Our upcoming SCRC meeting (April 30-May 1 in Raleigh, NC) is one that I am sure will peak a lot of interest in today’s supply chain professional. The theme of this meeting focuses a topic that is at the top of almost every company I speak with today – supply chain talent management. As organizations seek to transform their procurement, operations, and logistical capabilities in the supply chain, there is widespread recognition that one of the most important ingredients in this equation is “having the right people on the bus”, as Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great” noted.
This is particularly true in all areas of the supply chain. A recent Hackett Group study found that supply chain management functions in organizations polled are working concurrently on nearly 10 initiatives deemed as “critical” or “strategic” to the enterprise. As such, people with Project/Program management skills, solid business acumen, analytical capabilities, and an ability to manage relationships are in short supply. To drive any transformation initiative, it is imperative that companies keep their staff engaged in those areas that are resource intensive and value-added in nature. This means not only retaining the people who are key in leading these initiatives, but also building a pipeline of talent that will fill the emerging gaps in capabilities that are starting to appear in the organization. Establishing the right mix of new talent, seasoned veterans, and mid-career hires is a delicate balancing act that must be aligned with the right HR strategies to support this effort.
But what kind of people are needed? When I talk to supply chain managers, the list I get varies and grows every time we have the conversation. Some of the skills I hear companies are looking for in supply chain managers includes:
•Ability to work in teams
•Excel spreadsheet proficient
•Cost modeling and managerial accounting
•Decision support tools
•Build internal network
•“Soft skills” to influence •
•Technical & Engineering proficiency
•And the list goes on…..
In short, we want Supply Chain Superheroes – who can do it ALL!
The risks of not having a well-developed strategic resource plan are significant. We need to be thinking about not only “what new positions do we need to recruit for”, but also “what positions will we need to be recruiting for given our current growth trajectory, and different levels of attrition that are bound to occur?” The upcoming meeting them “Managing the Talent Supply Chain” will explore some of the key issues in this space and bring to bear different insights on the talent management challenge from a number of industry experts. We have encouraged many of our SCRC partner members to invite their colleagues from Human Resources who may wish to learn more in this space as well.
Some of the questions that we expect to cover at the meeting include:
- What types of talent forecasting tools are organizations applying to build a view on future talent needs and requirements?
- What is the role of HR and supply chain line managers in creating talent management programs that foster learning and development, including elements such as mentoring, rotational programs, employee career planning, and training and development?
- What is the right mix of internal recruitment, university hires, succession planning and mid-career hires are most productive to fill new positions?
With speakers from BP, Duke Energy, Prestige Economics, and Caterpillar all talking on the subject of talent management in supply chains, I am sure we will hear some great insights!