Every HR manager and Executive will confirm that developing supply chain talent is of great importance. However, research from supply chain insights shows that we risk missing the boat.
It still appears that word and deed do not connect. Supply chain is still not sexy enough. Backroom operations. Many Seniors also stay in place for too long, so that there is little flow in an organization. But the biggest problem is that organizations often have talent plans for top positions, but not for middle management positions, where the gap falls.
With the changes in the supply chain, middle management and specialist functions are becoming increasingly important. Think of Sales & Operation planners, demand planning, SC project support and management, data analysts but also in customer service departments good middle management is becoming increasingly scarce.
For a long time, companies in the labor market or involved middle management were counting on employment agencies and intermediaries. That went well for a long time because many of these functions were fairly generic and the interchangeability between companies and sectors was fairly large in that respect. The omnichain challenge requires completely different capacities from the middle management, which means that we now have to look for the famous pin in the haystack.
The changes in the supply chain, but also in the labor market, are causing a double-edged knife. On the one hand, experienced key persons will leave your organization in the coming years and, on the other, it is difficult to follow up with new talent.
The next effect is that companies will compete hard for the scarce top talent. Then the same problem as in the ICT market threatens. A strong upward trend in wages and allowances to bring the ‘latest’ talent mainly inboard. A nightmare for the supply chain sector, because of the eternal pressure on margins.
There is another factor at world level. Good to very good courses are available in European countries and the United States, such as CSCMP and APICS. In emerging markets such as the Brics countries, these courses are only available sporadically. Yet the Brics countries in particular have a great need for talent. The other reward structures and height prevent an exchange at the international level. As a result, the development of supply chains in those countries is lagging behind the West.
The biggest gaps, according to the research, are in training existing staff, cross-training or retraining and associated pay. The latter does not necessarily mean that salaries have to rise drastically, but the reward pyramid of your organization is ready for a major overhaul. This requires maximum focus from the executive level to achieve this. Because, despite the fact that every organization subscribes to the importance of training, training courses are often mediocre. It is often the first item to be cut.
The current generation of students usually comes from business schools or a level directly below it. They are therefore often well equipped to work in teams and to work out concepts. However, changes in the supply chain require students to increase their competencies in creativity, holistic thinking and analytical skills.
Make middle management, especially specialists such as planners, feel more appreciated. No longer blaming planning that planning and reality don’t match. This is inherent in the day-to-day business where demand fluctuates more and more.
Develop a supply chain competence center. Within the competence center you can take care of job development, training, job rotation, retraining and talent development.
Find your talents outside the box. As demand from organizations increases sharply, but the number of supply chain students barely increases, a rat race ensues. See if a student, from a different direction, has the necessary competences such as analytical skills. It is not necessary for talent to have a supply chain background. You can train this knowledge in-house. It is about the competences in themselves.
Cross train your staff. Provide multifunctional talents that move through the organization. Programs for this already exist for top talent. Apply this to your middle management as well
The entire organization, including the executive level, must be aware of the importance that you will continue to develop your supply chain talent today. Otherwise, this will be your weakest link in the highly competitive omnichain.