Supply chain job postings point to a lack of automation and innovation

Technology and supply chain business jobs analyzed by B2B firm Cleo show that roles are still mired in highly manual activities.

Image: Visual Generation/Adobe Stock

One of the main ways supply chain companies can be more competitive in the market is to automate and digitize their operations and processes as much as possible. This not only improves the overall workflow, but also allows employees to focus on more demanding and critical tasks. Despite this, a recent report from B2B integration software company Cleo found that supply chain jobs are failing to keep up with the latest digitization efforts.

For its new report “What Supply Chain Recruiting Tells Us About IT Agility and Innovation in 2023,” Cleo reviewed 182 supply chain-oriented open positions on the Indeed job board in September. 2022. After analyzing the data, Cleo determined that these types of jobs are still extremely manual in a time when roles and tasks should be further automated.

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What is the impact of this supply chain automation deficit?

The repercussions of this lack of supply chain automation are two-fold: first, companies that fail to keep pace with digitalization risk being thwarted by more tech-savvy competitors; second, job seekers with the necessary technology skills are more likely to look elsewhere for the right opportunities.

“These findings clearly point to a deep supply chain automation deficit at a time when companies can least afford it,” Tushar Patel, chief marketing officer at Cleo, said in a statement. “Software technology, people and processes have not come together in a transformational way that has truly permeated supply chain organizations. The lack of recruitment of people skilled in modern software will leave organizations struggling to maintain operational efficiency – which is desperately needed in an increasingly fierce supply chain marketplace.

Is ERP and software experience required for these supply chain jobs?

For example, only 30% of job postings require ERP experience. Designed to help organizations manage and integrate different aspects of their business, ERP software is an important factor in reducing reliance on manual processes.

As another example, 42% of leadership positions advertised by supply chain companies did not require any software experience. A lack of this skill poses challenges for managers not only in their own work, but in their dealings with the employees under their supervision.

How these survey results differed by region

About 40% of the jobs listed were for companies in the South, with 20% located in Florida or Georgia. In the Northeast, only one in three management positions mention supply chain software in the description. In the South and Midwest regions, more than half of leadership positions mentioned software experience. But in the West, managers had to demonstrate expertise with at least one software application on average (Figure A).

Figure A

Image: Cleo

To help supply chain companies reduce their reliance on outdated manual processes, Cleo advises them to adopt certain applications, starting with ERP, but possibly including supply chain planning. procurement, transportation management systems, and manufacturing execution systems, as applicable.

“By integrating and automating the business processes between an organization’s ecosystem (customers, partners, suppliers, and marketplaces) and these core back-end systems, organizations can track and analyze data across the enterprise to produce insights that fuel real-time business decisions – removing the need for overly manual activities to optimize the business,” Cleo said in its report.

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