Talent Deficits Threaten Supply Chain Planning
new study by ToolsGroup and the Council of Supply Chain Management
Professionals (CSCMP) has found that only 3% of companies experienced no
COVID-related business impact, and 42% of organizations say the pandemic
has accelerated their digitization plans. Additionally, the majority
(90%) are somewhere along the digital journey, but talent deficits
threaten to slow progress, with 42% of respondents saying they are
handing staff/skills shortages poorly or very poorly.
CSCMP and ToolsGroup surveyed more than 200 supply chain professionals
around the world from manufacturing, retail, consumer packaged goods,
aftermarket parts, wholesale distribution, and third-party logistics
(3PL) firms, as well as consulting organizations. Fifty-four percent of
those who said they were 'reaping the benefits of digital
transformation' said that they were managing COVID-related demand and
supplier uncertainty 'very well'. However, only 13% of those in the
'evaluating' or 'not pursuing' stages reported handling this area 'very
well', indicating that digital technology and processes may be enabling
better management of disruption.
The top three business drivers for digitizing planning are: the ability
to keep up with evolving customer behaviors and expectations (44%); the
need to increase automation to focus staff on higher level activities
(43%); and an overall desire to improve business performance (42%).
Other top factors include improving customer service levels (39%);
improving reaction to unplanned disruptions (35%); and increasing supply
chain resilience (34%).
The biggest obstacle to transformation for respondents is a skills
deficit among their staff (41%). Digital business requires skills such
as change management and decision making in addition to the standard
technical planner skills. Data quality/lack of data (34%), COVID-related
uncertainty (28%), an existing rigid technology structure (28%), and
fear of change (28%) are also roadblocks.
our 2019 survey, the biggest factor holding back digital transformation
was 'fear of change'. Today we see a sharp contrast as COVID-related
demand uncertainty has accelerated digitization to enable future
resilience," said Caroline Proctor, chief marketing officer of
ToolsGroup. "Technologies such as demand forecasting and inventory
optimization, which automate decision making and free up working capital
while guaranteeing service, are top priorities for investment."
Findings suggest that driving digitization from higher up leads to
better outcomes. "Half of those firms reaping the benefits of planning
digitization say their transformation is being led by their CEO,"
observed CSCMP president & CEO Mark Baxa. "Whereas those not pursuing a
strategy say their digitization efforts are being led by
line-of-business managers. We believe the more successful companies are
actively pursuing change for greater future resilience; the alternative
is to be a victim of tomorrow's unplanned disruptions."