In the past two years, supply chains have been affected by a shortage of workers. Demand for skilled professionals in the sector is still high. ASCM Insights reports that there are new supply chain transformations. They include reliance on big data, AI and machine learning, and the use of smart logistics.
Indeed.com reports there are more than 8,600 new supply management jobs available in the U.S. The new talents joining the industry need to develop their skills to fit market demands. Training through various strategies and best practices is critical to young professionals.
Importance of developing supply chain skills in young professionals
The World Economics Forum lists 5 must-have skills for supply chain professionals. They are collaboration, adaptability, influence, narration, and a holistic view of the field. Due to past challenges, the industry is moving to an entirely new business approach. Since the 2020 disruptions, there is a return to lean inventory management practices. The sector is now more proactive as it enters into growth mode.
Zycus reports that modern supply chain management is moving into new trends. Organizations are adopting agile supply chain ecosystems. The ecosystems are backed by big data and analytics. To ensure resilience in the sector, organizations are adopting AI technologies. A report by Talking Logistics says soft skills are needed in the sector more than ever.
Similar surveys show how important it is to have dynamic skills in the sector. Based on the reports, it is critical to developing the supply chain skills of young professionals. They are useful at both the entry level and at every level of business operations. It helps increase knowledge of the movement of materials and products in real time. The key importance of training is to equip young professionals with the right information.
The knowledge is useful in different phases of production. It includes inventory management, warehousing, and transportation. Skilled professionals work to fulfill customer needs in time. They enhance the company’s response to challenges. Trained professionals create value for customers. They improve a company’s financial stability and network resiliency. Due to the changing trends, knowledge is important when making business decisions. It helps improve collaboration with supply chain partners at every level.
Young supply chain professionals begin to build their skills while studying in college. They need to choose the right course to learn and choose their study preferences. The course improves understanding of the latest technologies used in the field. College professors need learners to get involved in extensive research and writing. It might not always be easy to manage all the work as a student in college.
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Strategies for building supply chain skills in young professionals
A supply chain management report by SCMR has published various findings. It shows young professionals seek to join the sector to improve their careers. They also seek to improve the company and use their skills to the maximum. A report by Business Daily shows there is a worrying skills gap between graduates and the career market. Young professionals are unable to deliver their employers’ expectations.
Due to the challenge, employers organize in-house training after new hires. The training helps the new workers get career-based skills. These are skills that they never learned in college. Statistics show over 270,000 supply chain management jobs are advertised annually. Most of the applicants have the right education but lack the right skills. Out of every six jobs advertised, only one gets an experienced applicant. The only option for employers is to offer training to have a skilled workforce.
The are a variety of new technology trends in the supply chain sector. They include intralogistics robots, cloud computing, AI, and machine learning. Young professionals need to be savvy with these technologies. The best training strategies will help identify gaps and provide the right skills. Lorman reports that 59% of new employees lack workplace skills. 74% of employees have the willingness to be taught new skills to remain relevant. 87% of millennials value skills building and development in the workplace.
ILO reports that there are new trends shaping skills needed in the labor market. They are demographic changes, digitization and globalization. Young professionals are more than willing to receive new skills in the career market. New technological advancements help implement training news in the supply chain sector. The best skill-building strategy is to ensure young professionals get a mix of skills. The following strategies will be helpful.
Identify skills gaps
The skills gap among young professionals is widening. Without training, they cannot deliver to employer expectations. Reports show young employees lack 5 critical soft skills. They lack critical thinking, teamwork, attention to detail, leadership, and communication skills. Beyond soft skills, LinkedIn reports graduates to have a technological skills gap. They lack programming, AI, data management, and statistical skills.
Both soft and technological skills are important in supply chain management. To equip young professionals, a manager needs to conduct a skills gap audit. It helps identify what skills young professionals are lacking. Managers should know the areas the young professionals are strong or weak. They should then build a strategy to equip them with relevant job-based skills.
Reports show 76% of new employees believe work-based mentorship is important. Forbes reports that 70% of Fortune 500 organizations run job mentorship programs. 90% of new employees who get mentored are happy with their job. Skills mentorship helps instill sets of skills in mentees. The mentor works closely with each mentee on a one-on-one basis. They aim to develop and improve their soft skills and professional objectives.
The University of Washington shares mentorship strategies as follows: Mentors should share with their mentees about the success in their career path. They should provide guidance and be a role model. The mentee needs emotional and motivational support. Mentors need to set goals, provide resources, and develop friendships with mentees.
Develop training programs
Training helps employees build technology-based knowledge. They learn how to use work tools to do their work better and faster. Managers need to identify potential trainers and structure the training process. Some companies structure automated training sessions. Some hire an external consultant to design the programs and provide the training. Training focuses more on formal instead of informal knowledge impartation. It should be based on the young professionals’ knowledge gaps. They should be given a chance to choose their training schedules or studying styles.
Schedule rotational assignments
The supply chain in any organization is complex. It cuts across phases such as sourcing, planning, warehouse management, and production. Rotational assignments equip young professionals with knowledge of the entire company’s operations. Employees get increased motivation and productivity.
The employer rotates the young professionals across the various departments. In a healthcare facility, for instance, a new nurse can be taken through a rotation schedule. They may start by working in the emergency room. They can be rotated to the psychiatric ward and then the ICU. They may proceed to surgery and then the recovery room.
Supply chain skills best practices for young professionals
Supply skills and best practices help reduce waste and lower overhead costs. Organizations reduce shipping delays and ensure products reach customers on time. Best practices include procedures that organizations identify and follow. They must be procedures that work for the company. Organizations need a conducive environment to make the practices work. Training of young professionals should pay attention to supply chain best practices.
Create a collaborative environment
Collaboration in the supply chain is all about working closely with partners. They include both internal and external partners. Develop strong collaboration across all departments. It should extend to individual workers, managers, suppliers, and customers.
Develop a team of young professionals
Young professionals give value to meaningful work. They love working in a flexible environment and a vibrant workplace. Psychology Today says it is important to invest in young professionals. They cite the importance of having new talent in an innovation-driven world. They learn quickly, are tech-driven, and can discover solutions fast. Organizations may develop a team of young professionals in different ways. They can offer them internship/recruitment opportunities. Beyond internships, they should provide them with career opportunities.
Develop good relationships with suppliers
Supply chain management cannot be successful without suppliers. Poor supply relationships affect the entire chain. Lack of proper planning and failure to use data often lead to a failed supply chain. Young supply chain professionals must understand the importance of suppliers in the chain. They should be trained on strategies for building strong relationships with suppliers.
Make use of meaningful data
In the digitized modern supply chain, the use of data is crucial. It helps organizations improve production forecasts and changes in inventory in real-time. The information is necessary when making crucial decisions. Data used in the supply chain requires the implementation of newer technologies. AI and machine learning are essential technologies in data-driven supply chain management. Statistics in the supply chain help analysts generate large data sets.
They get it from multiple sources and use it to generate real-time insights. The data is useful for improving operational efficiency in the supply chain. Professionals can use it to create effective strategies that reduce costs. Young professionals in the sector need training on the use of data to identify gaps in the chain. They should learn to use data to predict successes or challenges. This way organization will always be ready to deal with upcoming issues.
Young supply chain professionals start to build knowledge while in college. In the career field, they need to build excellent skills to meet market demands. Organizations can help them build skills in a variety of ways. They may offer training programs to improve their knowledge. They may engage them in mentorship programs or schedule them in rotational assignments. It is necessary to pay attention to supply chain best practices when building skills. It helps eliminate gaps in the chain and ensures uninterrupted customer satisfaction.
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