January 2015 | Commentary | Checking In

Talent Gap: Where Are We Going?

Tags: Education & Careers, Supply Chain Management, Logistics

Felecia Stratton is the editor of Inbound Logistics magazine.

I am always pleased when the annual Logistics Planner issue publishes, but this year I'm doubly excited. This issue marks a new milestone as we introduce and celebrate the 30 best and brightest supply chain practitioners under the age of 30—a group of individuals who are familiar with producing extraordinary results in a short period of time.

As the publisher says on the previous page, global demand for supply chain professionals does not match supply. We have documented to an nth degree the talent gap that is one of the most important challenges we face today. Even as technology and innovation guide new 21st-century pathways, industry is ultimately dependent on people. Companies need to continuously invest in and develop human capital to gain competitive advantage.

This talent gap directly correlates with a generational transition. Today's college graduates enter the workforce with a wealth of digital intuition and business process "tuition." Where predecessors earned credit through sweat equity and on-the-job experience, millennials are earning theirs through established supply chain degree programs. They bring an integrated, flexible skillset to the market. That's a good thing, and their companies, colleagues, and customers recognize that.

It's also why the 30 Under 30 program resonates. It salutes supply chain practitioners who not only serve as role models to their peers—both young and old—but also help raise the profile of your profession. We know how important supply chain is to sustaining U.S. competitive advantage. It's time to spread the word.

That's where we come in. To produce the 30 Under 30 Rising Supply Chain Stars recognition program, Inbound Logistics joined forces with sister company ThomasNet and the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Beginning in 2014, ThomasNet and ISM began soliciting nominations for 30 Under 30. From more than 200 entries, the selection committee pared down the list of finalists by prioritizing notable accomplishments as well as demonstrable excellence in initiative, collaboration, innovation, leadership, and driving real savings.

The 30 honorees represent a cross-section of industries from energy and CPG to government, including companies such as CBS Corporation, Caterpillar, DuPont, Halliburton, Johnson & Johnson, and ConAgra.

I'm proud to introduce you to the next generation of supply chain stars; read their stories here. I promise you'll be dazzled.