The emergence of technology throughout the supply chain is creating openings in the industry for a completely different skill set— one that is proving challenging to fill.
By Sheryl S. Jackson
The emergence of technology throughout the supply chain is creating openings in the industry for a completely different skill set—one that includes data management, monitoring IoT devices, keeping track of assets in motion, ensuring the health of the machinery, and creating and programming high-tech robots and robotic processes, just to name a few. However, the types of people who are trained in these areas, such as data scientists, engineers and developers, are proving difficult to find, attract and retain to the supply chain industry.
“Now, companies need people inhouse who understand more than the operating system or a warehouse management system,” he said. “They want in-house staff who understand analytics and know how to use data to drive decisions,” said Jon Stiles, national sales leader at MHI member Datalogic.
“Emerging technologies are resulting in a data explosion,” added Madhav Durbha, Ph.D., group vice president of industry strategy at LLamasoft. “In general, supply chains are faced with a pace of change that is accelerating due to increased tariffs, trade wars, the rise of the connected consumer and an increasing need for last mile delivery strategies, so business decisions are inherently more interconnected and increasingly complex.”
While data collected through current and emerging technology can support those decisions, an expertise is required that is elevating the skills gap in the supply chain, said Durbha. “Humans need to be augmented with algorithms to drive such decisions, which has created the need to attract and retain data scientists, engineers and developers.”
“Our data department is the fastest growing department globally,” said Darren Baker, lead database administrator for TVS Supply Chain Solutions North America. Not only does TVS provide technology tools that are custom configured for each customer and also integrated with the overall system to ensure seamless communication and coordination, but Baker’s department is also the key support for using data to provide the business insights required by management.