MHI Solutions



Holes in Supply Chain Talent Recruiting Process Cause Missed Opportunities for Some College Grads and Companies in Our Industry

By Jack Crumbly, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Tuskegee University, Andrew F. Brimmer College of Business and Information Science

The demand for supply chain management talent continues to be an issue for many organizations, including consumer products and goods, transportation, manufacturing, logistics and services. As the challenge of recruiting supply chain talent continues, several Historically Black Colleges (HBCUs) have developed programs to meet these demands. HBCUs with Supply Chain Management, Transportation and Logistics programs include, Tuskegee University, Howard University, North Carolina A&T University, Alabama A&M University, Tennessee State University, Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University, Virginia State University and others.

There are also Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) that have these programs. These schools include Georgia State University and Clayton State University. In spite of these efforts by HBCUs and MSIs, the demand for supply chain management talent has not been met.

Several articles discuss reasons for supply chain talent issues. Reasons include the careers in procurement, logistics, supply chain management, transportation are not taken as a serious career option (Taylor, 2016; Clark, 2016), changes in qualifications in supply chain management careers (Clark, 2016), and which major should be considered for supply chain management careers (engineering, business, etc.).

As I speak with organizations about their supply chain challenges, and look at the current unemployment rate of African Americans of 7.5 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017) and see talented students leave without job offers after graduation due to poor advisement, it becomes frustrating as an academic to see qualified candidates miss the career opportunities in supply chain management.

A couple of reasons why this occurs are related to the recruiting process. There are organizations that recruit a specific number of candidates from schools. If you are not on the list, you do not get recruited. An additional issue is the structure of relationships between schools and recruiting organizations. As there is a desire to expand relationships, the success of previous candidates can be a reason for expansion or reduction in recruiting efforts. Geographic locations are also a challenge. Most diverse candidates desire to be in diverse locations. Traditional organizations have locations in rural regions of the U.S. This causes issues for diverse candidates in choosing an organization as well as career development.

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According to the recently released 2018 MHI Annual Industry Report, “Overcoming Barriers to NextGen Supply Chain Adoption,” eight out of ten survey respondents believe these supply chains will be the predominant model within just five years. However, the report found that the adoption of some of these technologies was slower than originally reported when MHI started the annual report in 2014. The report cites three top barriers to adoption of these technologies: 1. Making the business case for NextGen supply chain investments. 2. Tackling the supply chain skills gap and workforce shortage. 3. Building trust and security in digital, always-on supply chains. This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on the adoption of these digital solutions, from best practices in robotics and artificial intelligence to blockchain and innovations in last mile delivery.

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