A busy sea port with large cranes moving cargo containers off large ships as part of a logistics management
Exploring Career Opportunities in Supply Chain

The supply chain represents a complex network of activities that transition products from the drawing board to your doorstep. Amidst evolving supply chain’s global challenges and technological advancements, a diverse group of professionals manages this intricate flow of goods and services to ensure they are delivered efficiently and cost-effectively.

Supply chain management is an exciting and rewarding career and in this post we look at some of the core functions of supply chain professionals and highlight some of the brilliant career options. 

What are the key elements of a job role as a supply chain professional:
  • Strategic Planning: Professionals in strategic planning are pivotal in forecasting demand, optimising inventory levels and aligning supply chain activities with organisational objectives. Using advanced data analytics and market research, strategists anticipate future needs and develop actionable strategies to meet changing market demands efficiently.
  • Procurement: This role focuses on sourcing materials, negotiating contracts and ensuring both cost-efficiency and quality control. Procurement experts use their negotiation skills and supplier relationship management techniques to secure the best value for their organisations which means skilled procurement can have a significant impact on profitability and product quality.
  • Logistics Management: Logistics professionals oversee the physical movement of goods from origin to destination. They streamline transportation routes, manage warehouse operations and ensure timely deliveries. This is all done in the context of complying with regulations and maintaining safety protocols. Their efforts are crucial in minimising logistical errors and enhancing customer satisfaction.
  • Inventory Management: Inventory managers play a key role in maintaining optimal inventory levels to meet customer demand without excessive costs. This requires excellent data analysis and forecasting skills to ensure product availability and minimise waste which can directly affect a company’s bottom line.
  • Data Analysis and Technology Integration: Modern supply chains are increasingly powered by data analytics and technology. Professionals in this area collaborate with data analysts and IT experts to integrate innovative technology solutions and provide actionable insights to drive efficiency and reduce supply chain risk.  
There are a diverse range career options within the supply chain management sector such as: 
  • Supply Chain Analyst: Specialises in analysing data to optimise processes and enhance efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 
  • Procurement Specialist: Focuses on developing sourcing strategies, managing vendor contracts and cultivating supplier relationships to secure the best terms for materials and services. 
  • Logistics Coordinator: Ensures the efficient transport and storage of goods, managing all aspects of logistics operations from planning to delivery. 
  • Demand Planner: Uses historical data, market trends, and predictive analytics to forecast customer demand, informing production and inventory decisions. 
  • Supply Chain Manager: Oversees all aspects of the supply chain, from procurement to inventory management, ensuring seamless operations and strategic alignment with business goals. 
A thriving field with a promising future:

The supply chain sector is at the forefront of rapid transformation due to technological innovation, globalisation and shifting consumer expectations. From the food-fast sector to the rail industry and from manufacturing to utilities the supply chain and procurement profession is a fast moving landscape offers fantastic opportunities for professionals who combine technical know-how with strong analytical, problem-solving and interpersonal skills.  

Read more about careers in Supply Chain management here: –

Association of Supply Chain Management: Supply Chain Management Careers 

The Top 100 Women in global supply chain management who are driving positive impact and innovation across the sector. 

Two business people sitting at a desk in a office discussing a project
Why Organisations turn to Interims for Essential Support

In the current rapidly changing business and commercial landscape, organisations can often find themselves in need of specialist expertise to guide them through transitional periods, manage projects or drive change.  

This is where interim managers and consultants come into play, offering a wealth of experience, expert knowledge, authority and the flexibility that can support companies facing strategic shifts or needing to fill critical job role gaps temporarily.  

Here’s some of the key reasons why businesses increasingly rely on these high-calibre professionals for additional support to meet objectives.  

Expertise during changing times  

Organisations often undergo periods of significant change, such as mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, or rapid growth that strains existing resources.  

Interims can bring specialised knowledge and expertise that might not exist internally, providing leadership to steer the company through these complex situations effectively.  

They can be adept at navigating uncertain waters and can be the steadying force needed to maintain momentum and ensure continuity. 

Immediate impact at pace   

One of the most compelling aspects of hiring Interim expertise is the speed at which they can become effective and have an impact.  

Great interim professionals are accustomed to moving into different environments and quickly making sense of the organisational dynamics and challenges.  

With their high level of competence and experience, they can hit the ground running, making immediate impacts where it’s most needed. 

Objective and fresh perspectives 

Being temporary and typically not aiming for a permanent position in the company, the right Interim can provide unbiased perspectives on the business’s challenges and opportunities.  

This objectivity enables them to make tough decisions without the influence of company politics or culture, which might stifle necessary change. Their fresh eyes can identify overlooked issues and initiate new strategies that drive innovation and efficiency. 

Flexibility and cost-effectiveness 

For many companies, the flexibility that Interims offer is a significant advantage. They can be brought in for a specific project or period, which helps control costs and reduces the long-term commitments associated with hiring full-time senior executives. This cost-effectiveness combined with their ability to deliver targeted expertise where it’s needed most, provides a compelling value proposition for businesses managing tight budgets or specific project timelines. 

Bridging gaps 

Whether it’s filling a sudden or unexpected vacancy or supplementing the existing management team while searching for a permanent hire, Interim managers ensure that the company continues to operate smoothly. They bridge the gap, ensuring that strategic initiatives and critical operations proceed without disruption, which is vital for maintaining stakeholder confidence and organisational stability. 

Driving change and implementing best practices 

Interim managers are often brought in to drive change management initiatives, from introducing new technologies and processes to steering shifts in corporate culture.  

Many professional Interims have a deep specialist knowledge in their field of expertise and have fulfilled a variety of roles in different industries and sectors. It means they have a toolkit of best practices and experiences from which an organisation can benefit. Given a mandate to bring about or support change, an Interim can very often deliver what internal leaders have struggled to implement, due to operational constraints or internal resistance. 

Interim managers support business growth 

The strategic deployment of Interims can be a game-changer for businesses needing expertise, specialist leadership, and an objective viewpoint to navigate critical periods. Their ability to integrate quickly, assess the landscape objectively, and drive necessary changes makes them invaluable resources.  

As businesses continue to operate in increasingly dynamic markets, the role of an Interim professional is set to become even more crucial, providing the agility and expertise organisations need to succeed. 

Incorporating Interim support into strategic planning can ensure that businesses not only survive but thrive in the face of challenges and opportunities alike, making the most of this expertise to foster resilience and growth. 

A handwritten document with someone writing out a work timing schedule
New Flexible Working Regulations Now in Force

From 6 April 2024, new flexible working regulations were implemented granting employees the ability to request flexible work arrangements from the very first day of their employment.

Flexible working has become increasingly prevalent in today’s work environment, offering a range of benefits for both employees and employers. However, it can also present certain challenges that both parties should consider.

Here’s a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of flexible working arrangements and flexible employment policies.

Benefits of Flexible Working

For Employers:

  1. Attract and retain talent: A flexible working arrangement is an attractive perk for prospective employees and can help retain existing staff by meeting their work-life balance needs.
  2. Reduced overheads: With more employees working remotely, there’s potential to reduce office space and associated costs.
  3. Increased productivity and efficiency: Flexible work schedules can lead to a more motivated workforce, resulting in higher productivity and efficiency.
  4. Broader Geographical or Global Talent Pool: Flexible and remote working arrangements allow employers to tap into a wider geographical footprint when recruiting, or even a global talent pool, not restricted by geographical boundaries.

An example of this is with a client in the Southwest UK, who historically struggled to recruit experienced talent locally partly as a result of Covid. However, by broadening our recruitment talent search across a wider geographical area we were able to find the right people quickly, as there was the option to work flexibly in a hybrid or remote working structure.

For Employees:

  1. Improved work-life balance: Flexible working allows employees to manage their work schedules around personal commitments, leading to a healthier balance between professional and personal life.
  2. Reduced commuting stress: The ability to work from home or adjust work hours can significantly reduce the time and stress associated with commuting.
  3. Increased productivity: Many find that flexible working environments allow for more focused work time with fewer distractions, leading to higher productivity.
  4. Enhanced job satisfaction: The autonomy over one’s work schedule can increase job satisfaction, morale, and commitment to the company.
Disadvantages of Flexible Working

For Employees:

  1. Work-Life boundaries: The blurring of boundaries between work and personal life can sometimes lead to working longer hours and burnout.
  2. Isolation: Working remotely can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection from the team and company culture.
  3. Over-reliance on technology: Remote work requires dependence on technology, which can be frustrating during technical issues or failures.

For Employers:

  1. Management challenges: Managing a flexible workforce requires different strategies, including tracking productivity and performance without micromanaging.
  2. Communication barriers: Ensuring effective communication can be more challenging with a dispersed workforce, potentially leading to misunderstandings or delays.
  3. Security risks: Increased remote work can expose companies to higher risks of data breaches and cybersecurity threats if proper measures are not in place.
  4. Cultural cohesion: Maintaining a strong and unified company culture can be more difficult when employees are working various schedules and from different locations.
Conclusion

While flexible working arrangements offer numerous benefits, including improved work-life balance, reduced commuting stress, and the ability to attract talent, they also come with challenges such as maintaining work-life boundaries, managing remote teams, and ensuring data security.

Both employers and employees must work together to find a balance that maximises the advantages while minimising the disadvantages. It’s important that the strategy defined is sustainable and managed for the long term rather than a short-term fix, which will lead to future problems.

This may involve clear communication, setting boundaries, and investing in technology and security measures to support a flexible working environment.

Wider reading about the new flexible working environment: –

People Management: The New Flexible Working Law – an employer’s guide  

Personnel Today: Flexible Working Legislation Changes

 

How is the market for you?

In the Procurement & Supply Chain recruitment world, this is the question everyone has asked on a daily basis since lockdown began.

Unsurprisingly, the consensus from clients and every prospective job hunter in the market, is that it was and still is understandably sluggish.

So here is my view of the last few months, what is happening now and what may happen in the future.

Despite the potential for doom and gloom, there have been sections of the market which have not only managed to maintain a sound state, but have actually grown during these ‘unprecedented’ (I promise not to use that word again) times!

Nobody can say with any confidence what exactly will happen in the next 12 months. However, with years of recruitment experiences, exposure to rapid recessions, changes in global economies, supply chain strategies, coupled with our consulting group’s market knowledge and daily communications with procurement industry leaders, we can offer our ‘positive’ view – apologies but it’s in the genes, we are born optimists…

Uncertainty & New Opportunities

Unquestionably there have been challenges that many businesses have never faced before, leading to uncertainty of the highest scale and recruitment plans being ‘stalled’ or cancelled overnight. The remote working phase during early lockdown was an extremely difficult adjustment for many companies. Others, who have operated flexible working for some time adapted quicker and thrived.

For companies finding this remote transition difficult, even with trusted and capable people, the idea of a remote recruitment process without physically meeting a potential new employee was unthinkable! Even for those companies where remote working wasn’t a problem, hiring someone without a face to face, socially distanced get together, other than on a video call, was maybe a stretch too far.

Then there were clients that realised they had to find ways to onboard new employees remotely. They were not only prepared to offer someone they have never met a job, but actually offer them a career!

To do this they had to embrace the process and the virtual opportunities, involve stakeholders in ways that physical meetings would never normally allow. They had to get support and ‘buy in’ from the broader stakeholder network, get greater consensus and use innovative testing strategies, in such a way that allowed successful candidates to get to know the stakeholder network, well before they had ever stepped through the door on their first day at work.

‘Shoots’ of Improvement

With companies making redundancies and with the more to follow, this still leaves a difficult and frustrating market for anyone seeking new employment or a career move.

At the beginning of the easing of lockdown, there were tentative ‘shoots’ of improvement, supply chains were waking up and certain sectors (for many different reasons) were making plans, nothing consistent due to the fear of a 2nd wave, but small steps. Throughout July, greater optimism and an increased number of opportunities appeared, leading to more people securing new permanent roles.

It’s evident that we are getting used to the idea that the virus will not disappear quickly and we need to change our ways to cope and carry-on, so the creation of a new norm in recruitment is developing. Offices outside of the major cities are gradually opening, with shift based or staggered working, and part-time furloughing, this will become the ‘new normal’ for many organisations for the foreseeable future, which has given a form of temporary certainty and allowed some organisations in the right sectors the confidence to restart those ‘paused’ recruitment campaigns and start forward planning.

Early stages of Recovery

Although we appear to be at the early stages of a fuller recovery, there is obviously a long way to go and the potential for set-backs are always going to be a challenge that will need to be planned for. Procurement & Supply Chain teams are going to need to be agile and this will be critical to future success, for any business in every sector.

If any organisation hadn’t seen supply chain risk, negotiation skills and ‘best in sector’ procurement excellence as a priority, they do now. The world is a different place and there is no room for complacency.

Whilst there will be fewer numbers of people going away during the usual summer vacation periods, the school holidays will still be an opportunity for parents to take time out with their children. However, with September coming and children back into school and furlough schemes coming to an end, this will be a pivotal time in the recovery, planning how you manage your workforce, skills development and future mapping your options is critical.

Undoubtedly companies are still nervous about times ahead and perhaps apprehensive about hiring. Will companies switch their permanent recruitment to interim solutions? Flexibility in an uncertain time can be an effective solution for many, including outsourcing projects to protect the business with fees based on targeted deliverables. All options are on the table.

Future mapping for success

Many functional leaders now see the future, as a blend of upskilling teams, creating flexibility in remote working and building talent pipelines of ‘fit for purpose’ Interim or consulting resources that understand your business challenges. This will also deliver protection against the potential threat of IR35 and support the other challenge round the corner, Brexit. Not a year to forget in a hurry!

A few Predictions for the Future of Procurement & Supply Chain teams

  • Greater investment in remote and virtual screening techniques
  • Online ‘capability assessment’ to improve interview support for non-functional stakeholders
  • Outsourced or Augmented delivery Teams for fixed cost projects
  • Intelligent development of ‘Talent Pipelines’ of business ready Interim resource
  • Even greater emphasis on ‘getting it right’ in Permanent recruitment
  • Upskilling, training and greater emphasis on building teams that work at pace

 

If you would like to know more about Permanent, Interim recruitment solutions and the flexible future for Procurement & Supply chain functions, contact Adam Roughton, Partner – info@procurasearch.com to arrange a convenient time for a call. Or sign up for more Insights below;

Subscribe below for latest news updates

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Procura Consulting:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Call Now Button