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Companies Struggling to Build Skills that Emerging Digital Supply Chains Need

Companies Struggling to Build Skills that Emerging Digital Supply Chains Need

April 1, 2022
A McKinsey study shows that only 5% of people in companies were classified as truly well-rounded “end-to-end” supply-chain-management experts.

As companies continue to invest in digital technology to cope with supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, they are finding that they are having trouble finding the talent to work in these new environments.

In a recent article, McKinsey, reports on a survey, it took where 99% of respondents said they need more in-house digital supply chain talent to support their current and planned digitization efforts, a tenfold increase from the previous year.

And that is especially concerning considering the fact that a study by the firm’s Global Institute research showed that, half of today’s tasks are expected to be automated by 2055, resulting in process transformations and the implicit need to reskill and upskill workers. 

From an industry sector perspective, the study found that there was an improvement in the supply chain capabilities of pharmaceutical organizations, while the average performance of companies in advanced industries (including automotive, aerospace and defense, and semiconductors) and the basic materials sectors (such as metals and mining, oil and gas, and pulp and paper) has fallen slightly.

Looking specifically at the skills, only 30% of people had expertise in one area and were considered to be expert-level. When it comes to mastering more skills levels, 28% were proficient in two to five areas. Those classified as truly well-rounded “end-to-end” supply-chain-management experts have been stable at 5% of all supply chain roles in the average organization.

The survey also looked at more advanced skills and found that network analytics and demand-planning functions, two of the most frequently implemented digital supply-chain-transformation initiatives, show higher scores which led the firm to conclude that there is a correlation between higher levels of talent and advances in supply chain processes.

The study also noted that while it would be expected that younger people possessed these skills, in fact, it was senior executives, followed by mid-level leaders that were most proficient in applied digital and analytics topics.

So, what are companies due to ensure they have the proper talent? Only 6% of the 71 companies that responded have a “formal perspective on their organizations’ strategically important skills and competencies.” Many did indicate that have internal programs which include data analytics programs, but only one in 20 respondents thought those programs were effective.

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