The supply chain crisis and how it's impacting hiring

by Jessi Cohen and Joe Opaleski

As Covid-19 cases continue to rise and fall globally, fallout from factory shutdowns and pandemic regulation continues to impact the global supply chain. Although shipping times have improved since full-on gridlocks took hold in 2020, the ongoing crisis has forced many industries to continually adapt.

Right now, cargo ships around the world are sitting for two weeks or more waiting to unload various products, and the cost of transporting them is four times higher than it was in 2020. Researchers explain this issue in two ways: poor forecasting accuracy and panic buying.

According to E2open’s 2021 Forecasting and Inventory Benchmark Study, organizations had no way of predicting changes in consumer behavior due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic. Panic buying made the issue worse, because consumers began scooping up products that were historically in lesser demand. The result: shelves were emptied, and the supply chain failed to catch up.

Another factor currently affecting the supply chain is an ongoing labor shortage. There aren’t enough key workers in manufacturing, warehouses, imports, exports, truck driving and the overall supply chain to keep up with necessary day-to-day work. When we experience labor shortages and reduced productivity at our ports and factories, the “just-in-time” shipping model becomes infeasible, resulting in delays and cancellations in all kinds of goods.

These disruptions are not exclusively affecting consumers. Industries of all types have had to cope, from warehouse workers to executive recruiters. 

According to Greg Harper, senior vice president for Charles Aris’s Engineering, Operations and Supply Chain practice, organizations within the supply chain industry are increasingly in need of data-minded executives to stay ahead of this curve, which has upped the standards for their candidates.

“What it takes to be successful in the supply chain today is different from what it used to be 10 to 12 years ago,” Harper said. “. . . today in the supply chain you've got to have a lot of analytical and statistical capabilities.”

Using a data-driven approach in the supply chain industry allows organizations to better forecast market trends and to predict potential risks from suppliers. Recruiters within Charles Aris’s Engineering, Operations & Supply Chain practice are increasingly seeking data-minded candidates to fill positions in this field, so that companies can become more resilient to global shortages.

Harper urges candidates to learn how to track data through the use of ERP and CRM systems, understand AI and machine learning and be well versed in Internet of Things (IoT) to stay competitive. “It's just paramount,” he added.