In a recent survey conducted by consulting firm Supply Chain Insights on the state of the industry, the management of supply chain talent received low ratings across the board as an area of weakness and ineffective business models. In 2014, 43% of supply chain professionals surveyed said that their company was worse than its peers at navigating the whole talent life cycle: recruitment, retention, engagement, and advancement. “If companies do not get more serious about supply chain talent, it will become the broken link in the supply chain”, says Lora Cecere.
The supply chain talent deficit is something we’ve written about before, and as a specialty recruiter, our search firm is focused on closing that talent gap for senior and executive roles in what remains a narrow, high demand vertical.
In terms of business pain points, a lack of knowledge and understanding about the inner workings of supply chain for executives, along with push for talented industry professionals that have the right mix of experience, qualifications, and availability.
Cecere’s primary recommendations to mitigate this ongoing issue involve strategic thinking and planning for the industry road that lies ahead. It also involves some tangible tactics that any businesses can adopt and implement to effectively boost their supply chain talent pipeline:
Improving the quality of work life. Appreciation goes a long way.
Increasing HR supply chain competencies. Only 1 in 3 North American companies have an HR function focused strictly on supply chain. Partnering up with a specialty recruitment search firm that’s dedicated to supply chain is a great option, particularly for organizations that are not yet ready or able to restructure their HR department but do require more expertise and assistance with niche talent acquisition in supply chain.
Interdisciplinary talent could be an industry lifesaver. When it comes to fresh-faced young professionals, consider looking for graduates from programs other than supply chain. What you want are bright leaders with strong analytical skills – which isn’t discipline specific. Once you’ve hired them at an entry-level, you can train them in supply chain principles and keep them on track for advancement opportunities in the future.
Cross-train your existing team and reap the benefits. Organizations that help their employees develop new skills and grow their careers will have better functionality in their supply chain.
Create a culture of coaching. Enlist executives to mentor supply chain professionals in your company and create a dialogue for more open communication and problem-solving.