Logistics and supply chain positions play a pivotal role in the manufacturing space, and in a tight employment market, finding the right candidate can have a huge impact on the overall success and productivity of your operation.

Supply chain has arguably taken one of the biggest impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, meaning the industry is full of delays, confusion, and consumer dissatisfaction.

One of the best ways to manage these ongoing issues, is to hire the right talent who can constantly adapt to manage supply chain issues in a rapidly changing environment. Supply chain roles are complex, but effective strategies allowing agility and responsiveness can yield incredible results for an organisation.

In recent study, the Top 5 Lessons Learned After a Year in Supply Chain Planning, (Cohan, 2017) supply chain workers shared key lessons from their first 12 months in the industry, highlighting the current issues facing supply chain employees. Focusing on these issues and framing your interview questions around them will ensure your chosen candidates will make the most positive impact in the current climate.

1. Some companies prioritise forecast accuracy and some focus on inventory optimisation. Your candidate should understand both and demonstrate their ability to work well with your organisation’s approach.
When companies prioritise forecast accuracy, inventory reduction is a result. In contrast, focusing on inventory optimisation lowers inventory levels by determining the appropriate stock levels stored at various locations. Often, taking a comprehensive view of the present business environment can help businesses develop a better course of action (Sujit, 2015) – and the supply chain candidate should be able to implement strategies to support this.

2. Understanding how your supply chain technologies work is crucial to success. Ensure your candidate can work closely with software providers to respond to needs.
Having the right technology in place to support your business is extremely important, but remember, every new technology implementation is only as good as how it is used. Your people need to know how to maximise the success of your systems, effectively integrate them into existing business processes and work with long-term strategic partners when choosing a technology solution (Harpal, 2017). Your candidates should demonstrate a passion for getting this right.

3. Supply chain visibility is critical for any service or product provider. Candidates should understand the entire product journey.
Around 80 per cent of people spoken with at supply chain conferences identify supply chain visibility as their top concern. Candidates should take the time to establish what supply chain visibility means and what needs to be done to bring about improvements (Arkieva, 2017). An awareness of how to track individual components as they travel from supplier to manufacturer, to consumer is a must!

4. Supply chain standardisation is mostly a wish item, and an area of improvement for many businesses. Senior supply chain employees should be clear on business goals in this space, and then develop the policies and procedures to make it a reality.
In most organisations, the various departments work independently of one another and frequently don’t collaborate. When dealing with corporate divisions that operate as subsidiaries, this type of compartmentalised approach to business administration is elevated even further. Supply chain candidates should help make standardisation a priority for senior leaders and creating policies and procedures to ensure the benefits are realised.

5. Most businesses don’t fix something unless it hurts. Demonstrating proactivity and problem solving for business improvement helps candidates stand out.
Often firms only resolve supply chain planning issues after suffering through them for a painfully long period of time. Sometimes the business doesn’t even act until something unusual happens, like a change in management (George, 2018). Candidates should show an eagerness to proactively rectify a future supply chain issues they foresee occurring.

With supply chain employees having such a significant influence on how successful a consumer-facing business can become, expectations for candidates are certainly at an all-time high. This can be extremely challenging when it comes to recruiting in a tight market. As an employer, being aware of the big issues facing key supply chain roles means you will recognise the experience you require when you see it. Keep these top challenges in mind when going through the interview process, and you’ll quickly uncover who is the right fit for your role.

If you would like to discuss further, please get in touch.

Happy recruiting!
Julius De Nino

Photo by Tiger Lily