Rizza sees multiple factors as contributing to the current shortage of procurement talent. They include consumer changes around the globe, with dramatic shifts favoring China, Asia, India and Africa. The change will require more synchronization and better understanding of how to get products to unfamiliar markets more quickly.
Financial changes are also in the offing, says Rizza. "Mass customization" demands a whole new set of management skills among procurement professionals. They need to develop closer supplier relationships, and understand the impact of localization as well as the keys to shifting into larger markets.
Companies are also seeing a "massive change" in technology related to manufacturing and procurement, Rizza says. Finally, they must deal with the need for leadership that can adjust to new strategies for maintaining global supply chains.
A study by Gartner of 458 global companies uncovered a number of areas of concern on the procurement side, relating to basic, intermediate and advanced skill sets. Companies today are looking for individuals who are geared toward building relationships with partners across the supply chain. "It's an advanced leadership style that's really missing," says Rizza, adding that "new-product introduction [expertise] is nowhere to be found." The ability to address sustainability issues is similarly lacking, she says.
There are a number of possible remedies for addressing the skills shortage. They include the setting up of development and training programs, with an emphasis on analytics. On the issue of new-product introductions, managers need to understand how to achieve a deeper understanding of market needs, well beyond a focus on cost. They must also do a better job of managing business-to-business relationships. "It's a whole different value stream," says Rizza.
She is generally positive about the prospects for closing the skills gap. Companies are beginning to make the right investments, focusing on advancing their employees to the next level of expertise. "Bottom line," she says, "it's a great time to be in procurement."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, international trade, inventory management, supply chain planning, sourcing solutions, supply chain careers
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