Executive Briefings

The Battle for Supply Chain Talent

Tammy Bliss recently left a career with Fortune 500 companies to become an entrepreneur. These two worlds share many challenges, including finding and keeping talented employees, she says. Bliss also discusses her new company, ConversionR, which promotes reuse of cardboard cartons.

There is a war for talent in manufacturing, distribution and logistics for one simple reason, says Bliss, business development leader at ConversionR. "The supply of new talent coming into the industry simply is not enough to fill the needs."

One positive step that some companies are taking - and many more need to take - is developing effective internship programs, says Bliss. "It is no longer enough to bring a new person in and sit him or her at a desk developing Excel spreadsheets. These young people want to work on meaty projects with meaningful incentives, like a housing allowance."

Companies also need to do a much better job marketing the supply chain as a career to young people, she says. “They need to bring these students into their facilities and let them see the cool stuff they are doing and the technology involved,” she says. “Those are the hooks that will get them interested for the future.”

This marketing should begin in high school, Bliss says. “In North Carolina we had a program to place special guidance counselors in high schools to talk about supply chain and manufacturing careers with students, so they start to realize there are viable options other than going to college to become a lawyer. We brought them into manufacturing plants and distribution centers and they got really excited by that.”

After a business career with a number of leading companies, Bliss recently became an entrepreneur, starting ConversionR, a company that works with manufacturing and retail supply chains to get extra use out of cardboard boxes. Instead of scrapping or recycling this material, ConversionR takes and sorts the flattened boxes and sells them to pick/pack operations for another use.

Every ton of cardboard that gets reused saves more than 18,000 gallons of water that would be used in making new boxes, says Bliss. ConversionR customers also get more for their boxes by selling them for reuse rather than scrap. “Companies that understand the need to move the recycling curve up to reuse are very interested in this model,” she says.

To view the video in its entirety, click here

There is a war for talent in manufacturing, distribution and logistics for one simple reason, says Bliss, business development leader at ConversionR. "The supply of new talent coming into the industry simply is not enough to fill the needs."

One positive step that some companies are taking - and many more need to take - is developing effective internship programs, says Bliss. "It is no longer enough to bring a new person in and sit him or her at a desk developing Excel spreadsheets. These young people want to work on meaty projects with meaningful incentives, like a housing allowance."

Companies also need to do a much better job marketing the supply chain as a career to young people, she says. “They need to bring these students into their facilities and let them see the cool stuff they are doing and the technology involved,” she says. “Those are the hooks that will get them interested for the future.”

This marketing should begin in high school, Bliss says. “In North Carolina we had a program to place special guidance counselors in high schools to talk about supply chain and manufacturing careers with students, so they start to realize there are viable options other than going to college to become a lawyer. We brought them into manufacturing plants and distribution centers and they got really excited by that.”

After a business career with a number of leading companies, Bliss recently became an entrepreneur, starting ConversionR, a company that works with manufacturing and retail supply chains to get extra use out of cardboard boxes. Instead of scrapping or recycling this material, ConversionR takes and sorts the flattened boxes and sells them to pick/pack operations for another use.

Every ton of cardboard that gets reused saves more than 18,000 gallons of water that would be used in making new boxes, says Bliss. ConversionR customers also get more for their boxes by selling them for reuse rather than scrap. “Companies that understand the need to move the recycling curve up to reuse are very interested in this model,” she says.

To view the video in its entirety, click here