Procurement and supply chain is a dynamic sector to work in - even in so-called normal times. The impact of the pandemic, Brexit and a variety of other geo-political and socio-political situations have resulted in a number of challenges of late. As a sector, we have had to adapt and overcome the obstacles. We have had to be agile and flexible in our approach to operational activities, resource management - and our recruitment strategies.
As we inch closer to a post-lockdown world, it is more important than ever to ensure you have the right people with the right skills on your team. But in a fast-changing world, how do you know which skill bases to prioritise, especially when budgets are tight? And how do you go about finding this top talent - before your competitors do? This article takes a look at which procurement and supply chain skills will be needed for businesses to remain successful and resilient in 2021 and beyond.
The ability to work independently
Naturally, this depends on the level of the employee - you wouldn’t expect someone very junior to be able to work entirely independently from the get-go. But considering many of us will be working remotely to some degree for the foreseeable future, it is vital to ensure that any new recruits are comfortable with doing so.
Make sure you include the ability to work independently in the job spec and - as far as you can - clarify how much time the employee is likely to be working on-site and remotely, at least in the short term. You might be able to gauge from a candidate’s CV if they have been successful or comfortable when working remotely in the past or you can talk about their preferred ways of working at the interview stage. You could even ask them about how they have managed particular situations during lockdown to check they would be able to manage the expected tasks, workload and level of contact.
Data and analytics
A 2020 survey from Gartner, entitled Developing the Supply Chain Professional 2020 found that 47% of respondents expect to increase the speed of their digital initiatives to make sure they achieve the necessary growth. Though a Gartner survey from the previous year found only 27% of leaders agree that they have the talent needed to meet current supply chain performance requirements. If you feel that your business needs to focus on digital transformation, now is the time to act. Candidates with AI, machine learning, cloud computing, Internet of Things, data and analytics skills are highly sought after in procurement and supply chain right now, so if you don’t want to lose out on the best tech talent talk to us today.
Another so-called soft skill but one that is increasingly important in business. If you think back to all your most challenging experiences in 2020; the stresses and heated moments with suppliers, the headaches you had managing teams remotely. One of the key things that got us through these challenges was showing empathy for one another. Empathy drives us to find a middle ground, it can help dissipate tensions and it creates room for finding solutions. Ensuring your team is able to demonstrate empathy with both colleagues and customers will put you in a much better position to tackle internal and external obstacles in the future. Good client relationships are vital right now. Recruiting and retaining candidates who are compassionate and can build rapport with clients is a valuable asset indeed.
As with working independently, the need for this will depend on the level of the role and the candidate, ‘though employees who are in more junior roles should be encouraged to foster and demonstrate leadership skills - especially if they have ambitions to move up in the world of procurement and supply chain. With teams working remotely and employees required to work at unprecedented levels of adaptability and flexibility, having employees with strong leadership skills is gold dust. Being able to rely on others to find solutions to problems without having to check in every five minutes, knowing that you can count on people to identify and mitigate issues swiftly and effectively without having to be asked, means you have more time to move the business forward and you don’t have to concern yourself with fighting every fire.
Exceptional project managers are a key ingredient for ensuring your business is resilient and successful. You want people who are thinking one step ahead, how aren’t daunted by issues or even crises. You want people who are aware of the big picture and understand how every member of your team and every element of your operations sit within it. You want people who can bring your team together to work towards a shared goal (even if that goal is a moving target).
If you think that person or any of the people above don’t exist, think again. At Bramwith, we have an unrivalled pool of procurement and supply chain professionals who are highly-qualified, and exceptionally talented - and they’re eager for a new challenge. If you would like to talk to us about growing your team or about what you need to do to digitally transform your workforce, talk to us. We understand your challenges and we can help.
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