The supply chain industry has demonstrated resilience in adapting to disruptive economies through strategic collaboration and innovation. Moving ever closer to 2024 brings fresh opportunities for supply chain leaders, such as leveraging AI to predict and prevent potential operational issues.
MRINetwork shares the top supply chain investments to look out for in the upcoming year and how they can help teams prepare for uncertainties.
Supply chain disruptions have demonstrated the importance of resilient channels for driving business continuity under the most uncertain conditions. As such, organizations must utilize every available channel to manage customer demands without issue.
Supply chain companies hiring for 2024 could prioritize candidates trained in business spend management (BSM) software. BSM could become an increasingly vital component in modern supply chain environments as companies require the infrastructure for monitoring business revenue, reducing expenses, and optimizing the bottom line in omnichannel settings.
BSM software can also give decision-makers the visibility to maintain optimal compliance and prevent fraudulent activities throughout the supply chain cycle.
With companies identifying cyber security as a major operational challenge for their supply chains through the next three years, BSM could emerge as an industry standard providing data and accountability for securing every communication channel.
The rapid rise of generative AI has opened doors to new efficiencies and cost-effective solutions. Supply chain companies could look at continuous hiring trends in the AI field, employing individuals with the technical skills and experience for handling automated workflow.
These technological adoptions would present new hiring opportunities based on data-driven decisions and predictive analytics. Hiring for 2024 could see recruiters looking for more advanced AI technology skills (e.g., prescriptive AI) and recruiting individuals who can interpret the information in complex supply chain networks.
Modern AI technology could gradually become a norm among supply chains through predictive functions that improve processes, including equipment maintenance, demand forecasting, and inbound and outbound logistics.
Supply chain companies implementing these emerging AI technologies can minimize costly delays and disruptions and gain a competitive revenue advantage in the long term. As technological developments continue to accelerate, supply chain companies need to catch up to meet the latest customer demands in the distribution industry.
Going green could remain a priority for supply chain companies hiring for 2024 as industry leaders agree on the need for visibility on sustainability performance in driving organizational performance and reducing operational risks.
More companies could work toward sustainable efforts by exploring various strategies, including supplier risk assessments, human rights advocacy, and improving business-case drivers like employee engagement and satisfaction.
Supply chain leaders could also focus on hiring talent specialized in green practices to advance their company’s sustainability efforts. For example, organizations may seek candidates with relevant skills in waste reduction/management, minimizing inventory, and eco-friendly research and development.
The cloud’s scalability, accessibility, and security make it a strategic component for supply chain operations. Companies hiring for 2024 may consider talent with cloud experience while allocating a wider budget to cloud proficiency training.
Cloud-based networks and systems are highly advantageous in managing omnichannel data, where organizations can optimize security across multiple channels. These arrangements also provide decision-makers with a lowered total cost of ownership (TCO) while maintaining a secure and intuitive user experience.
Hiring for 2024 could see companies focusing on establishing agile and resilient supply chains. These systems could lean heavily on digital supply chains, which feature the needed visibility, location intelligence, and other real-time data to deliver the most dynamic responses to volatile market conditions and industry changes.
Leaders in the supply chain industry may emphasize the importance of redefining workforce roles in tailoring to the needs and practices of the evolving landscape. Hiring managers and employers could look into digital dexterity competencies as a top employment criterion in supporting agile supply chains.
According to supply chain experts, digital dexterity comprises aspects such as:
- Business acumen: the candidate should understand the organization’s long-term goals, premises, processes, and customer needs.
- Adaptability: Candidates should have the skills and attitude to handle any unprecedented situation with confidence and focus.
- Systems thinking: Hires should understand how their individual contributions affect the outcome of other functions or groups.
The prioritization of digital dexterity within the supply chain workforce ultimately helps companies collaborate efficiently with various teams and stakeholders to ensure undisrupted workflow operations during the most uncertain situations. From a broader perspective, supply chain leaders should provide employees with sufficient guidance on data literacy to cope with the rapid demands of agile supply networks. These initiatives may include workshops that promote a deeper understanding of data analytics with real-world use cases.
As supply chains continue to learn and adapt through recent challenges and disruptions, there comes a greater inclination for digital and agile environments. Although new tech deployments are needed to realize these environments in 2024, there’s an equally important need for a prepared workforce. Now is a critical moment for supply chain leaders to identify, redefine, and develop employee competencies for the digital journey ahead that presents new possibilities through the power of data.