Data Insight January 8, 2024

Speaking Digital Is Vital for Supply Chain Transformation – including at Executive Level

As digital tools transform supply chain, technical fluency is becoming table stakes. Though mentions of digital skills in supply chain job descriptions increase in terms of mentions up to director level, they take a noticeable dip at executive level. What can you do to raise the bar and capitalize on the opportunities for digital implementations within your supply chain?

Cody Stack Avatar
Cody Stack
  1. 1

    Nearly half of the companies hiring supply chain executives in the past year included no digital skills requirements in their job posts.

  2. 2

    The technical expectations of supply chain executives are lower than those of directors, associates, and even interns. The average supply chain org mentions digital skills in three out of ten job posts for prospective directors but only two out of ten job posts aimed at prospective executives.

A quick scan of the quotes by Supply Chain Digital’s Top 100 CSCOs reveals a common theme – leading supply chain minds speak digital (and many of them are Zero100 members). As Mark Rahiya, CSCO of The Coca-Cola Company, says, “Things move fast, but you still have to take the time as a leader to understand.” Supply chain leaders don’t need to be the foremost experts on any given technology deployed throughout their supply chain loop, but they do need to have the knowledgebase to speak digital fluently and interact with the citizen technologists within their organization. However, an analysis of hiring trends for supply chain executives indicates organizations may not be expecting enough of their prospective employees. Mentions of digital skill and digital knowledge requirements increase up to the director level in supply chain, but then take a noticeable dip at the executive level. 

Line graph showing share of supply chain job posts mentioning digital skills by job level.
Source: Zero100 analysis of LinkedIn data

A little more than half of the 174 companies in our data set posted a listing (or listings) on LinkedIn looking for supply chain executives in the past year. Of these companies hiring at executive level, about half did not include any language relating to digital skills in their job posts. Most executives interface with technical teams and, as digital tools transform supply chain and operations, need to understand the impact of technology. Thus, job descriptions lacking mentions of digital skills may not attract the right talent to push your supply chain forward. 

In contrast, companies like Cardinal Health and Schneider Electric, both hiring for at least 30 supply chain executive roles in the past year, mentioned digital skills in at least 2/3 of their job posts aimed at prospective executives. More than half of each of these job posts specified that applicants should have some knowledge of automation. In addition, zeroing in further on the posts from Cardinal Health, more than half mentioned analytics skills. 

Examples of language in executive-level job descriptions: 

  • “Evolve master data capabilities to elevate clinical cross-references and assortment optimization” and “leverage data and analytics to improve performance and favorable outcomes” - Cardinal Health hiring for a VP, Sourcing and Category Management (Nationwide) 
  • “Own the data, digital tools, and process of procurement function” and “spearhead digital transformation by collaborating internally and externally with technology providers and startups to be ahead of the curve” - Schneider Electric hiring for a GM, Procurement Effectiveness 

As hiring practices at Cardinal Health and Schneider Electric demonstrate, technical fluency is becoming table stakes for supply chain executives, with leaders in the digital hiring space demonstrating this in job ads. In terms of expectations for new hires and current employees, until those digital skill expectations for all job levels hit 100% across the board, supply organizations should expect executives to be leading the way. Thus, when it comes to recruiting, we recommend evaluating job descriptions to both raise the bar and also drive innovation. As well as this, look inward. Carve out time to get knowledgeable on critical technology. Internal training resources aren’t only for junior staff members – leverage the resources and experts within your organization and balance that with a healthy dose of external perspective. And for a primer on AI, have a read of How Do I Operationalize AI, which will be published and available to all members imminently. Taking this holistic approach to digitization means being able to capitalize on opportunities for digital implementations within your supply chain. 

To see a different data cut or to dig deeper into this topic, reach out to our Head of Research Analytics, Cody Stack, at   


Zero100’s proprietary data and analytics are a combined effort between our data scientists and research analysts. We provide data-first insights matched with our own research-backed points of view and bring this analysis to life via real-world case examples being led by supply chain practitioners today.   

For this study, we looked at 2.8 million LinkedIn job posts from 174 companies. Our analysis categorizes listings based on mentions of specific digital skills within job titles and descriptions.