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Making the Shift

Is your company prepared for a supply chain talent crisis?
By Amydee M. Fawcett and Stanley E. Fawcett
  • Amydee M. Fawcett, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Leadership in Ethics and Sustainability and Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Goddard School of Business at Weber State University.
  • Stanley E. Fawcett, Ph.D., is the director of the Jerry and Vicki Moyes Center for Supply Chain Excellence and the Goddard Professor of Global Supply Chain Management at the Goddard School of Business at Weber State University

July 5, 2016

Study after study has shown that for every new supply chain manager entering the workforce, two (or more) are retiring. Although supply chain programs are proliferating, today’s universities simply aren’t producing enough high-quality supply chain managers to fill the need. This story line, however, is incomplete. The talent crisis isn’t just about demographics. The crisis is more about mindsets and skills sets—and our inability to develop the talent to thrive in tomorrow’s global decision-making environment.

Amazingly, the “skill set” dimension of the talent crisis is not new. Over a decade ago, authors Edward W. Davis and Robert E. Spekman warned: “It is essential that we recognize that most managers do not currently possess the skills or mindset needed to operate in an extended enterprise environment.”

What skills were they referring to? Answer: Few managers— including supply chain managers—possessed the willingness to get “out of the box” and the ability to think and act collaboratively. They struggled to deal with ambiguity and change. They failed to appreciate the big picture—especially how their decisions impact value creation across the company and up and down the supply chain. Sadly, we’ve made little progress over the past decade in producing managers who possess these skills that are so critical to value co-creation.

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Study after study has shown that for every new supply chain manager entering the workforce, two (or more) are retiring. Although supply chain programs are proliferating, today’s universities simply aren’t producing enough high-quality supply chain managers to fill the need. This story line, however, is incomplete. The talent crisis isn’t just about demographics. The crisis is more about mindsets and skills sets—and our inability to develop the talent to thrive in tomorrow’s global decision-making environment.

Amazingly, the “skill set” dimension of the talent crisis is not new. Over a decade ago, authors Edward W. Davis and Robert E. Spekman warned: “It is essential that we recognize that most managers do not currently possess the skills or mindset needed to operate in an extended enterprise environment.”

What skills were they referring to? Answer: Few managers— including supply chain managers—possessed the willingness to get “out of the box” and the ability to think and act collaboratively. They struggled to deal with ambiguity and change. They failed to appreciate the big picture—especially how their decisions impact value creation across the company and up and down the supply chain. Sadly, we’ve made little progress over the past decade in producing managers who possess these skills that are so critical to value co-creation.

SUBSCRIBERS: Click here to download PDF of the full article.

 


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