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How Supply Chains Have Transformed, and What Talent Needs to do to Keep Up

For decades, one of the defining characteristics of supply chain management was data driven decision making and a focus on historical patterns of demand. With the coronavirus pandemic uprooting every stage of supply chains worldwide since December, manufacturing plants and warehouses shut down for weeks or months, shipping became more challenging, products experienced rapid fluctuation of demand, and certain key elements experienced unforeseen shortages. This unprecedented market has turned the global supply chain on its head with no prevalent historical data to predict upcoming trends.  

While each role within a supply chain are interconnected, there are three main groups of talent being impacted. Below, we’re sharing how each has been impacted, the top challenges they are faced with, and how they can adapt.  

 

Procurement 

Procurement professionals primarily source and purchasmaterials and are responsible for making sure their supply chain is efficient and cost-effective. Now, with shortages of certain raw materials such as aluminum and lumber, and a significant backup in shipping and production, procurement teams are faced with shifting prices and potentially unreliable distributors.  

Procurement professionals must now be especially skilled in negotiation, resourceful and willing to be persistent. Their thoroughness in vetting suppliers and finding the best prices will be essential for a supply chain’s profitability and reliability. Procurements teams may need to further diversify their suppliers and identify alternative sources, as available raw materials may become increasingly limited 

For further information on preparing procurement teams for changes in the market following COVID-19, view this webinar from Negometrix or this Coursera class on managing supply chain disruptions.  

 

Planning 

Planning roles such as supply planning, sales & operations planning, and business analysts are key players in forecasting demand trends.  Typically, they help to predict what quantities of each product and raw material are needed to meet upcoming demand. With the outbreak of the coronavirus bringing many manufacturing plants to a halt just as there was a sudden surge in demand for products such as packaged foods, cleaning materials and technology, the scales have suddenly turned.  

Supply chain planning teams typically analyze historical data to help predict trends utilizing technologies such as Tableau or SQL, but now, without applicable historical data, planning teams must adaptThese teams must be proactive and agile, given the rapidly changing marketThey must adapt and edit their forecasts based on critical thinking and predict demand bconsidering current events as well as health professionals and industry leaders’ predictions of what’s to come. 

If hiring additional supply chain planning professionals, consider talent who has experience editing demand forecasts and adapting to a changing market. Talent that is forward thinking and skilled in predictive analytics are highly in demand. For resources to help upskill your current planning team, access our supply chain skill building resources here 

 

Logistics 

Logistics professionals are often the ones on the ground either physically moving materials or managing the movement and distribution of product. Especially during the mandatory stay-at-home orders, but since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been an increase in online orders and a massive increase in demand for food, cleaning products and technology devices. This has drastically increased the workload placed on logistic professionals 

This group is not only facing long workdays and increased demand, but also adapting to stringent safety precautionsLogistics professionals today must be well organized, strategic and skilled communicators in order to adhere to new PPE and social distancing policies while working as a team to meet the increased demand.  

While logistics teams are working around the clock to fulfill an influx of orders, additional temporary or part time help may be needed. Consider these 7 steps to recruit and onboard temporary supply chain talent during the pandemic.  

 

The supply chain today has been one of the most heavily impacted sectors by the pandemic and top talent is needed to adapt along with the industry. If you’re looking for hard working and intelligent supply chain professionals, let us help.  

 

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