With their experience automating the supply chain, managing a slew of vendors and negotiating a complex set of contracts, CIOs can make compelling candidates for chief supply chain officer
There are a number of career paths from CIO to COO. One of the most promising involves managing the supply chain. "The move from IT to supply chain leadership is beginning to happen on a broader spectrum," says Mike Hugos, former CIO of Network Services Company and author of Essentials of Supply Chain Management. "Traditional IT, as we've known it for the last few decades, is being outsourced and CIOs are being downgraded to reporting to COOs and CFOs. With technology as a leading concern for supply chain leaders, CIOs are poised to step into the role and report directly to the CEO. The move gets the CIO a highly visible role and a seat at the boardroom table."
With their experience automating the supply chain, managing a slew of vendors and negotiating a complex set of contracts, CIOs can make compelling candidates for chief supply chain officer. Four CIOs who have made the move share their experiences and offer advice for those interested in making the transition.
George Chappelle, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Sara Lee
In 2005, George Chappelle left his role as CIO of H.J. Heinz to join Sara Lee as its new CIO. Nearly three years later, he became chief supply chain officer of Sara Lee's North American operations. "I had some previous experience in supply chain before coming to Sara Lee as CIO," he says. "As we implemented SAP, we touched parts of supply chain, like inventory control, so I had gotten to know the supply chain through that project, as well."
What to Expect
All operations, all the time. "Ninety-five percent of what I do now is operations," says Chappelle. "Outside of an annual operating and long-range plan, we're plotting the future in days and weeks and following an awful lot of numbers." While transaction processing and the data centre have exposed CIOs to their share of operations, "the supply chain role is completely different; success is no longer measured in 12- to 18-month intervals," he says.
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