Developing the right supply chain talent strategies is more crucial than ever and should be a focal point for chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) nationwide, according to research and advisory firm Gartner Inc.
Gartner analysts will discuss four strategies for developing supply chain professionals at its virtual Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo Americas next month, focusing on ways CSCOs can create a workforce with the skills to succeed in an increasingly complex, digital supply chain.
“Despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies are moving forward with their digital objectives or even accelerate the automation of their supply chain,” Caroline Chumakov, principal analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice, said in a statement Wednesday. “This means that the war for talent with skills in fields such as machine learning and artificial intelligence will continue. Rather than fighting to compete, many CSCOs will look to make do with what they have and work to improve the digital dexterity and data literacy of their existing workforce.”
The four strategies focus on work design, digital capabilities, network-driven development, and experiential learning, Chumakov explained. The first involves simplifying complex workflows associated with supply chain functions. This means eliminating less essential workflow tasks and competency requirements, and simplifying or consolidating systems and tools.
“When we design work to be simple and, thus, reduce complex expectations of talent, it will be easier to plug employees into work throughout the organization,” Chumakov said.
The second strategy requires developing new technical skills and competencies among staff—something just 27% of supply chain leaders say they are up to par on, according to Gartner data.
“If CSCOs want to keep up with their companies’ digital ambitions they need to make sure that their employees are properly trained to work in a digital environment,” Chumakov said. “This includes skills in data literacy, but also general digital dexterity competencies. Employees have to be willing and comfortable to take on new roles and work iteratively with unclear requirements.”
The third strategy—network-driven development—places an emphasis on “connector managers” who can improve organizational performance by connecting with others and accessing the wealth of knowledge that exists across their business network.
“Connector managers will improve connectivity both within specific teams as well as across teams—allowing for opportunities to break down silos, meaningfully develop employees, and even allow for greater career visibility,” Chumakov also said.
Finally, focusing on “experiential learning” can best prepare workers to succeed in an increasingly complex, digital environment.
“For more complex capabilities, such as competencies under digital dexterity, 70% of learning should be experiential–on the job development through interventions like learning-based career paths, stretch assignments, and action learning groups. Only 10% is formal training. The remaining 20% of learning should be focused on relationship-based learning via peer interactions and coaching,” accordingto Chumakov.
The virtual Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo Americas takes place November 3-5.