Original Research

Rethinking competency requirements in South African supply chain management

Arthur Mapanga
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 18 | a990 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v18i0.990 | © 2024 Arthur Mapanga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 September 2023 | Published: 29 January 2024

About the author(s)

Arthur Mapanga, Department of Management and Governance, Faculty of Business Sciences, Walter Sisulu University, East London, South Africa


Background: In the realm of talent acquisition and supply chain management (SCM), the establishment of a standardised competency framework is pivotal. However, a lack of consensus in the supply chain management literature persists regarding the prioritisation of competencies for SCM professional recruitment in South Africa. This necessitates a re-evaluation of SCM competencies to align with the dynamic business environment.

Objectives: To understand the competencies necessary for supply chain professionals in South Africa’s SCM job market to inform curriculum development for the training of supply chain profession at higher education institutions.

Method: A qualitative, grounded theory approach was followed. Content analysis was conducted on 29 SCM job advertisements posted on various employment agents’ websites. Atlas was then used to create codes and code groups and themes describing the SCM job market needs and expectations.

Results: While technical competencies maintain their significance, strategic thinking and cognitive capabilities are increasing in their importance compared with interpersonal skills in the SCM job market.

Conclusion: The required competencies for SCM roles are evolving, with an increasing emphasis on strategic and cognitive skills rather than just technical abilities. Interpersonal competencies, although still important, are becoming less crucial. Training institutions should adjust their curricula to ensure well-rounded SCM professionals.

Contribution: The literature reflecting the fast evolving nature of SCM competencies is sparse. This study challenges the prevailing narrative that emphasizes technical and interpersonal competencies thereby opening new pathways for curriculum development and professional training of SCM professionals.


supply chain management; competencies; technical competencies; strategic competencies; cognitive competencies; interpersonal competencies; curriculum; South Africa.

JEL Codes

M00: General; M10: General; M11: Production Management; M12: Personnel Management • Executives; Executive Compensation

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure


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