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Supply chain professionals the ‘silent heroes’ of COVID crisis

Home Engineering Associations Supply chain professionals the ‘silent heroes’ of COVID crisis

HUNDREDS of supply chain professionals from Africa and around the world came together recently to learn, share knowledge and network at the 2021 SAPICS Conference, hosted by South Africa’s Professional Body for Supply Chain Management (SAPICS).

With supply chain management thrust into the spotlight by the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasingly recognised as one of the world’s most vital professions, this 43rd conference was one of the most important ever, said SAPICS president MJ Schoemaker.

“Supply chain professionals have been the heroes behind the scenes in these unprecedented times, striving to ensure that supply chains for food and essential goods, including lifesaving medicines, kept moving,” she said.

“They have supported our frontline workers and helped to keep people safe and healthy by getting PPE (personal protective equipment) to where it was needed, when it was needed.”

Schoemaker added that supply chain management was playing a vital role in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

“It has never been more important for supply chain professionals to keep learning, growing and sharing knowledge; so that we can get through COVID-19 and the associated supply chain challenges that still lie ahead, and to ensure that we are ready for whatever other disruptions and crises the future holds.”

She said the conference had grown from a gathering just 35 delegates in 1975 into Africa’s leading event for supply chain professionals.

This year’s virtual event made it possible for some delegates who may not have been able to travel to an in-person conference to benefit from an exceptional programme, Schoemaker said.

“This was a COVID silver lining for some delegates. Content wise, I believe this was one of the strongest programmes we have ever put together. The 2021 SAPICS Conference exceeded all expectations, and we have received extremely positive delegate feedback.”

Topics covered included digital transformation, supply chain risk and resiliency, leadership development, sustainability and the circular economy, healthcare, public sector supply chains, transformation and gender diversity.

The 2022 SAPICS Conference is planned for 12 to 15 June, at Century City, Cape Town.

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