The supply chain workforce of the future

Harnessing the power of intelligent automation

It is not surprising that new supply chain roles and skills will be required to execute supply chain operations in the future. But how should an organization in an industry that is admittedly steeped in traditional ways of working balance the co-existence of both digital and human work?

Supply chain organizations are facing stiff competition from non-supply-chain companies as well as other functions within their own organization in attracting new skills and are faced with a gap for new talent that balances analytics skills and supply chain expertise.

In order to address the changing skills landscape, decreasing talent pool, shifting demographics including where, how, and when people want to work, and the need to prioritize dexterity over technical know-how, the supply chain of the future will be obliged to focus on these key components:

Digital and human co-existence - Create a modern, digital working environment where employees are less burdened with repetitive tasks, but key decision-making remains with human experience.

Supply chain as a business partner - Change to a culture which makes supply chain a business partner across functions.

Digital center of excellence - Deploy a digital center of excellence to accelerate value creation that focuses investment on the most impactful opportunities across functions..

New roles - Identify roles, skills and behaviors needed to meet an organization’s targets.

The supply chain workforce will be required to have a broad skill set to inform decision-making, as opposed to deep expertise but little ability to make decisions.
Brian Higgins, Principal and Practice Leader, KPMG Procurement & Operations Advisory

Read the paper below to explore steps supply chain organizations can take to future-proof their workforce.

Future supply chain workforce
Reimagining, building and future-proofing a supply chain workforce.


There are six actions organizations can take to hasten their shift to such a state:

  • monitor trends impacting the workforce by continuously scanning the environment to better understand which skills will make a difference
  • manage current and emerging workforce skills by anticipating competency gaps and advancing both ‘social-creative’ and technical skills. This will include ‘ecosystem management’ to cope with the increasing range of partners and people outside the formal organization, including scanning the market, developing prospects, and engaging, onboarding and managing partners
  • take an ‘outside-in’ approach to hiring by looking to other industries for analysts – including ones you would not previously have considered, like gaming and betting. Highly volatile supply chains employ similar risks to betting games: and in both cases, it is important to understand the odds of various outcomes and the potential payoffs
  • create an environment that is attractive to technical specialists, offering flexible schedules, a diverse and inclusive culture, and opportunities for advanced learning. Such an environment, not currently standard within corporate culture will improve hiring opportunities
  • encourage supply chain collaboration with academia, third-party logistics (3PL) providers and internal functions
  • establish a global knowledge management model that codifies skills using heuristic modeling, creating blocks of knowledge for use by the next generation of workers.



An agenda for the future of supply chain

The biggest limitation for supply chains is no longer technologies and what they can do, but rather the imagination of the people who leverage them. As enterprises around the world are facing a perfect storm of change, today’s supply chain leaders must transform business models, organizational structures and operations to thrive today and in the future. Learn more about the future of supply chain.