The Talent Crisis

Most will agree that the shortage of talent is impacting supply chains. The field can’t find drivers, can’t find pickers, can’t find managers—just plain can’t find the talent needed to keep systems running. For some, the answer is simple: do what we do best, create a supply chain.

Yes, human resources is a supply chain, or at least it had better be if we are to get the talent in the numbers and quality that we need. If you think about it, what do we do when we need a special product or component for our manufacturing process? We work with potential suppliers by providing specifications, engineering assistance and volume agreements. Why not try the same things for talent? We can build relationships with supply chain management (SCM) talent suppliers—high schools and universities—and specify standards, then buy, buy, buy—or maybe hire, hire, hire.

At many top programs, those who want the talent are becoming part of the program. Companies serve on advisory boards to help promote the programs and to ensure that they are current and relevant. SCM professionals speak in classes and provide projects and tour opportunities for students. Companies provide swag to attract students to the field and scholarships to keep them there. Basically, they see the program as part of their recruiting and talent effort just as suppliers are looked upon as part of the manufacturing process.

By Barton Jennings, Professor of Supply Chain Management, Western Illinois University

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