Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

pipeline planningOur recent article on Opportunities in Your Supply Chain listed “Developing Supply Chain Talent” as a major opportunity. An article by Laura Cecere included a very interesting research study on “Ease or Difficulty of Filling Supply Chain Positions”. Outside of the managerial ranks (always hardest anyway), the most difficult are: Demand Planner; Network Planning Analyst; Supply Planner. Yes, it represents “traditional SCM” (EDI and Control Towers are not in the study).

A very meaningful quote from Laura tells how critical staffing is to the supply chain: “differences between a leader and laggard boil down to five things: supply chain leadership, talent management, active design of the supply chain, strong horizontal processes, and being good at supply chain planning.”

She has also published an in-depth look at staffing: “Supply Chain Talent – A Broken Link in the Supply Chain”. Here she states that from a recent study that only one in three companies today thinks that they are managing supply chain talent effectively.

Laura points out that supply planning is at the heart of the problem. Yes, there is a shortage of mid-management supply chain talent and the toughest to fill are supply chain planners. These folks need a good understanding of the business (sounds like EDI). Loss of a great planner can hurt.

She continues: “Job satisfaction for supply chain planners is low. As a result, companies are churning planners—they are moving from one company to another. Due to the unique skill mix, it is difficult to recruit supply chain planners. Which makes me wonder, if we gave our supply chain planners more good old-fashioned love, would we have fewer open positions? And, if the position was more desirable, would the job have higher satisfaction causing others within the company to want to do the job more readily?” For a different take on filling these spaces, have a look at another of our posts about qualifications for supply chain jobs here.

Laura has called on her experience to list the biggest obstacles supply planners have:

  • Changing Priorities
  • Rewarding the Urgent. No Time for the Important.
  • Giving Planners Time to Plan  
  • Making Their Positions Meaningful 
  • Giving Planners Technologies That Are Easy to Use 
  • Creating the Right Work Environment 
  • Clarity of Career Paths

Interesting to see that a “Network Planning Analyst” position is included. This position has some interesting and important keywords like “optimization”. Why do I think some of those in this position worked in IT before we really saw SCM emerge? Here's a quote from someone who has apparently gone through the transition:
My job is to analyze the movement of goods through the supply pipeline, monitor current processes, identify and analyze gaps, and develop process improvements. I am expected to use my skills in database management and spreadsheet analysis to help the organization increase cash flows, inventory turns, our customers’ satisfaction, and employee productivity.”

Supply chain talent and the role of supply chain planning are topics that need to be elevated.




Last modified on Tuesday, 09 September 2014
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