Back in the day, employees who couldn't cut it in manufacturing went into warehousing, but that's not true anymore, according to a panel at the CSCMP Edge conference in Nashville, Tennessee, today.
"Supply chain's cool now," Mike Orr, the senior vice president for operations and logistics at Genuine Parts Co.—the parent company of NAPA Auto Parts—told the audience at a breakout session. "There's a lot going on with new techniques, new tools, and high-speed, complex distribution."
Now that supply chain managers are getting a chance to recruit the best young graduates, they must turn their attention to a new challenge and determine the best way to train those new employees, according to the panelists at the session, titled "Supply Chain Talent of the Future: Are You Ready?"
Whereas past generations of leaders were encouraged to start behind the counter of a retail store or behind the wheel of a truck and then work their way up the ladder, the latest wave of supply chain pros are expected to be techno-savvy the day they arrive on the job, with the ability to handle tasks and technologies such as optimization, network analysis, robotics, and the digital supply chain, the panel said.
In addition, demand for those highly trained workers is only expected to grow. As a demographic wave of baby boomers is forecast to retire over the next five years, it will drain 25 percent of the industry's talent base, Orr said.