Are You Struggling To Close The Skills Gap In Your Supply Chain? You Are Not Alone

08 December 2021

The 2021 Report by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), a global leader in supply chain organizational transformation, innovation, and leadership, reports that the Covid-19 pandemic has increased demand for skilled supply chain professionals.

This need has also been identified in South Africa, where a gazetted list of critical skills identifies supply chain and distribution managers, including logistics managers, as scarce skills in the “Highest” level of demand.

Read: Government Gazette on Scare Skills List in South Africa

List of scarce skills in South Africa in 2021

However, according to SAPICS, a professional body for supply chain management, the shortage of supply chain management skills in South Africa is due to the profession being misunderstood and undervalued, and failing to appeal to the young, emerging talent it so desperately needs. This is notwithstanding a 46.3 percent unemployment rate among young people aged 15 – 34 years in the first quarter of 2021, as reported by Statistics South Africa.

It would seem that young people are still by and large landing up in the supply chain sector by accident rather than choosing to get into the field. This is in spite of the fact that 81 percent of supply chain professionals are satisfied with their remuneration and benefits, according to ASCM.

Just as the Covid-19 crisis has brought about great disruption to the supply chain sector, so too has the Industry 4.0 phenomenon brought unprecedented disruptions to traditional business models. For example, the so-called Supply 4.0 has introduced the application of the Internet of Things, advanced robotics, and advanced big data analytics in supply chain management. Businesses are struggling to find people with skills and expertise in the 21-century era.

The severe skills shortage significantly impacts South African supply chains’ competitiveness, which has thrust supply chains and supply chain management into the limelight. According to Argentus, it only worsens as the baby boomer generation nears retirement. There is a lack of concerted, industry-wide initiatives to bring more young people into the field.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There are untapped opportunities in the sector. Tech-savvy millennials and Generation Z have the potential to leverage Supply 4.0 and drive supply chain transformation. A current, coherent curriculum embedded with a combination of technologies and techniques including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotic process automation will appeal to young professionals who are eager to find opportunities for growth and be involved in change leadership.

Our accredited supply chain and logistics management courses can provide the training necessary to close the skills gap in the supply chain and give professionals a boost to their careers. 

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