With major external forces disrupting supply chain planning (SCP) processes, it is more important than ever for organizations to have the right talent in place, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner analysts have identified the five pillars that comprise a talent strategy for supply chain planning.
“Trade wars, digitalization, global economic volatility, ever-changing customer expectations and – of course – labor shortages weigh heavy on SCP leaders. Many supply chain leaders have attempted to build out a strategy that navigates these forces, but most have not yet considered the underlying talent implications,” said Caroline Chumakov, principal analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice. “Your thoughtful planning strategy, objectives, processes and technologies are only as robust as the people in your organization that have to execute on them. Therefore, every planning department needs a talent strategy.”
During the Gartner Supply Chain Planning Summit, which is taking place in Denver today, Gartner analysts explained how SCP leaders can define their talent requirements and build a talent strategy based on five key pillars.
Pillar No. 1: Role-Based Capabilities
The first step is to articulate the skills, knowledge, competencies and experiences that a candidate should possess in order to be successful in a specific role or set of roles in the organization. “Focus on a shortlist of the most critical capabilities your organization will need to remain competitive in the next two to five years. This might include competencies such as curiosity, collaboration or data-driven decision-making. Candidates should display the majority of these capabilities, but there should be room for development on the job as well,” Ms. Chumakov said.
Pillar No. 2: Career Pathways
In Gartner surveys, senior leaders in SCP have cited the lack of a defined career path as a key reason why planners move on to roles outside of planning or leave the organization altogether. Traditional hierarchical career paths are no longer enough to engage and retain the average supply chain planner, especially in the case of Millennial and Gen Z talent.
“When building career pathways, allow for lateral movements both within the planning organization and across other functions,” Ms. Chumakov added. “The challenge is twofold: creating the opportunity, and then making sure that people see it and know what it takes to chart the path.”
Pillar No. 3: Learning and Development
One of the most effective ways to foster adult learning and development in SCP is through the use of the 70-20-10 model. The idea is that 70% of personal development should happen on the job through so-called “learning interventions” such as stretch assignments and job rotations.
Relationship-based learning accounts for another 20%. “Think of mentorship and best-practice sharing with peers. It can also be manager-led coaching or leadership shadowing,” Ms. Chumakov said. Only the final 10% contain formal training sessions, such as certifications, classroom trainings or e-modules.
Pillar No. 4: Recruiting and Onboarding
Recruiting is more than simply writing or refreshing a job description. SCP leaders must work with their HR department to identify talent pools that reflect the desired competencies and focus their outreach on key attraction drivers. “In the job interview, make sure to emphasize the variety of career pathways and development opportunities. This might be what convinces the candidate to pick your company over the competition,” added Ms. Chumakov.
The onboarding program is equally important and should be consistent across the planning organization. New hires should understand how their job relates to planning strategy and objectives. Ideally, they will have the opportunity to participate in a rotation program with other functional peers.
Pillar No. 5: Performance Management
Performance management is the process by which most organizations’ HR departments measure and reward an individual’s contribution to the business over time. The task of the SCP leader is to drive employee performance by creating tailored development plans.
“Select development goals that form the intersection between business needs, the employee’s current performance and their career aspirations. For example, we might have an employee who wants to become the process owner for sales & operations planning (S&OP). They are strong a communicator in their current role but lack cross-functional awareness and expertise in leading projects. In parallel, the business needs a revamped S&OP process. Development objectives for such an employee might be to build an understanding of value streams while also improving project and relationship management skills,” Ms Chumakov concluded.
About the Gartner Supply Chain Planning Summit
Gartner analysts are providing additional analysis at the Gartner Supply Chain Planning Summit taking place on November 4-5, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. This Summit gives SCP leaders insight into how to deliver tangible outcomes in support of business objectives. They are learning how to transform the planning function from within, while harnessing emerging technologies to realize the value of SCP as a competitive advantage and significant contributor to their organization’s bottom line.