Supply chain management in 2015 demands not only technical skill, but also business acumen, a strategic mind and leadership qualities. For many senior supply chain leaders and their people development partners, this set of requirements poses huge challenges in terms of finding and developing talent. In addition, the playing field continues to shift in terms of where to find talent geographically, demographically and in terms of education or functional background. This event is the first in the world dedicated exclusively to the task of unbundling the supply chain talent management problem.
There are three essential people challenges facing supply chain today:
1. The influx of generation Y talent at the front end of the pipeline. This group, also known as “millennials”, was born and raised on the internet and as such views work very differently from their predecessors. Their strengths with quick team building, virtual work formats and massive data are at least partially offset by problems with attention span, patience and thoroughness. Talent strategies in today’s supply chain organization must comprehend these differences and exploit them for greater operational agility.
2. The globalization of supply chain teams and the imperative to strike the right balance between centrally determined process standards and local ways. Emerging markets continue to dominate many business’ growth strategies which generally requires cultural sensitivity, knowledge and relationships. Local talent is key to this approach, but without some kind of organizational strategy, local talent can easily go wrong. Poor retention, sloppy compliance and lost market intelligence are all failings of a poor strategy for managing global talent.
3. Leaders must address the often forgotten problem of transferring knowledge from team members who are close to retirement. Supply chain management comprises huge amounts of tribal knowledge about plants, suppliers, and information systems that is frequently locked in the heads of 50-60 year olds who’ve been doing the job for ages. Rising talent may bring new skills and perspectives, but without grounding in the way things really work, these future leaders might fail before they start. People strategies that consciously manage knowledge transfer from the past to the future are vital to maintain the institutional learning curve.