In a world of constant change, supply chain teams need to jump new hurdles, faster and higher than ever before. Product life cycles have become more dynamic, logistics processes need to be compliant with ever-changing regulations, planning systems need to evolve quickly in support of increasingly complex business challenges such as mass-customization and serialization. Entire supply networks are disrupted by changing consumer behaviour, new business models, new competition.
So to say the least, supply chains of today need to be fit. They need to be agile and need skilled people.
But when hyper-specialization and a war for talent have become economic realities, you need to tactically address your supply chain team's challenges. Here are 5 key watchouts:
The unstoppable evolutions in technology and the data revolution that goes with it, will continually generate new trends, instigating the need for new skills. Don’t wait until knowledge shows up. They should have been identified and addressed yesterday. A pretty big challenge for many supply chain leaders. Because how can you keep up with new things and evolutions, while you’re addressing day-to-day operations, fighting every day fires, not always being the expert in new hi-tech trends? So get you a partner who will keep you informed of what the needed skills will be tomorrow.
One thing is clear: in today’s marketplace, velocity is key. Issues need to be addressed quicker than before. Supply chain talent is scarce, so instead of following the typical recruitment path, you should be in a position that you can quickly address gaps in your organization.
Workload evolves. It comes and goes. It moves in time, but also geographically. As companies and people become more mobile, so do their jobs. Also, organizations need to address work volume coming from a major project, such as implementing an ERP system, addressing post-merger challenges or starting up a new production facility. But when the peak in work volume is gone, you should be able to smoothly re-adjust and re-align your team against reduced workload. Flexible work has evolved remarkably in the past few years. Companies are hiring very specific skills to address very specific challenges for very specific periods.
Supply chain is an art. So hire an artist. Someone who breathes supply chain. Experts will be operational so much quicker, addressing supply chain needs fast and effectively. Improving logistic processes from day one. So yes, look for expertise. Rely on qualified people, APICS certified, trained in Lean Management, knowledgeable in ERP and in supply chain software. It will make a difference.
The right partner
Don't pick a generalist sourcing agency randomly. Those days are long gone. You should look for subject matter expertise, approach and vision. A partner with supply chain DNA, who understands your challenges, who can tell you all about new trends, who will co-develop a common goal, sharing and celebrating success together. It's hard to quantify expertise or the human touch in partnerships, but these are key elements for a successful collaboration.