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Why Talent is Crucial to Your Supply Chain Strategy


A company is only as successful as it’s most important asset, it’s people. The cycle of hiring, training, and promoting from within are the goals of each human resources department. An important qualification must be made here however. Successful managers are not interested in having a “Now Hiring” advertisement up throughout the fiscal year.

Why is this? It’s bad for business. This indicates a deep rooted problem within the organization. Turnover is inevitable in the supply chain sector, we understand and accept this truth. Does the turnover have to be at such a high percentage?

No. Talent acquisition, retention, and advancement is crucial to Supply Chain Management success.  

Talent Acquisition 

There is a billing support center located 2 miles from my home, and I drive by it at least 3 or 4 times a week. For the past 2 or so years, a “Now Hiring” banner has been prominently displayed at the main entrance. This banner has not been taken down in this 2 or so years. The message that this worldwide company is sending? Don’t do business with us.

The hiring practice of this company is flawed, as is the organizational culture. With a “herd” mentality, they hire and replace with ease. The problem is the far-reaching effects on the organization. Customers suffer, and they take their hard earned money elsewhere. Supply Chain Management is no different. 

Does your organization have the mentality of “If we lose them, we will just replace them”? Or, are you more interested in hiring the right talent for the position, all the while bearing in mind the need for the new hire to be open-minded to learning new skills to grow within the organization?

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Talent Retention

All 3 areas covered here should be part of your Supply Chain Strategy. The people make it work. Once the right people are hired in, individuals who demonstrate a dedication to your mission statement and a willingness to go the extra mile, the next challenge is retaining them. 

This starts at the top of the organizational chart. Is senior management core values in line with the hierarchy of the organization, both vertically and horizontally? Are your middle management personnel demonstrating the same values as senior management? Talent retention starts, and ends, at the top.

Going back to the example previously mentioned, the culture of this business (with the “Now Hiring” sign) is clearly on display for the world to see. This building holds 600 employees. The perception, and reality, of this company is this - we are not a good company to work for.

How to decrease turnover starts with the organizational culture. You can have the best hiring practices; yet if the culture is prone to gossip, backstabbing, politics, and unfair wages, your company will suffer.

So, before your human resources department shreds the old hiring practices and comes in with the new, inventory the culture. Bringing in the right talent to a sick culture will result in a permanent “Now Hiring” sign out front.

The right talent will be attracted to your organization, instead of having to advertise to them. They will stay and grow.

Talent Advancement

Let’s assume that you are a senior member of management overseeing the warehouses and logistics. How many of your employees are cross-trained? Are your pickers able to fill in for the receiving department if there is a call off? A differentiation strategy in managing your talent will pay dividends in retention and advancement. 

In this line of work, warehousing, and logistics, talent is often specialized. There is nothing wrong with the man or woman who has worked a tow for 25 years, we need their experience. However, this creates a logjam effect, in that their room for advancement to fill openings up the hierarchy chain is nonexistent. 

In order to fill someone else’s shoes, there should be a culture of differentiation. Employees should be encouraged to train in other departments, to learn and use new skills. This accomplishes two important tasks within your Supply Chain Strategy, it creates new opportunities for advancement and it empowers your staff to feel “a part of” the whole organization. That “Now Hiring” sign should be collecting dust in a storage closet.

Time is of the essence in all industries, and warehousing and logistics is no exception. Customers expect their products to be on the shelf as advertised. This is not an overnight matter, ensuring the talent that is at work in your organization is matching, or exceeding, expectations. It starts with the organizational culture already present.

With a healthy culture, it will not be necessary, over time, to advertise for new hires. They will come to you. The talent that is already in place will thrive as they are encouraged to learn other aspects of the business. Advancement opportunities will come, and the crew in place will be ready to fill the open slots. Finally, your customers will reap the rewards.

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Topics: Warehouse Management