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It is not surprising that new supply chain roles and skills will be required to execute supply chain operations in the future. But how should an organization in an industry that is admittedly steeped in traditional ways of working balance the co-existence of both digital and human work?

Supply chain organizations are facing stiff competition from non-supply-chain companies as well as other functions within their own organization in attracting new skills and are faced with a gap for new talent that balances analytics skills and supply chain expertise.

In order to address the changing skills landscape, decreasing talent pool, shifting demographics including where, how, and when people want to work, and the need to prioritize dexterity over technical know-how, the supply chain of the future will be obliged to focus on these key components:

Digital and human co-existence - Create a modern, digital working environment where employees are less burdened with repetitive tasks, but key decision-making remains with human experience.

Supply chain as a business partner - Change to a culture which makes supply chain a business partner across functions.

Digital center of excellence - Deploy a digital center of excellence to accelerate value creation that focuses investment on the most impactful opportunities across functions..

New roles - Identify roles, skills and behaviors needed to meet an organization’s targets.

"The supply chain workforce will be required to have a broad skill set to inform decision-making, as opposed to deep expertise but little ability to make decisions." – Brian Higgins, Principal and Practice Leader, KPMG Procurement & Operations Advisory

In order to deliver this, supply chain organizations will:

  • build a hybrid organizational model for their analytics team in order to capture the benefits of both scale and distribution
  • create internal talent programs to develop the role of a citizen data scientist to offer new opportunities for supply chain resources while increasing availability of analytics talent
  • acquire and train supply chain resources comfortable with interacting with technology
  • develop an operating model which encourages collaboration with academia, 3PLs and internal functions
  • increase organizational collaboration, both internal and externally.

An agenda for the future of supply chain

The biggest limitation for supply chains is no longer technologies and what they can do, but rather the imagination of the people who leverage them. As enterprises around the world are facing a perfect storm of change, today’s supply chain leaders must transform business models, organizational structures and operations to thrive today and in the future.