2021 has been a year for the supply chain record book—and not always in the most positive ways. We continue to work through pandemic-related disruptions: port bottlenecks, supplier delays, truck-part shortages, and a host of other challenges. Amid this record-breaking chaos stand the humble supply chain professionals who energetically and creatively do whatever it takes to meet demand. Heaven knows that they must be exhausted and on the verge of burnout by now.
As we look toward the new year, it is very important to recognize and reward these true pros for their efforts to keep the economy moving forward. Frequently saying those two critical words “thank you” is a start but not nearly enough to sustain them through the holiday season and into the challenges that await in 2022. It is imperative to reward them with time and professional growth opportunities.
Company leaders need to give their supply chain professionals the gift of time. Whether it is a long postponed and overdue vacation, a few days off with no mobile phone or email contact, or just an appreciation dinner party, efforts must be made to help frontline directors, managers, and supervisors decompress and rejuvenate a bit. Otherwise, chronic turnover will become an unwelcome trend in our field.
It is also vital to demonstrate a commitment to professional development. That can be a difficult proposition when most supply chain professionals do not have a moment to catch their breath and scarce resources are being channeled to automation and new technology. However, doing nothing will lead to talent stagnation, frustration, and resignations.
The good news is that most companies recognize the importance of talent development and leadership team building. The bad news is that it typically is a future priority. Case in point, the survey results from each of the three Logistics 2030 studies (conducted by Auburn University’s Center for Supply Chain Innovation in partnership with CSCMP, NASSTRAC, and Agile Business Media) highlight major opportunities to boost develop talent initiatives:
I have to ask, why wait? It’s not that difficult to get started. Companies don’t have to build up in-house resources. Work with the supply chain faculty at your favorite university to create online and in-person training programs. Become a CSCMP corporate member to provide your team with a wealth of resources and access to educational events on timely topics. Send people to local CSCMP roundtable meetings and the EDGE Conference to learn from experts in other industries. Provide financial sponsorship for team members to pursue SCPro certification or advanced university education. The options are many, and the legitimate excuses for not moving forward are few.