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It is not surprising that new supply chain roles and skills will be required to execute supply chain operations in the future. But how should an organisation in an industry that is admittedly steeped in traditional ways of working balance the co-existence of both digital and human work?

Supply chain organisations are facing stiff competition from non-supply chain companies, as well as other functions within their own organisation, in attracting new skills and are faced with a gap for new talent that balances analytics skills and supply chain expertise

To address the evolving skills landscape, decreasing talent pool, shifting demographics, including where, how and when people want to work, and the need to prioritise dexterity over technical know-how, the supply chain of the future will be obliged to focus on these key components:

  • Digital and human co-existence — Create a modern, digital working environment where employees are less burdened with repetitive tasks but key decision-making remains with human experience.
  • Supply chain as a business partner — Shift to a culture where supply chain is a business partner across functions.
  • Digital centre of excellence — Deploy a digital centre of excellence to accelerate value creation that focuses investment on the most impactful opportunities across functions.
  • New roles — Identify roles, skills and behaviours needed to meet an organisation’s targets.

There are six actions organisations can take to hasten their shift to such a state:

  • monitor trends impacting the workforce by continuously scanning the environment to better understand which skills will make a difference
  • manage current and emerging workforce skills by anticipating competency gaps and advancing both ‘social-creative’ and technical skills
  • take an ‘outside-in’ approach to hiring by looking to other industries for analysts — including ones you would not previously have considered, like gaming and betting
  • create an environment that is attractive to technical specialists by offering flexible schedules, a diverse and inclusive culture, and opportunities for advanced learning
  • encourage supply chain collaboration with academia, third-party logistics (3PL) providers and internal functions
  • establish a global knowledge management model that codifies skills using heuristic modelling, creating blocks of knowledge for use by the next generation of workers.


Rakesh Agarwal

Rakesh Agarwal
KPMG in Singapore

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