Supply Chain and Logistics is a huge industry. It is the core of other industries like procurement, e-commerce, third-party logistics, and a lot more to mention. The industry runs in a very constructed business model, but aside from that; what really drives supply chain and logistics? Is it the products, the services or simply the name of the industry? Or how about finding the right talent?
With our podcast, Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics, we were able to talk to decision makers and C-level executives working in the industry. We tackled different topics in connection with Supply Chain and their specialization. One topic we were able to walk into is finding the right talent. Where to find them and how they can grow into a much better version of themselves.
Talent attraction is an essential element in any industry. Working with the right people, who are dedicated, and can understand how the industry run is essential. Not only in the latter but all the industries that are present.
Supply chain is a very discrete industry, with many sub-industries under its radar. As a result, having the right talent or even finding them has always been subtle and chosen carefully.
When asked if there is enough supply chain talent in Asia, Didier Chenneveau, Expert Associate Partner of Mckinsey & Company answered, “The obvious answer is no. There’s not enough talent.”
Finding the right talent has become more and more difficult and complicated. New tools have continuously emerged in the industry. As a result, the qualification has now become more specific. For the last three years, the requirements for supply chain and logistics professional has changed. It goes to show that there is a crisis in terms of looking for talents in the industry. What more looking for the “right talent?”
Didier stated that though there’s a much higher number of Supply Chain Professional in Singapore. Such luck isn’t visible in other Asian countries, like China and Indonesia. Many factors have affected this result.
The educational system of one country has a huge impact on discovering talent with expertise in line with the field of Supply Chain and Logistics. Another factor includes the attractiveness of the field- be it with study or development. Professionals often look for something that can help them hone their skills and knowledge.
The continued growth of the demand has shared the same impact as the latter. Nonetheless, current professionals can turn the table around by giving extra effort to the work. By training new talents, the development of the industry can expand by tenfold. Like any other industry, supply chain and logistics is a continuous learning process.
Supply chain is a fast-moving industry. What may have been relevant now may not be for the next five to ten years. Everything changes rapidly, especially with technology just around the corner.
As the industry evolves, the qualification of professionals also changes. Right now, just giving the client something to think about isn’t enough. Without understanding the basic concept of what the industry does and what it is really about, talents will always be insufficient. It is also very important to be updated with the latest technology trend that would benefit supply chain.
Through the course of supply chain and logistics, there are a few qualifications that stay intact. Like, a wide understanding of analytics, computer proficiency, a good understanding of the big computer technology, great communication skills, and presentation skills. The power of persuasion and charisma is very critical in Supply Chain.
“In Supply Chain, Planning and Logistics, the key is life-long learning and continuous training.”
Didier Chenneveau, Expert Associate Partner of Mckinsey & Company
Even professionals need to continue learning. Like Didier said, “Even I, with 25 years of experience behind me, I’m still spending endless hours upgrading myself, updating myself, reading, following online courses because we talked about blockchain a year ago I did not know what it was.”
Increasing Demand for Supply Chain and Logistics Professionals
The number of college graduates who specializes in the field is fleeting. On the other hand, the demand for talents in the industry is changing. It is higher than before. A few years from now, it is speculated that a lot of professionals in supply chain and logistics are going to retire. Leaving the industry with new blood and baby boomers.
As early as now, there are organizations who already started training new talents. The problem is there isn’t much to train. For the past years, it has become a growing problem in the industry. With lesser graduates in the field, going out of universities.
Many companies are slowly recognizing the importance of supply chain. Now that it has come to the surface. The demand for talent is unbelievably high. And it is not going down any time soon.
Younger Talent in the Industry
There is a reason why most of the talents in supply chain and logistics are younger than usual. In one of our podcast episode with Charles Brewer, former CEO of DHL E-commerce, he stated, “One good thing is that most of the younger population that’s coming through and looking for jobs see the e-commerce sector as pretty exciting.”
Younger minds see challenge exciting. It triggers them to do better, to work more. They take the competition seriously and it drives their passion into the next level.
Having the brightest minds that just came out of Universities is very exciting according to Charles. They have the urgency to learn and prove that they are good additions to the industry, much more to society. They have the eagerness and energy to learn and discover new information. That makes them perfect for the role.
Charles added, “We want people with the attitude and the characteristics of star-top, the energy, the drive, the agility, the laissez-faire approach to what I wear to work, whatever else.”
When describing talent attraction in the industry, one word is on top of the head of the ones who have experience with it, challenge. It is exciting but at the same time, it is a very challenging job.
Finding the right talent is like a chain reaction, find a great professional right for your business and let them build a team with equally great people. A challenge within one.
Despite all of it, once the team is finally fulfilled, and the role expectation is met, the end result will be worth all the blood and sweat poured in finding the right talent. Then followed by great opportunities.
The main problem in the industry is the decreasing number of talents interested in the field. The real question now is what will organizations do to attract the best talent that is out there.
Talents nowadays have recognized the importance of career development. They are now more careful about choosing their career path. Next to salary, what they are really looking for is their personal growth. Will this organization help me climb up the leadership ladder? Or will it just pull me down? Those questions are always on their mind.
Training is very important for every professional. Whether they can practice their profession or not is a top priority. Attracting talents to enter an organization has always been a trending topic in all kind of industries.
Since there are only a few graduates focusing on the field, it is a good idea to partner with universities. From on-the-job training to employment. Organizations will easily identify the right talent for them. Those who have potentials can be trained and the other given the chance to become professionals. The number of those who have a specialty in the field is decreasing. Sooner or later, organizations will be fighting over these talents.
They typically choose an organization where they think is a good training ground and has an excellent developmental program.
In order to have a team that will support you now and, in the future, you must make sure to stick to your original intention. Because not everyone is willing to stay in a company who doesn’t value consistency. That is where talent retention comes in the picture.
“When you hire somebody, when you bring somebody into your organization, make sure you create a great experience.”
Charles Brewer, former CEO of DHL E-commerce
Talent Retention is Important
Attracting talent is important and challenging at the same time. But what’s more challenging is having talents to stay in your organization. People tend to look for development. They want their career to progress. And If they don’t see it there, they go looking for a place where the latter is evident.
Organizations always want new blood in their team. There are tendencies that they neglect those who are in front of them. During our interview with Marco Civardi, Area Managing Director (Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar & Laos) of A.P. Moller – Maersk, when asked about the talent he said, “I would say, before looking and defining talent, equally important is to retain talent because it’s a very hot job in the market. People, sometimes they decide to go overseas to study or they decide to work in a family business. Just a normal evolution of the economy. Obviously, we cannot stop them. So, retention is as important as an attraction, I would say.”
Finding the right talent isn’t just about attracting new ones. There are instances that the one you are looking for is right in front of your eyes. They just need to be trained; to be groomed in a much better version of themselves.
There should always be room for new blood but always keep the balance of retention and attraction. In supply chain and logistics, it is always better to look at every element.
“I think 80% of a position feel internally is a good ambition level because you need to have some space for some fresh blood from outside because we need all the elements of diversification in your team as well in terms of our perspective. But that’s what we’re working on. And I think the progress has been quite positive over the last few weeks. So, we take out the talent commission by trying to create from within.” Marco stated.
What makes up a talent? Last Remark
Talent is not all about the intelligence, the capability. It is important, but it’s not everything. Identifying the right talent is like finding the right partner. There is a specific quality an organization is looking for. Once they see it, they know it. It may not always be the way they expect but the result is always satisfying.
Mostly they look at someone who is dedicated, knowledgeable and has the right skill to keep up with the industry. Above all, they look for someone who is willing to stay and keep with the changes.
“Focus on cognitive skills, critical thinking and a mixture between social and emotional skills, such as communication and the ability to persuade and create empathy.”
Marco Civardi, Area Managing Director (Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar & Laos) of
A.P. Moller – Maersk
It is a mutual thing about the organization and talent. The organization retains the talent and the talent proves they are right for the organization.
To find the right talent, one needs to have the courage to seek for them. Having equity to all talents, may they be the existing or the new ones, is one factor that will make them stay.