With digital technology speeding up supply chain operations for companies of all kinds, it's more important than ever for businesses to have visionary leaders in charge of their logistics departments. Transformations imposed over the next few years could determine whether firms gain on their competitors or fall behind, and the demand for the same skill set throughout the corporate world has created a talent gap. There simply aren't enough supply chain pros to fill the roles opening for them.
There are a few ways to tackle a shortage of qualified professionals in any role. Companies may increase their spending on salaries, hoping to outbid rivals. They can also focus on internal training programs or invest in education and academia in the hopes of boosting the prevalence of relevant skills among their top personnel. While organizations have certainly taken all three of these approaches to the issue of supply chain skills needs, the last of those three recently received high-profile support.
Walmart sends workers to school
According to Supply Chain Digital, Walmart has announced a program that will allow workers to seek degrees in business or supply chain management from one of three schools catering heavily to continuing and adult education. The offer applies widely across the workforce, to employees who currently work in the supply chain and those who are on staff at Walmart or Sam's Club stores.
The synergy of the diploma subsidy program goes beyond Walmart getting more trained supply chain leaders, as well. The company is working with its academic partners to help employees get college credit for relevant knowledge they gain in training on the job. This way, employees will be using their workplace training to get closer to degrees while receiving financial help to get credentials that can empower the company's efforts. If the program works as designed, both parties will benefit.
The valuable skills that employees learn in supply chain degree programs can remain off-limits if these workers feel they can't afford to go back to school. Walmart's stated intention with the program is to remove that barrier, and thus start many of its professionals on a path to greater knowledge.
According to Spend Matters, getting a supply chain education is an especially prevalent pastime among young employees in the field. This is due to a confluence of factors, such as a general millennial interest in pursuing college at high rates and the recent development of more specialized programs targeting the supply chain. Older workers may have pursued supply chain degrees were they available in years past, but many universities have only added these options recently.
Spend Matters added that millennials in the supply chain tend to care deeply about continuing their education, whether through advanced degrees or industry-specific certifications. Among surveyed workers, 65 percent stated their intention to take additional classes in the next year. They are interested in advancing through the ranks, bettering their own performance and being tasked with more advanced work. This desire for learning, coupled with funding options such as Walmart's, could trigger a wave of supply chain education.