by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

Cultivating the Next Generation of Supply Chain Leaders

Cultivating the Next Generation of Supply Chain Leaders

Three strategies cold chain shippers can use to ensure strong supply chain leadership today and in the future.

With the national unemployment rate hovering around 4%, the supply chain field is in the same quandary that many other industries are in right now—namely, finding skilled and available talent to fill their employee pipelines.

Going a step further, identifying and cultivating individuals who can lead the supply chain of the future is even more difficult, what with the abundance of jobs and opportunities that experienced professionals literally have at their fingertips online.

“Manufacturing, retail, logistics, and a range of other companies are scrambling to find supply chain professionals amid a severe talent shortage that threatens those companies’ very livelihoods,” Margaret Harrist writes in Supply Chain Talent Shortage: What’s an Industry To Do?

“At the same time, the skills needed are changing rapidly,” Harrist continues. “The challenge for employers is to find people with the necessary technical and operational competencies, as well as the ability to lead, apply analytical thinking, and innovate.”

Three Steps to Take Right Now

Here are three strategies that cold chain shippers can use to start shoring up their supply chain leadership pipelines for the future:

  • Define your company’s mission. According to the American Management Association, only 18 percent of managers and executives have a succession plan in place to respond to a sudden loss of key executives—not nearly enough to keep business productivity up as people retire, despite the added number of supply chain undergraduate and graduate programs. This is a major oversight for any cold chain shipper that wants to ensure a smooth transition to the next generation of supply chain leadership. “To get started, define an organization or team mission that identifies the specific objectives of your vertical, then use that mission as the foundation of your succession plan,” Tisha Danehl points out in Supply Chain Quarterly. An example of a mission may be something like: “Our goal is to provide quality service to customers while using technology to be sustainable.”
  • Position supply chain as a hotbed for new technologies. According to a recent industry survey, 70% of companies said that candidates’ perception that the “profession lacks status and opportunities for career growth have a high or very high impact on employers’ ability to find, attract, and retain talented people,” Harrist writes, noting that in many cases, those perceptions sometimes are perpetuated by the employers themselves. To buck this trend, focus on how supply chain professionals use emerging technologies (i.e., the Internet of Things, machine learning, robotics), and on how it “allows professionals to focus on several areas that are attractive to young people: improving environmental sustainability and increasing standards of living.”
  • Look outside of your organization’s four walls. “While it’s ideal to look internally, the truth is that sometimes you must go outside your organization to find the right person to lead your logistics or supply chain organization in the future,” Danehl suggests. “With senior leadership potentially approaching retirement, partnering with outside resources, such as a recruiting firm, can help you fill important roles.” Social media (i.e., LinkedIn and the new “Jobs on Facebook” feature), professional trade organizations, and partnerships with area educational institutions are all good resources for shippers to explore.

“By hiring talent directly out of college,” Danehl writes, “you can get an early sense of the candidates’ capabilities and build your workforce from the ground up to ensure that your future supply chain leaders have the right management skills.”

Are you interested in joining the Hanson Logistics team? We look forward to getting to know you, contact us today to learn about our current openings!

by Hanson Logistics Hanson Logistics

How the New Generation of “Fast Food” is Impacting Food Logistics

How the New Generation of “Fast Food” is Impacting Food Logistics

Much like Uber did to ground transportation and Airbnb is doing to the hotel industry, doorstep food delivery is disrupting the food supply chain with its promise of delivering everything from raw ingredients to hot-and-tasty dishes right to the consumers’ doorstep.

In a world where searching for ingredients, visiting a store for those goods, and then going home to cook meals is giving way to more immediate, on-demand options, the logistics industry has found itself in an interesting position.

And when consumers can get their favorite meals with the tap of a mobile phone, both cold chains and refrigerated warehouses must be able to adapt quickly to that level of order fulfillment.

“The cold chain industry is changing fast. Between the increased development and usage of temperature sensitive biologic pharmaceuticals and consumer preferences for convenient, fresh foods, the cold chain must adapt quickly,” Datex Corp., notes in its 2018 3PL Refrigerated Warehouse & Cold Chain Trends report.

The All-Powerful Consumer is in Charge

With more than 600 refrigerated warehouse operators across the U.S., the cold storage warehouse industry is dominated by the top 10 companies, which own 80% of the market. This trend is poised to continue, Datex reports, as the largest enterprises merge or acquire smaller cold storage warehouse operations.

Consumer power is a major factor dominating the cold chain, where convenience, wholesome food, and just-in-time delivery are converging and creating new supply chain challenges. The shift away from highly-processed foods with a long shelf life to temperature-sensitive perishable food products, for example, requires an adjustment in the food supply chain.

“Because consumers value convenience and fast delivery, there are added complications,” Datex notes. “From U.S. ports to distribution centers, 3PLs and privately-owned refrigerated warehouses, designing a cold chain that meets consumers’ needs can seem daunting.”

More fresh and chilled products are being ordered in smaller quantities and from a wider range of product choices, Datex adds, leading to a proliferation of new product development, product and packaging changes, and updates.

“The food and grocery industry is changing at breakneck speed, due to consumer buying habits and expectations,” Datex concludes. “The cold chain needs to change and must become as flexible and transparent as possible and that will take technology, forward-thinking business executives and investments in innovation.”

Feeling the Impacts

In Blue Apron and the Subscription Retail Supply Chain, Arc Advisory Group’s Chris Cunnane says consumers like the model for its sheer convenience. Suppliers, on the other hand, face some unprecedented challenges in the race to provide that convenience.

Ensuring that ingredients are kept fresh during the delivery process, for example, incorporates both storage and delivery. The last mile, warehousing expenses, and labor also present their own challenges for companies with these new food delivery models.

“With continued innovation, and more companies joining the subscription ranks, the market is poised to continue to put more control over the shopping experience in the hands of the customer,” Cunnane notes. “The big question is whether these companies have the supply chain to accommodate the change.”

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The Future of Cold Chain Logistics

The Future of Cold Chain Logistics

The future of cold chain logistics is almost always in transition: from growth to slow-downs, modified trends to shifted needs from customers. After two considerably slow years for the industry in 2014 and 2015, shipping providers are eager to see a new era for logistics.

That new era might be closer than we think: the Council of Supply Chain Logistics released its 27th Annual State of Logistics Report and suggested a shift to a more sound logistics industry. The report documented the positive changes in the logistics market from last year. This showed providers it may be time to accommodate accordingly.

The Findings

In this year’s report, what began as lulls in traffic and a rise in costs for businesses has accelerated into a cost efficient system. This includes having services available in plenty, with agreeable pricing and rationalized demand. The report mentioned an increase in supply chain transparency as it continues to grow. Another highlight was technological changes for 3PLs, helping enable more efficient production of data to drivers and coordinators alike.

Interpretations

What does this mean for providers? An air of excitement looking forward into a stronger industry. This also infers more promising results as the next few months finish out the quarter.

Partner with us in the new era for cold chain logistics. At Hanson, no matter the change in industry, we are always saying “Yes, We Can!” to providing solutions and pursuing excellence.