Supply chain is often described as the intersection of "people, process and technology." I'm going to hope those words are listed not only in alphabetical order but also in order of importance. People are a critical component of a successful supply chain and unfortunately an area where many companies are falling short. Take a look at the graphic below from our recently completed Supply Chain Talent survey.

 

http://supplychainindex.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Talent.png

 

Nearly half of respondents believe they are worse at managing supply chain talent than their peers. Only 14% think they are doing a better job. There are many challenges as seen below. The challenges are not one-sided. Both employees and companies are struggling.  The top issues in 2014 are highlighted below.

 

http://supplychainindex.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2014.png

 

One of the techniques we like to use in our surveys is tracking capabilities over time. For that reason, we repeat the talent survey on an annual basis. This year, we also asked respondents to predict their top challenges in 2019. Some challenges stay near the top of list while others lose relevance over a longer time horizon.

 

http://supplychainindex.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2019.png

 

One challenge remains in the top three for both 2014 and 2019 - the lack of clear job progression and career path. I think this challenge is especially topical for young professionals in the workplace who are emerging from a very structured and signposted educational system. The lack of signposts on the career path can be a serious liability when it comes to retaining young talent. Young people are likely to go where there is a clear path forward. Supply chain careers are notoriously nonlinear, but companies should start thinking about ways to openly address this issue.

 

If there is a bright spot, it is that companies are beginning to understand where they are faltering and struggling. How would you rank your employer on their talent management? Do you have a clear career path outlined either individually or with the help of supervisors? I'd love to hear from you.