Supply Chain Talent Shortage Demystified

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Mary Vasile: Hi, everyone. Welcome to 3 Minutes in the Loop, the bite-sized video series where you can stock up on the latest supply chain insights, strategies, and news in the time it takes to get your caffeine fix. I’m your host, Mary Vasile, and today’s topic is the increasing supply chain talent shortage. Our special guest is ToolsGroup’s very own general manager of North America, David Barton. David, welcome to 3 Minutes in the Loop.

David Barton: Mary, it’s great to be here and good to see you and participate in this.

Mary Vasile: Great. We’re very pleased to have you. Let’s start with the basics. Why do you think there are continuing talent shortages in the supply chain planning area?

David Barton: We’re in a time of focus on digital transformation, right? That really changes the skillset mix necessary to be an effective planner. Back in the day, it was a big focus on analytics. There’s now a lot of change management that companies have to deal with. That requires communication skills, that requires negotiation skills, and that kind of different skillset is at a priority and limited supply.

David Barton: We ran a survey on digital transformation in supply chain planning. 41% of the respondents said that they’re facing a challenge getting the necessary skillset and it’s affecting their digitization plans.

Mary Vasile: Now, automation is another key issue that’s impacting the talent shortage. Can you explain to our viewers what planning automation has to do with staffing and talent issues?

David Barton: Yeah. It’s a very strategic change, because the effect of modern planning automation tools changed the role of the planner, because many of the kind of tactical activities that they used to be involved in are now produced in the model in the system. Now the shift is on strategic things like, what’s the design of your supply network? Should you change your logistics rooting? Should you change your covenants with your suppliers to change what the constraints are that have to be absorbed into the model? That’s a different focus and one that’s much more strategic and longer-term view on planning. Initially, it’s lower workload but it requires a shift in priorities.

David Barton: In that same survey that I mentioned, 37% of the respondents said they’re going to be investing in digital transformation in the next 12 to 24 months. Addressing this skill shortage and the preparation and change management is very important. We work very closely with our customers on that, and we actually have a service offering that we call Premium Care where we provide advisory support, not just to stand up the technology, but on how to achieve their business outcomes and help them with that shift in mindset for their planners.

Mary Vasile: Thank you for sharing that, David, and thank you for joining us today.

David Barton: My pleasure, and this is an important topic for the market and all of our customers.

Mary Vasile: Thank you for watching. Now you’re in the loop. See you next time.

David Barton: Thank you.