’’ (Madhavan, et al, 2000, p.285). Managers should be capable of applying management software, such as Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP). These tools enable managers to effectively account for the available finances and make proper financial planning. The appropriate financial management in an organization tends to reverse most if not all the challenges that face modern businesses. The ability of managers to utilize information technology in managing finances improves the overall performance of the organization (Madhavan, et al, 2000, pp. 286-290).

Marketing management

The effective management of marketing requires able leaders. Kadlecek (2009, p.1) states ‘‘top management should incorporate Sales Inventory Operations Planning (SIOP) in their management processes’’. For instance, the Bell Helicopter restructured their SIOP mechanisms that increased the marginal returns for the company. The SOIP mechanisms improved the Bell Helicopter’s overall performance, such as marketing and production. This implies that the company improved their chances of expansion and competitiveness in the challenging business landscape (Kadlecek, 2009, p.1).

Najmi & Sidhu (2009) believes that an agile organization originates from an effective Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) mechanism. The 21st century leaders should be able to form agile organizations that able to cope with the current market challenges. These organizations are able to overcome variables that imbed the business performances. Myopic leaders cannot manage the current organizations due to the complexity of the market. The structure of the modern market is very volatile, which calls for tactfulness in proper marketing of the products. Therefore, leaders should have a great insight in terms of market plotting to ensure that the company’s products gain favorable competitive ground (Najmi & Sidhu, 2009, p.1).

‘‘The more often organizations measures their performance the greater the chances of growth’’ (Cohen, 2009, p.1). The supply chain is very complicated because of the processes involved, which include but not limited to supply, marketing, distribution, production, and procurement, among others. Managers should embrace better marketing dimensions after realizing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the company. The ability of the top management of an organization to effectively apply the SWOT analysis improves the marketing of the products. Adequate marketing results to increased sales and subsequent increase in marginal returns that enhance further growth of the company (Cohen, 2009, p.1).

The supply chain organizations face fierce competition from one another in the global market (Thomas, 2009). This calls for appropriate marketing for the products to create more awareness to the customers. Business leaders should be able to identify market challenges that affect the products’ sales to create sustainable marketing solutions. For example, the LG Electronics, Inc., a Korean company identified their major strengths that assisted the company in proper marketing. This effective marketing management propelled LG Electronics, Inc. to become a world class company with sustainable competitive advantage (Thomas, 2009).

‘‘Advanced information and communication technology in the 21st century pushes organizations to work round the clock to meet diversified consumer preferences’’ (Kemp, 2009, p.1). For the effective management of product marketing, there is need for quick response to market opportunities. The ability to seize the market opportunities increases the marginal returns of an organization hence increased competitive advantage. For example, the Austria based company; Teich AG deals in a wide range of products and is very flexible to customer requirements. This act improved Teich AG’s supply network, thus reducing operational costs within the company and along the value chain (Kemp, 2009).

Numerous organizations are either driven by supply or demand, therefore lack adequate mechanism that combine the two (Rehman, 2009). The inability to combine both supply and demand impacts negatively on the performance of organizations. This calls for the application of Sales and Operation Planning (S&OP) by the top management of organizations to manage both supply and demand. The appropriate management of both demand and supply increases the products marketing in the volatile market conditions. Leaders should have the skills of applying both sales and operations management (S&OM) and S&OP to increase awareness and sales of the products (Rehman, 2009, p.1).

The face of business landscape is complicated due to diversified consumer preferences, great market rivalry, and uncertainties (Vockley & Lang, 2008). The leaders of 21st century should have relevant skills to manage the complexities in the market. ‘‘The successful utilization of intangible aspects such as innovation, skills, and knowledge, improves the organization’s competitive advantage’’ (Vockley & Lang, 2008, p.4). For example, the emergence of advanced technologies in the early 1990s changed the face of organizations, hence incorporating skilled leaders to effectively manage the new business transformations. Information and communication technology (ICT) plays a major role in product marketing. Therefore, managers should have skills to appropriately utilize ICT, which increases organizations’ capital base (Vockley & Lang, 2008).

The supply chain organizations are very sophisticated to manage across their value chain. Leaders should be able to create strong organizational structures that are capable of alignment and adaptation to business transformations occurring across the supply network (Ketchen, Jr. et al, 2008, p.237). The agility is the ability of the supply chain organization to react faster to major consumer requirements. Therefore, such business entities are able to satisfy the demands of their customers, hence creating loyalty, which in turn increases sales. The capability of restructuring the supply chain increases the competitive advantage in the dynamic market status. Business managers should aim at meeting the interest of all customers and supply chain stakeholders in order to improve the awareness on products (Ketchen, Jr. et al, 2008, p.237).

Marketing management is increasingly becoming one of the major challenges for both established and emerging organizations. Many organizations miss their marketing targets because of poor leadership (Singh & Parpia, 2009). The prevailing business field is full of market transformations, which results from outsourcing, financial uncertainties, production, inventory, and delivery management. Therefore, leaders should be able to control and manage all the market and business changes to put the products at better competitive position in the market (Singh & Parpia, 2009, p.1).

Global business management

The emergence of advanced technologies has initiated the development of global business. For instance, the internet assists organizations in online product marketing and sales. Many established organizations continuously enter new markets globally through acquisitions, mergers and vertical integration (Cooper, 2009 a). New markets offer better opportunities as well as challenges, therefore a need for competent leadership to ensure positive performance of the business. For example, Samsung Electronics, which commenced great supply chain management in the early 1990s, now operates their business almost all over the world. Samsung achieved this global market status because of the appropriate application of enterprise resource planning (ERP) mechanisms in most of their global centers (Cooper, 2009 a).

Just as many organizations join the global business, stiff competition automatically occur in the market. The ability to cope with such challenges depends on the skills of the top management of an organization. The 21st century leaders should initiate the creation of unique and diverse products that compete favorably in the market. Global business management requires the incorporation of supply chain management (SCM) aspects with financial decision (Rajasekharan, 2009). Such combination enables organizations to realize all the financial gains from every global market entry. (Rajasekharan, 2009, p.1) states, ‘‘the chief financial officer (CFO) plays a critical role in integrating SCM aspects and financial issues during global market entry’’.


Excerpt out of 18 pages


Leadership Skills and Supply-Chain-Management in the 21st Century
( Atlantic International University )
Managing Transformations in Work, Organizations and Society
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
leadership, skills, supply-chain-management, century
Quote paper
Doctor Howard Thaw (Author), 2009, Leadership Skills and Supply-Chain-Management in the 21st Century, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/456194


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