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Preventing a talent gap in supply chain management

When you hear about skills shortages and talent gaps, the discussion tends to surround STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — professions. However, a new concern also is breaking through. 

Supply chain management has become a far more complex and skill-demanding ordeal for businesses in a wealth of industries operating in virtually every location around the globe. This has been driven by the fact that commodities markets, global trade and regional economic conditions have been volatile at best, and show no signs of simplifying or stabilizing anytime soon, meaning that managers of the supply chain have a lot more variables to worry about today than in the past. 

Thankfully, it appears as though many businesses, including those operating within the manufacturing sector, are working to nip this problem in the bud by providing their own types of training for supply chain managers to digest. After all, the greatest weapon in the fight against any talent gap is increased investment from the private sector in training and development, and this medicine appears to be more commonly embraced in the modern era. 

Automotive excellence

Manufacturing Business Technology magazine recently reported that a new study from DHL revealed automotive giants are likely to face what it calls a "perfect storm" that will wreak havoc on supply chains from around the globe. According to the study, supply chain management professionals, specifically those looking to get a job at an automotive manufacturing firm, already are few and far between, and this problem is expected to become more complex in the near future. 

The report pointed out that DHL has urged automotive firms to consider deploying more robust training internally to combat the problem, and that this will be especially important given that the industry itself is evolving and becoming more reliant upon emerging markets and complex development. In a sense, younger, newer professionals will not be the only ones in need of increased training and development, as new demands mean a greater need for continuous education among even the most tenured supply chain managers. 

Other businesses in same boat

The Institute for Supply Management recently released a statement that urged all businesses to become more aggressive in their procurement of skilled professionals who can handle more complex and volatile situations. 

"In a low-growth global economy, companies' competitive advantage often comes down to the speed and agility of their supply chains," Institute CEO Thomas Derry said in the statement. "Supply chain managers' level of professional mastery has a direct bearing on the contributions they make to their constituencies."

When a company does not have tight control over its supply chain, especially from a management and reporting perspective, the chances of achieving consistent operational success will be a bit lower. What's more, customers might be less likely to trust a brand when it has become clear that the firm is not capable of meeting demands in a timely and efficient fashion. 

"With so much at stake, today's supply chain management professionals have the opportunity to make a profound difference to their organizations," Derry added. "The more they become masters of their craft, the larger the contribution they can make. We feel so strongly about this that ISM is now publishing global standards of excellence for the industry."

If investing in training is not in the cards for your firm, leveraging the support of a supply chain management service provider will be the right choice. 

This article originally appeared in The Strategic Sourceror. 

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