Supply Chain Talent: The Treasure to Find & Keep

The most common consumer behavior during sales periods is bargain article search, especially articles with high value but significantly lower price than regular. This happen in all markets, including stock exchange. But there are always other people willing to get rid of some assets, believing in the opposite criteria: stocks are worth less than current market prices, so they want to recover their money sooner, before losing more in that downward trend. So, the real value of an article, product or stock is a subjective criteria, based on individual needs, analysis & interpretation of future market evolution.

The issue here appears when an item that was bought for a very low price -cheaper than others- performs poorly in quality and/or requirements compared with what was expected initially by its buyer. This issue will make him/her buy a new substitute item, generating a higher total cost of the item compared with what they would have paid if they bought the more expensive one initially, with likely higher quality & performance.

I would now like to link this to talent management and professional career development, in which we are suffering an era of constant bargains and salary reductions. Taking advantage of the excess of professionals actively job searching in the face of a lower demand for candidates by companies, when they hire staff they are lowering the salary proposals they offer in order to save money. When the number of available professionals in the market exceeds the number of positions to fill there, like it has been happening in last 5/6 years in some developed countries (ie: Spain), salaries for equivalent positions are reduced by 20-30% at different organizational levels, a trend driven by the search for short-term financial savings.

By this practice, each of the hiring companies enter a negative spiral towards less talent retainment and additional loss of talent, which try to move themselves to healthier business environments. This business negative circle continues when these low performing companies choose to hire less prepared candidates -then paying less money to them-, achieving short-term financial savings, but failing to capture enough talent to make their business high performing and thus sustainable over time.

On the other side, companies that have not entered into such short-term dynamic of solely focusing on economic cost reductions, have been able to better retain their talent and attract new additional talent, which certainly gives them a medium/long term greater value, thanks to the contributions that this greater human capital will provide their businesses, for sure. In short, saving on talent is, in my opinion, a huge mistake, although in the short term it can mean immediate savings, in the medium term would lead the company to a much worse scenario than the original, with poorer business results. So, a professional who really has a value is worth it, and should be paid accordingly and fairly based on its contributions in the short, medium and long term, without rebates or salary reductions. Achieving savings by hiring at a price lower than the real market value can never be considered a good practice by a headhunter company or a hiring company. Warren Buffet once said: “Hire the best and let them do what they know, instead of hiring the cheapest to do what you tell them to”, obviously the results will be very different in both cases.

I’m sure that today hiring companies don’t select candidates who do not initially meet the required technical (“hard”) skills, and during the final personal interviews they evaluate “soft” skills such as for example: Communication skills, Learning abilities, Teamwork capabilities or adaptability to work under stress to decide who to finally contract. I would like to end with what I believe each of us can do to have more employability and opportunities to find a new job. So, let me share here my three final tips for efficient Supply Chain Talent Searching: 1. Find your own “differential value” as a candidate, knowing the real market value of the skills you can bring to a company2. Create, maintain and care for an excellent network of professional contacts, which will allow you to open doors that are probably closed for other competitor candidates3. Ensure to have proper training in essential technical skills for each position to which you’re applying. In any case advanced English knowledge and advanced spreadsheets management, are both essential for any Supply Chain professional. Finally, when having any doubt about which should be the first step, the best advice I can give you, is to ask for expert advice.

About The Author:

Miquel Serracanta is a business advisor, focused on Supply Chain, by serving the global supply chain community in optimizing End-to-End Supply Chains. Our services include Organization, Talent development (Head-hunting, Trainings, Kaizen events, Workshops, Team activities), Strategy design & implementation, Planning (S&OP, IBP) Projects & Processes continuous improvement and all SC functions performance improvement in a synchronized way: Procurement, Logistics, Transportation, Warehousing, Distribution, Last Mile, Customer Service.


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