MANIFEST VEGAS 2024 — The supply chain leader of the future must have four key skills to keep their organizations responsive, reliable and resilient, according to Elliott Rodgers, EVP and COO at Foot Locker.
Comfort with ambiguity, global awareness, communication and leadership abilities are the skills Rodgers highlighted Tuesday morning while kicking off the Manifest Vegas 2024 conference with remarks on his experience with supply chain transformation. Maria Villablanca, CEO & co-founder of the Future Insights Network, moderated the conversation with Rodgers.
As he listed off supply chain management skills in conversation with Villablanca, he also explained why each was critical to the job:
- Comfort with ambiguity. “You have to be comfortable and expect change to be ongoing,” the COO said, noting he considers resiliency, adaptability and an ability to solve problems as key competencies.
- Global awareness. Supply chain managers must understand geopolitics and economics to succeed, he said. “You look at, for example, what's happening in the Suez Canal. We can't we can't operate within our individual kind of silo in our business. We have to think about the implications of what's happening in the world around us.”
- Communication. Rodgers said while understanding economics, geopolitics and data is good, it’s not enough. Instead, “you have to be able to articulate why that matters for [the business].”
- Leadership. “Supply chain by definition has largely been very people intensive,” he said, calling it an advantage on this skill. “You have a role to play in terms of leadership and influence in an organization.”
At the end of his remarks, the COO also challenged conference attendees to turn ambiguity into an opportunity and invent something great.
Rodgers has more than 20 years of experience in cross-functional leadership roles, according to Foot Locker’s website. He currently oversees supply chain and procurement at Foot Locker, among other functions. Previously, he was Chief Supply Chain Officer and CIO at Ulta Beauty.