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As growth starts to pick up, supply chain talent is under a whole new set of pressures.
Accenture’s Geoff Deines analyzes what companies need to do to empower their supply chain workforces to execute at the pace required to excel in the hypercompetitive global environment—and ultimately attain high performance.
In today’s highly uneven and complex global economy, with growth slowing and recession fears increasing, companies are looking at new opportunities to manage costs and drive growth. Further complicating business models is the fact that growth is occurring almost entirely in emerging markets, and a two-speed economy has developed that is likely to endure for some time to come.
In this new era of globalization, emerging markets require more resources (investments, materials, commodities and talent) than mature markets, which are being asked to do more with less and still deliver expected profitability.
This disparity contributes to a hypercompetitive, complex environment of rapidly evolving customer expectations and eroding margins. Most supply chain workforces are unable to execute at the pace required to excel in this environment.
Many companies used the downturn to streamline operations and become more efficient. Some companies invested in new technology, capital and infrastructure; and some focused on luring talent from less fortunate companies. These tactics, while useful, were typically executed in isolation and outside the context of a clear talent strategy. As a result, few companies reaped the returns they expected.
Supply chains must now embrace a constant diet of volatility and create a level of operational excellence that will allow them to “sustain performance no matter what is occurring in the larger economy.” And while both of these are core operational objectives, we believe that, to excel, supply chains must also create a human capital strategy that integrates operational performance objectives with the organization, talent, culture, leadership and analytic capabilities required to drive sustainable growth and create a lasting talent advantage.
Putting these human capital elements together in alignment with supply chain operational strategies is the critical action that high performers are pursuing today. Witness the success of supply chains at UPS, Procter & Gamble, Danaher and Reckitt Benckiser in leveraging talent to outperform their peers in a consistent and enduring manner.
In the current two-speed recovery, companies can create a supply chain talent advantage by aligning their operational strategies with an integrated human capital program focused on:
Accenture has extensive experience in helping some of the world’s leading companies become talent-powered organizations.
Geoff Deines is an executive director in Accenture Talent & Organization Performance consulting. He has over 15 years’ experience in talent management and organization change management across retail, consumer goods and automotive clients. He has supported many clients in developing their workforces to improve and sustain high business performance. Based in Detroit, he is the global Supply Chain group co-lead, responsible for developing client solutions across all industries.
August 29, 2011
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