Supply Chain Briefing


No client has enough high-skilled talent. In fact, it is the single largest issue facing executives. The skills gap is severe for high-skilled roles. Yet any company that wants to succeed is automating, digitizing, and utilizing advanced technologies such as robotics, additive manufacturing, and predictive analytics. These advanced programs automate low-skill jobs and increase the need for high-skill resources. Do you have the talent?

Where Has the Talent Gone?

So where has the talent gone?

  • Baby Boomers shrinking: Baby boomers are retired or retiring at a quick pace, and the generation is shrinking. As the largest generation in history (although recently surpassed by the Millennial Generation), the brain drain is extreme. Although many clients do not fully appreciate the issue until it is too late, the experience and dedication that is retiring is extreme.
  • Gen X Stretched: The generation following the Baby Boomers (Gen X) is no where near as large, and the pandemic seems to have spurred folks into early retirement or a change of career. The remaining leaders are simply swamped and running around like chickens with their head cut off – and extremely frustrated unless appreciated.
  • Work life balance has shifted: The 24/7 days that were common for decades are no longer common or desired. Although it is no longer common, the expected results and profit growth has not changed. Thus, there is a quandry.
  • Increased Demand: As advanced technologies are utilized, the demand for high-skilled talent increases.
  • Shortage of technical talent: Technical colleges and apprenticeships have not kept up with demand.
  • Lack of training & education: We haven’t invested like we should have in training, education, and mentoring. It was “easy” for many years to simply hire the talent needed. Now we must build it.

Client Examples

Unfortunately, there are countless client examples we could provide on the lack of talent as it is a widespread problem. A widespread and surprising issue that has arisen recently across multiple industries, client sizes, and geographies is the lack of fundamentals. For example, two of our best clients have expressed frustration that such a bedrock topic such as inventory accuracy is requiring consulting support. Although it is certainly not rocket science and shouldn’t require a supply chain consultant to figure out, it continues to create consulting project bottlenecks.

Thus, both clients ended up needing support to roll out transactional process disciplines to improve customer service and meet audit requirements. From our project perspective, we could not build a house on a faulty foundation, and so we had to start by shoring up the base. We supplemented internal talent by collaborating across functions, figuring out how to best utilize the ERP system to support business processes, documenting processes and rolling out process disciplines while integrating with the daily routine, developing metrics, and providing training and education. Once we had a sustainable process in place, we upgraded business processes with advanced processes such as SIOP (Sales Inventory Operations Planning) and ERP and technological improvements such as business intelligence and predictive analytics.

In two other client examples, base process disciplines such as date changes were not occurring. Unfortunately, when fundamentals such as updating sales order dates and work order dates are not occurring, manufacturing, purchasing, shipping, and the rest of the organization can become disjoined and chaotic. In one client, the client incurred 800 hours of changeover time because no one could determine the schedule, and the sales team required that the schedule change back and forth to satisfy customers. Thus, we works hand-in-hand with the production site to roll out a production schedule and brought past due down to close to zero and doubled schedule adherence.

In another client, the planning team received hundreds of emails a day from Sales on orders yet didn’t have clarity on date expectations from the customer or from Purchasing as to when materials would be available. Something had to change! Clearly, the situation caused unnecessary chaos. Thus, we worked with the client to upgrade process disciplines, define the use of date fields and timing of transactions, and roll out training, education and metrics across the board. Email traffic went down and customer service went up rapidly.

The Bottom Line

There is a lack of talent. No matter where in the world we ask, thus far, we’ve received the answer that there simply isn’t enough talent. The leaders that take control and attract, retain, and develop talent will thrive and have more opportunities than ever before. The countries with proactive leaders who find creative solutions to this talent shortage will lead the rest. Where will you stand?

If you are interested in reading more on this topic:
Lost Revenue Due to Lack of Resources: How to Attract People to Your Company