Our last post covered the recently released 19th Annual 3PL study and the current state of the 3PL market. One of the special topics covered in this year’s study was strategic workforce management. Strategic workforce management will be particularly important for the 3PL industry, and the general workforce, as it is expected to face a shortage of talent.  Estimates show that 60 million people will exit the workforce by 2015, but there are only 40 million people to fill the gap. The estimated demand to supply ratio for supply chain professionals is expected to exceed 6:1.
So what is strategic talent management? It is the system and processes by which leaders ensure they have a sustainable supply of the right talent, available at the right place and time, to meet their short- and long-term business objectives. In order to effectively implement strategic talent management, an organization must first determine the top 3 – 5 organizational or business unit goals for the next five years. The next stop is to then identify specific objectives to support these goals. With a set list of objectives, the organization can begin to investigate the talent implications and necessary requirements. It is important to clearly identify the key skills required for each talent implication and quantify those skills where applicable.
This process is the starting place to understanding whether or not the people in your organization have the right skill set and roles to meet the business goals identified. If there is indeed a gap, in either skills or resources, the next step is to identify the critical roles for success at each level of the organization. What are the positions that are the launch pad to the next tier within the organization? These are the roles within an organization that must be filled with the right person who exhibits the required skill set. If the critical roles within an organization fail, it is difficult to successfully and efficiently achieve any goal. 

For critical roles do you know:

  • The right selection criteria (internal/external)?
  • What the development path/pipeline is and how efficient it is?
  • Whether your HR programs work particularly well for them?

Existing positions within the supply chain industry are changing rapidly.  By 2015, three out of four jobs within the industry are expected to change.  Furthermore, the dynamics of supply chain professionals are changing.  In the future, only having hard skills in operations management will not be sufficient.  Instead, there will be a mix of both soft and hard skills involving leadership qualities and cross-functional competencies that will shape the industry.
Organizations surveyed in this year’s 3PL study reported that the top two pressures driving workforce planning were addressing changes to the business model and difficulty in finding or attracting talent. It is apparent that companies, particularly in the transportation and logistics industry, should place strategic workforce planning at the forefront of their agenda. The growing shortage of talent supply will only increase competition for the top tier of talent. Organizations that are able to obtain and retain their employees by providing them with promising career roadmaps will achieve the strategic growth necessary to ensure their success.
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