You can have all the right tools in place, have great facilities, and even have desirable products on your warehouse shelves. But if supply chain talent is lacking, then supply chain managers and decision-makers are going to have a difficult time operating at their maximum efficiency, and flawlessly meeting the needs of clients.
The truth of the matter is that a supply chain’s operations are only as good as the people who are behind it. When you have talented, skillful people on your team, you can trust them to get the work done right, every time.
Despite the crucial role that talent plays in supply chain operations, companies across all industries are experiencing issues when it comes to finding and hiring these skillful workers. One survey found that 64% of supply chain professionals are experiencing talent shortages within their organization, particularly in specialized fields.
Whether you’re building out your supply chain team for the first time or looking to expand or improve your current team, there are tried and true ways you can draw in top-tier supply chain talent and hire them for the long haul. And if you’re not already deploying some of these practices, you’re not alone: data tells us that a majority of CEOs think they should be doing more to “attract supply chain talent.”
With that in mind, here’s a key list of tips you can follow to attract, source, and hire top supply chain talent for your operations.
To have top supply chain talent on your team, it’s first important to define what that means. You can start by listing out all the positions on your team: these might include supply chain manager, inventory analyst, logistics coordinator, or transportation planner, for example. Then, you can identify the key skills required to excel in each position. It might be wise to have an inventory analyst who is a data wiz, for example. In general, things like supply chain knowledge, proficiency with forecasting, planning experience, and distribution expertise might all come in handy.
What are some of the other key skills you might look for? This depends on your individual operation, but they can include:
Next, it’s time to see where your team stands today. To hire the best supply chain talent, it’s crucial to identify how your team is performing, where their strengths are, and where their weaknesses are. You can use historical data to see how your warehouse operations are functioning, and where there might be bottlenecks that affect certain employees, for example. You can also conduct assessments of the skills you’ve outlined as being crucial to each role, to see how proficient your current team is.
Understanding the state of your current team can help you understand where top talent will benefit you the most. If your team is already performing strongly in inventory analysis but less proficiently in planning transportation, then you know to look for candidates who can help fill those specific gaps.
Recruiting skilled candidates for supply chain jobs typically requires a multi-faceted approach. You need to tap into channels where top talent is located and ensure you’re finding workers with the skills you need for the job. Your recruitment strategy can include posting your job on online job boards, and optimizing your descriptions with keywords which are relevant for your roles, and which will attract desirable candidates. You can also tap into your professional network, and attend networking events, such as industry conferences and trade shows.
Your recruitment strategy can also include leveraging your current employees’ networks. Encourage your team to refer potential candidates, and if you’d like, offer stipulations for successful referrals. Another excellent place to recruit candidates is social media. Leverage the power of social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to share newly available roles, and to nurture candidate leads.
Lastly, be sure the “careers” section of your company website is well-structured. It should be up-to-date, easy to access, and should make the hiring process simple and effective.
There are diverse ways to hire, but hiring for supply chain skills will likely lead to you finding truly skillful supply chain talent. Skills-based hiring is growing in popularity across the board, and it differs from degree-based hiring. Data reveals that when companies hire based on skills, 92% experience a reduction in mis-hire rates.
Hiring based on skills requires two things: for leaders to understand the skills necessary for a role, and for them to be able to correctly assess the skills of candidates. Hiring for skills starts with the job description; be sure to clearly outline the skills you’d like candidates to have, and what proficiency in those skills looks like in your organization.
The interview process is another place where you can ensure you’re hiring top talent that will really elevate your team. Dovetailing on the previous point, you can use the interview process to gauge the skills and competencies of your candidates, and ensure they align with the supply chain positions you’re hiring for. Your interview process should consist of defined stages, and core questions which help you assess suitability. They can include technical questions specific to supply chain operations. For example, you might ask about what tools or software your candidates have experience using, or how they solved a challenging supply chain problem they encountered.
Aside from technical skills, questions can be tailored to evaluate communication and people skills. You can ask candidates to give examples of how they’ve worked in teams, or how they’ve managed certain supply chain situations.
Keep in mind that top supply chain talent is going to want to work at a world-class organization which is well-run. This means that your organization needs to seem attractive to prospective employees in many different ways.
While candidates care about competitive wages and benefits, that’s not all that matters to them. 46% of job seekers say company culture is an important factor in their job hunt, for example, while 72% of workers say a healthy work-life balance is a crucial factor when deciding on a new job. Being able to demonstrate things like company culture, work-life balance, and compensation could be a key factor in your ability to hire top talent.
What are some other factors that supply chain job seekers might heavily consider? You might want to highlight your organization’s career development opportunities, for example. You can also share success stories and discuss what makes your organization a powerhouse in your industry over your competitors.
If you’re using advanced technology or supply chain systems, these might also be attractive to candidates. Trying to execute supply chain jobs on antiquated or faulty systems can be frustrating for team members. But if your team is using advanced tools that help with demand forecasting, inventory analytics, supplier tracking, and other supply chain functions, these tools might attract more top talent to your team.
At the end of the day, supply chain talent can make or break your operations. By taking steps to attract and hire an all-star team, supply chain managers and other decision-makers can ensure their team is powerful, effective, and optimized.
Having a powerhouse team can make all the difference in your operations. But your talented team can only perform at their peak when you have the right supply chain tools in your arsenal. StockIQ is a supply chain planning suite that gives you everything you need to run efficiently, improve forecast accuracy, and reduce inventory levels. You’ll be able to provide unmatched service to your customers and shippers, easier than ever before.
Let us show you how StockIQ can transform your supply chain operations. Contact us today.