November 15, 2010, 5:18 PM — One critical shortage in the supply chain right now has nothing to do with Apple iPhones, Nintendo Wiis or Zhu Zhu Pets being out of stock for the holidays: It's the people who manage companies' supply chains.
This talent shortage is certainly not linked to the number of prospective employees in the labor pool. First, U.S. unemployment rages on, at close to 10%. Second, as O'Marah points out in a recent "First Thing Monday" opinion piece, some 40 colleges and universities (notably Stanford's and MIT's supply chain programs) stock the pipeline every year with fresh talent.
"The stack of resumes flowing into our offices may be anecdotal evidence," O'Marah observes, "but I'm certainly impressed by both the quantity and quality of people out there looking for work."
Rather, supply chain leaders have told O'Marah that there's a surplus of candidates with narrow technical skillsets (such as an ability to cut costs) and a shortage of those who possess broader business skills (such as the ability to manage growth globally).
The MIT study ("Are You Prepared for the Supply Chain Talent Crisis?") sums up the situation ominously: Today's "supply chain faces a severe shortage of talent at a time when the demands on the profession have never been greater."