Supply chain talent: In demand and out of stock?
- 16 November, 2010 05:55
One critical shortage in the supply chain right now has nothing to do with Apple iPhones, Nintendo Wiis or Zhu Zhu Pets being out of stock for the holidays: It's the people who manage companies' supply chains.
This talent shortage is certainly not linked to the number of prospective employees in the labor pool. First, U.S. unemployment rages on, at close to 10 percent. Second, as O'Marah points out in a recent "First Thing Monday" opinion piece, some 40 colleges and universities (notably Stanford's and MIT's supply chain programs) stock the pipeline every year with fresh talent.
"The stack of resumes flowing into our offices may be anecdotal evidence," O'Marah observes, "but I'm certainly impressed by both the quantity and quality of people out there looking for work."
Rather, supply chain leaders have told O'Marah that there's a surplus of candidates with narrow technical skillsets (such as an ability to cut costs) and a shortage of those who possess broader business skills (such as the ability to manage growth globally).
The MIT study ("Are You Prepared for the Supply Chain Talent Crisis?") sums up the situation ominously: Today's "supply chain faces a severe shortage of talent at a time when the demands on the profession have never been greater."
In addition, notes Supply Chain Quarterly's analysis of the MIT study: "Practitioners also need both 'hard' analytical skills and 'soft' leadership skills. Today's supply chain manager must be adept at managing ambiguity in these uncertain times and appreciating the big picture, and they must be able to communicate effectively both vertically within the organization and horizontally across supply chain participants."
While O'Marah doesn't diminish the criticality of the shortage, he does not absolve those companies complaining the loudest from their share of blame:
"Companies tell us they're starving for talent. They proclaim demand, but I'm starting to wonder whether we're all being a little too picky and maybe even a bit lazy. Whatever happened to the traditional model where great companies bring in new people and train them the way IBM, GE or Procter & Gamble always have?"
In other words: Supply chain leaders should stop complaining and develop the talent that is available to them right now.
[ Read about Apple's Supply-Chain Strife in China and The Trouble with Supply-Chain Best Practices ]
Think about it: If there ever was a time when fresh ideas, creative solutions and new tactics-which might happen to originate from outside typical supply chain thinking-could help transform and redefine supply chain practices, now is that time.
"Broad business process expertise as well as organizational savvy comes from integrating knowledge of things like finance and marketing into supply chain strategy," O'Marah writes. "Unfortunately, this type of career path seems all too rare."
As to how companies are managing their supply chain talent today, O'Marah sums it up this way: It's the "worst supply chain in the world."
Thomas Wailgum covers Enterprise Software, Data Management and Personal Productivity Apps for CIO.com. Follow him on Twitter @twailgum. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. E-mail Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about applications in CIO's Applications Drilldown.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.
- the supply chain
- Apple's Supply-Chain Strife in China : CIO - Blogs and Discussion
- Woe Is Wii: The Curious Case of Nintendo's Supply Chain Plans : CIO - Blogs and Discussion
- Zhu Zhu Pets
- MIT CTL global supply chain education, research, and innovation : MIT CTL
- Kevin O'Marah — A Member of the Gartner Blog Network
- 40 colleges and universities
- A Green Global Supply Chain? Yeah, Right. Maybe Next Decade : CIO - Blogs and Discussion
- market uncertainty
- demographic patterns
- a strategic function
- Supply chain talent shortage looms – CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
- great companies
- Thomas Wailgum
- Read more about applications
High school students still see ICT as ‘sitting at a computer all day’: survey
Does encryption really shield you from government's prying eyes?
Solving the skills conundrum – part 1
"How many of the Fortune 500 companies have access to PRISM? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_espionage ..."Australia suspected to have PRISM data: Ludlam
Australia Post’s mail business to lose $200 million this year
Devising a Server Protection Strategy with Trend Micro
With so many Information Technology solutions available to choose from today, many organizations put their trust in the experience, insight and advice of Gartner, and their industry-leading analysts. Trend Micro’s portfolio of solutions meets and exceeds Gartner’s recommendations on how to devise a server protection strategy. Precisely how Trend Micro does it is detailed in this whitepaper. Read now.
Spear-Phishing Email: Most Favored APT Attack Bait
This research paper presents findings on APT-related spear phishing from February to September 2012. We analysed APT-related spear-phishing emails collected throughout this period to understand and mitigate attacks. The information we gathered not only allowed us to obtain specific details on spear phishing but also on targeted attacks. We found, for instance, that 91% of targeted attacks involve spear-phishing emails, reinforcing the belief that spear phishing is a primary means by which APT attackers infiltrate target networks.
ESG Whitepaper: Integrated Computing Platform Survey
Data centres, servers, storage and more are being combined for simplified management and cost savings. In this survey, ESG looks at the current and future trends surrounding today’s integrated computing solutions. Download to find out how organisations are more likely to see commit IT budgets to the purchase of integrated solutions. Read more.