May, 2016

Hiring and Retaining the New Supply Chain Workforce

Hiring and Retaining the New Supply Chain Workforce

Skills requirements for the supply chain workforce are changing fast, driven mainly by the growth in globalisation and the technology advances which will continue to transform the way supply chains operate. Moreover, tribal knowledge; the inherent wisdom acquired and held by veteran employees, is under threat as industries feel the effect of an aging workforce. As recently revealed in Logistics Bureau’s 2015 Australian Supply Chain Report, the logistics and warehousing sector fields a workforce comprising nearly 40% of employees over 45 years of age.   The New Supply Chain Workforce: What’s Changing? Careers in supply chain are in demand, but still there is a shortage of candidates with the right mix of skills to be effective at a transformational time in the industry. In short, supply chain companies need more generalists, but can’t afford to lose the specialist knowledge held by employees who may soon step down from full-time employment and enjoy their well earned retirements. It’s pretty much a seller’s market out there too, so if your company can’t offer something to make it stand out from other supply chain workforce buyers, hiring top talent isn’t going to be easy. Similarly, retention can be tricky when other employers are trying to lure your best employees away.   Preparing the New Supply Chain Workforce So what does it take to hire and retain the right talent in 2016 and beyond? Three words can answer that question—visualise, prioritise, and collaborate! Visualise: Perhaps I should really say “help employees to visualise”. What I’m talking about here is providing clarity around the potential career path of each individual in the supply chain workforce. Give your employees a view of their growth opportunities within your organisation. Companies which do this enjoy better employee engagement and retention. Prioritise: Unless your company is very small indeed, it’s time to shift the approach to recruitment and raise its priority. If you want to hire the best talent you can afford, waiting until you have an appointment to fill is probably a mistake. Companies which have the most success in hiring for the new supply chain workforce are those which remain constantly on the lookout for recruits. When openings do become available, those companies already have their finger on the pulse and target potential talent which they’ve already identified. Collaborate: The need for collaboration kicks in when your new hires are on board. Don’t waste any time...

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Has Ecommerce Supersized the Supply Chain Warehouse?

Has Ecommerce Supersized the Supply Chain Warehouse?

While researching online for some blog post ideas, I came across a great article from Newsweek, written back in 1995. The author of the article was predicting that among other shortcomings of the Internet, it could never realistically support activities such as booking airline tickets, reserving restaurant tables, or buying products online. Famous Last Words At that time, I’m sure the article’s author would have been only one of many people forecasting that ecommerce would be a fad, soon to fade into obscurity. Today though, I’m sure those same people have all dined on their own words many times over. The impact of ecommerce has been profound and nowhere more so than in the supply chain world. Not only has Ecommerce supersized the shopping environment, it appears to have supersized the supply chain too–in more ways than one.   Coming Soon: Supersized Supply Chain Warehouses Take warehouses for example. As we highlighted in our recently published Australian Supply Chain Report, the demand for warehouse space in Australia is forecast to increase, particularly in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. What we didn’t mention in the report is that the size of warehouses looks set to increase exponentially over the next few years, in response to a growing volume of imports and the boom in e-tail shopping. Supersized supply chain warehouses will become the norm, as multi-channel distribution creates the need for larger sheds. The extra space is necessary to accommodate operations shipping high volumes of single-line, small-package orders. As the Panama Canal expansion inevitably leads to the arrival of the latest monster cargo vessels into Australian ports, the need for supersized supply chain warehouses will increase still further. Within the next two or three years, distribution centres exceeding 200,000 square metres will be a common sight, although you might have to look outside city limits to see them. The sheer size of these sheds will require that they are located away from the current zones of industry in cities like Melbourne and Sydney.   Supersized Warehouses Appearing Everywhere The imminent construction of supersized supply chain warehouses is not unique to Australia. Ecommerce is already driving a trend in giant-warehouse construction around the globe; especially as online retail behemoths like Amazon continue to expand their operations. In China, the United States, and Europe, the largest distribution centres are already approaching the 200,000 square metre mark. For example, JD.com, China’s largest online-sales organisation...

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