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Infographic: Understand the Supply Chain Talent Gap

Increasingly, supply chain professionals have a place at the corporate table during critical strategic discussions. It's important, then, to make sure that supply chain professionals are fully trained and up for the task of leadership.

Unfortunately, many of today's supply chain professionals haven't been sufficiently trained for the task, a recent study by the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) found. The APQC surveyed 547 professionals for THEaster Consulting. Four out of five respondents said today's business challenges require a different sort of leadership style. However, only one in five said their organization's leadership practices are very effective. Worse, about half said their organizations put little or no emphasis on leadership development.

Elissa Tucker, human capital management research program manager for the APQC said in a press release:

In this study, we found that leadership deficiencies are big and there are many of them, largely because leadership development is underfunded, outdated, and resisted. These findings suggest that organizations may need to adopt a number of cultural changes and revise human resource policies and practices to help alleviate the leadership skills shortage.

According to the study, the largest skills gaps were associated with:

  • Unpredictable events
  • Reduced employee tenure
  • An aging work force
  • The emergence of Generation Y/millennials in the work force

The most successful organizations have embraced a number of shared practices, including developing leadership skills in all employees, developing a leadership competency model, sending promising employees to leadership development programs, and creating a compensation model that rewards performance.

The infographic below outlines some of the study's other findings. What has been your experience in this area? How does your organization measure up in terms of its leadership development?

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23 comments on “Infographic: Understand the Supply Chain Talent Gap

  1. Eldredge
    March 21, 2014

    Leadership development won't happen unless the existing leadership places a priority on it. To do that, they first need to have a clear understanding of the specific leadership qualities needed for their organization to succeed. It is not a small task, which may be the main reason that it is so lacking.

  2. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 22, 2014

    @Rich, i know from past conversations this is a pet peeve of yours… and at the risk of starting a raging debate, i'll chime in. This says to me, not that there are not enough people, but that we aren't focusing on the right skills. Smart organizations provide skill building opportunities for everyone. In my reading, it seems the most successful organizations have mentoring and learning happening organically, not just through official programs and such.

  3. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 22, 2014

    @Eldredge, a friend of mine always says “A level people hire A level people. B level people hire C level people.” What he's getting at is that true leaders want to hire people who are excellent themselves, while those who aren't so great often want to hire people who are not going to show them up. Excellence at the top begets excellence througout the organization. Fear and mediocrity breed the same.

  4. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 22, 2014

    I won't argue with you there… there is a real and present wage gap. I hope as SC pros make a showing as a strategic advantage in the organization, that the gap will lessen. I'm an optimist.

  5. Eldredge
    March 22, 2014

    @Hailey – your friend is right. And it's not hard to figure out which approach is best for the organization.

  6. Williamson
    March 24, 2014

    Interesting information from the info-graph. I work for McGladrey and there's a very informative whitepaper on our website that readers of this article will be interested in. @ Count, manage and move: Warehouse inventory control strategies http://bit.ly/1kgYXWo

  7. Taimoor Zubar
    March 24, 2014

    “How does your organization measure up in terms of its leadership development?”

    @Hailey: I don't think there's really a way one can assess how strong a leadership does a company have. You could guage it by the financial performance but that may not be solely because of good leadership. From what I've seen, companies measure the leadership potential by the number of leadership-based trainings they've made their senior managers take over the years. I don't really agree with this form of measurement though.

  8. Taimoor Zubar
    March 24, 2014

    “Excellence at the top begets excellence througout the organization. Fear and mediocrity breed the same.”

    @Hailey: I agree with this but I don't think having an excellent leadership at the top can guarantee that excellence will prevail in the organization. I think besides leadership what you also need is a very strong system to capture the organizational knowledge from the leadership and make it trickle down to lower levels.

  9. Taimoor Zubar
    March 24, 2014

    “Even though population keeps getting bigger, with more and more people, and we have more schools than ever before, we have that stinking talent gap”

    @Rich: I think the talent gap exists because there'll always be a lag between demand and supply of talent in certain areas. Normally, as soon as demand for a new area of expertise springs up, people look to fulfill the jobs but it takes a while for them to know about it and to acquire the skills. You can never ignore the lag, I believe.

  10. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 25, 2014

    @TaimoorZ, i agree with you that forcing people to sit through trainings is not a great measure of leadership. It may be that you could measure how many people move through the leadership ranks to see if there's a lot of development and mentorship. You could also look at whether people stay in the organization, since people usually want to stick with great leaders. Do you have other measurements that come to mind?

  11. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 25, 2014

    @TaimoorZ, i agree that excellent leadership doesn't guarantee excellence. However, poor leadership will never beget excellence. I'd say that strong leadership is a great place to start.

  12. Anand
    March 25, 2014

    I think the organisations need to revise not only their HR policies but also floor management policies. Why? Because in a group, it is the management/supervising officer that checks for any incompetency in the task force. If such an incompetency in leadership qualities is found then the entire work group has to o under rigorous training that will help honing their leadership skills. Mostly this doesn't happen either because of little to no communication or working in a comfort zone.

  13. Anand
    March 25, 2014

    @Rich: I don't follow. Most people cannot have a better paying job because they are simply not qualified enough to have it. Why would companies waste their money on an employee who cannot take responsibilities like he promised to?

  14. Anand
    March 25, 2014

    @Hailey: I concur. What you say is the general trend, and it won't change any time soon. However, getting into the top corporations require some leadership skills that they have to show not only on the resume but also on the field. 

  15. Anand
    March 25, 2014

    @Hailey: I think the 6th stage is going to be about increasing the quality of customer-manufacturer relations, because if the end user relations with the manufacturer isn't good(like what kind of aftermarket services the manufacturer provides), the customers won't be moved by the innovation.

  16. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 25, 2014

    @anandvy, you said: “I think the 6th stage is going to be about increasing the quality of customer-manufacturer relations,”

    THis certianly may be where things are going. Certainly, the consumer is more powerful than ever before–and organizations are scrambling to figure out how to harness that power.

  17. Eldredge
    March 27, 2014

    According to the study, the largest skills gaps were associated with:

    • Unpredictable events
    • Reduced employee tenure
    • An aging work force
    • The emergence of Generation Y/millennials in the work force

    Feels like some cotradiction in this list. I can understand 'reduced employee tenure' and 'an aging work force' if I add more frequent job changes to the mix. But 'an aging work force' and 'generation Y/millenials' seems like contradictory reasons.

  18. Taimoor Zubar
    March 28, 2014

    “Do you have other measurements that come to mind?”

    @Hailey: One way would be to look at the degree to which your employees are fond of the senior management and feel close to them. Good leaders are always able to connect with their followers and instill a sense of belongingness amongst the latter. This can be done through a survey in the organization.

  19. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 28, 2014

    @Williamson, thanks for the link. do you think that these strategies translate across industry? ?What are the best things that electronics OEMs can learn from these fashion and home furnishing companies?

  20. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 28, 2014

    @Eldredge, i think that the newest generation is coming in with new skills, some very useful, but also missing some of the old school skills. They want to use technology, analytics, big data, etc. and many organizations are behind in implementing that… it's still a gap.

  21. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 28, 2014

    @TaimoorZ, personal loyalty is huge…and hugely underestimated. Those personal connections are stronger than the bond with an organization for sure. The last two jobs I took were both about knowing the people that I would be working with–and liking them a whole lot. It was a top motivator for me. People who are willing to leverage those personal connections to bring good people into the organization are invaluable too.

  22. Eldredge
    March 28, 2014

    @Hailey – Probably so. But then, in order to figure out how to address skill gaps, organizations need to define what skills are of value. Categorizing by demographic group won't fo much good without more details.

  23. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    March 31, 2014

    @Eldredge, i guess that's why this topic always drives so much conversation: it's a hugely complex issue without any easy answers. 🙂

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