Published January 9, 2014
Despite dealing with personnel shortages for a number of years, many retailers have still not been compelled to add sufficient staff to handle future needs. And that could lead to a potential talent bubble going forward. The Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium recently published a retail break-out report derived from the highly-successful Supply Chain Talent survey the group conducted earlier this year. While some of the findings were anticipated (the combination of the Great Recession and the evolution of consumer shopping preference have hit retailers particularly hard), the details about the state of supply chain talent in the retail industry that were uncovered were interesting and insightful none the less. The survey results echo the sentiment others are sensing about the future needs of retail: Demand for highly-qualified supply chain talent is out-stripping supply, and employees who have endured cutbacks and increased workload during tougher economic times are much more open to the possibility of new opportunities in greener pastures. The functional expertise areas that are most in-demand (and therefore most at-risk) are: Planning, sourcing, and (to a lesser degree) transportation. The planning function is especially important for retailers implementing store fulfillment, or for those migrating to a larger demand-driven, Distributed Order Management (DOM) system. The discussion of supply chain talent needs based upon geography was also quite For more details and findings on this topic, download the report, Spotlight on Retail: Supply Chain Talent Report illuminating. For retail respondents who had international considerations to their supply chain, two-thirds identified China as a place they were having difficulty finding qualified, local supply chain personnel. This suggests that many respondents don’t know where to look, or perhaps how to get locales on-boarded. Tompkins’ Shanghai-based team has emphatically indicated that the engineers, the educated, and the willing are in ample supply.