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Building A Digital Supply Chain Workforce For The Future

Digital Supply Chain July 15, 2021

Building A Digital Supply Chain Workforce For The Future
Thomas C

Content Developer

Contributors

Sandesh Khandelwal
Sandesh Khandelwal

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Recent events such as the pandemic & the Suez canal blockade have exposed the severe vulnerabilities in Supply Chain. Seemingly overnight, warehouses were thrown into disarray, & logistics departments, though somewhat resilient, encountered a never-before-seen chaotic few weeks. As disruptive events become more frequent, enterprises are eager to augment their supply chain talent pool with next-generation skills to future-proof their workforce & fight disruption with technology.

Before we explore why building a workforce is the solution, let’s cover some of the current inadequacies plaguing the supply chain sector.

Flaws in Supply Chain 2021

Slow pace of digital transformation: It is quite surprising to see a sector that is at the core of so many key industrial processes to be so laggardly in adopting modern technology.

Industry reports note that of the ~$3 Tn set aside for digital transformation activities by 2023, a significant portion is earmarked for building a digital supply chain. However, progress has been slow & stubborn, mainly due to the issue of scale.

While small pilots have been successful, companies are unable to replicate them at scale since they lack the digital talent to make the push.

Traditional Inventory Management is holding you back: While traditional inventory management practices excel at demand forecasting, ordering quality processes & maintaining stock safety levels, they woefully fall short on delivering actionable insights into the inventory management process.

These insights can be anything from identifying ideal distribution centers to figuring out optimal SKU bundles for a location-specific store, managing on-shelf availability, or identifying problems that occur right before the ordering process etc.

They are unable to do this because they are not connected to a continuously updating stream of live data on inventory parameters. The result is the birth of a new breed of inventory management solutions that keep data at the center of all their decisions. However, to work with these, companies must turn to new-age talent.

Your Business Continuity Plan keeps breaking: It is no secret that the supply chain sector is the most resilient when it comes to facing disruptions. And for a good reason. However, recent events are exposing certain chinks in the armor that is causing stakeholders to rethink their continuity plans.

The recent supply chain blockade thanks to the Suez Canal cost the global economy $9.6Bn per day, and the ripple effects will continue well into 2021.

But how can technology, and the right talent, help prevent such a crisis? Read on to find out.

Key Trends Driving the Future of Supply Chain – 2021 & Beyond

Anticipating future disruptions, organizations are reimagining their traditional supply chain strategies by leveraging New Age digital technologies.

AI-powered automation will leverage real-time data & IoT to make the supply chain efficient, safe, reliable & connected. When paired with a hybrid workflow model that will see workers & robots on warehouse floors, the returns look promising indeed.

We have identified few key technologies that the future workforce of the Supply chain will rely heavily on. These are the areas where stakeholders must invest greatly to find digital skills in.

  • Blockchain
  • Digital Supply chain twins
  • Supply Chain As A Service
  • Cloud Adoption
  • AI & IoT Usage
  • Robotics & Automation

For example, in the Suez Canal example quoted above, a What-If scenario analysis powered by Digital Twin technology could’ve avoided the situation. As container ships continue growing in size, this type of scenario analysis will become a necessity soon.

Which brings us the main problem at hand – a lack of supply chain talent proficient in the above-mentioned new-age skills.

Building New-Age Talent for your Digital Supply Chain

To meet the high demand of advanced digital Supply chain job roles, organizations need to hire digital talent or reskill existing supply chain talent.

Few of these new-age roles, such as Supply Chain Analyst, Supply Chain Engineer & Data Scientist – Supply Chain can be hired directly from a readily available talent pool.

Supply Chain Analyst
However, there exists a few emerging job roles for which direct hiring is not the right strategy. These include job roles such as:

  • Digital Supply Chain Manager
  • Supply Chain Automation Consultant
  • Configuration Analyst
  • Supply Chain Management Specialist, etc.

For these roles, talent stakeholders can easily fulfill the demand by employing reskilling/upskilling strategies.

Why reskilling? Because, right at the outset, there is a talent shortage in these roles that cannot be filled from hiring new hires. The technical & soft skills that these job roles demand are not readily available in the current pool. Besides, reskilling offers your 20-50% cost savings in talent acquisition over external hiring.

Another crucial point to consider is that the digitalization of Supply chain processes is disrupting many traditional job roles and making their existing skills redundant. It makes sense to reskill/upskill these redundant job roles rather than undertake the cost and time-intensive hiring exercise.

With Digital supply chain growing at CAGR of ~12.7% for next 5 years. Traditional jobs such as Purchasing Manager, Procurement Manager & Planning analyst will be replaced by new roles such as Supply Chain Automation Manager, Digital Supply Specialist etc.

Of these, we have chosen to highlight how a reskilling journey can help stakeholders meet the demands for Digital Supply Chain Manager role- a role that is becoming increasingly crucial as key players incorporate more digital solutions into their workings.

Below, we have mapped the journey of a ‘Supply Chain Analyst’ who can be upskilled into ‘Digital Supply Chain Manager’ role with Data Analytics, visualization and Project Management skillsets.

To summarize, our methodology includes:

  • Skill identification of high demand job roles
  • Analysis of feasible transitions based on relevant reskilling parameters
  • Suitable learning module selection to bridge the skill gaps
  • Skill gap analysis between the starting and desired role

With Draup’s proprietary AI-powered reskilling/upskilling solutions, supply chain companies can future-proof their workforce and ensure that the organization stays ahead of evolving workforce trends. Leverage Draup to drive company-wide reskilling initiatives and enable your employees to adapt to changing technology needs.

Lead the future with talent intelligence. Get in touch with us today.