It was quite a year, both in our industry and in the world. In our corner of the world of business, we saw the continued upheaval of the retail industry, the increasing digitization of Supply Chains, and a big leap in our own skills at making infographics!
(We fully recognize the first two developments are more significant than the last one).
As always, we sought out to cover what’s happening at the intersection Supply Chain – especially Procurement – and talent, hitting on a variety of topics and developments in the industry. We spoke with experts, did research, commented on the news, and told stories from our own experiences as a boutique recruitment firm in this space. Our content helped introduce us to an array of professionals looking for new opportunities. It got us on the radar of a number of companies looking to hire. From those perspectives, it was a success. But it was also fun. It got us thinking about some of the most impactful trends in hiring, job searching, technology, and business – adding a certain amount of spice to the day-to-day rhythms of our recruitment practice.
To cap off the year, we thought it would be a good idea to share our favourite posts from 2017, with the goal of introducing our readers to some of our best – and most popular – content from the year that you might have missed. Without further ado, here are our top 10 posts of the year!
(Click on the images or links to go to the full posts)
1. What are the Hottest Skill Niches in Supply Chain and Procurement?
Right out of the gate at the start of the year, we wrote a post to highlight some of the skills in most demand from our clients. The list included Indirect Procurement, Demand and Supply Planning, management consulting/continuous improvement, eCommerce, 3rd Party Logistics, and Supply Chain Software. Looking back at the end of the year, our clients are still clamoring for people with these skills –with maybe a bit of falloff for management consulting and 3rd Party Logistics.
2. How to Become a Procurement Superstar
We’re always looking for new ways to provide career advice to Procurement and Supply Chain Professionals in our network, so we were happy to write this bullet-pointed plan for how to boost your Procurement career. Written for the strivers and the future stars that we most want to work with as candidates in our recruitment practice, this post gave some advice in this post about how to focus your early career towards developing Procurement strategy, how to become more communicative, develop soft skills, and develop ways to contribute value to an organization beyond cost savings.
3. Is Being “Too Busy” Actually Making You Less Productive at Work?
This year, we dove into work/life balance as a topic with increasing relevance in the corporate world. What began as a buzzword a couple years ago has morphed into a major concern both for top candidates on the job market, and companies looking to attract the best talent by offering a better experience than their competitors. This post dove into the cult of “busy-ness,” (not “business”!) examining how professionals are feeling more pressure to appear constantly stressed and pressed for time. But maybe it’s time to untangle the concept of how “busy” someone is with how productive they actually are as an employee.
4. Will Tim Hortons’ Massive Business Transformation Hurt its Brand?
This post generated so much discussion on LinkedIn we wrote a follow-up to share readers’ responses. We wrote about a Globe and Mail deep dive into Tim Hortons’ acquisition by Brazillian multinational 3G Capital and its impact on the organization’s working culture. It was an interesting story, dealing with the tension between continuous improvement through efficiency, and the survival of a legacy brand with huge recognition in this country. Nine months later, the jury’s still out on whether 3G’s massive cuts will impact Tim Hortons’ service and brand, but we’re watching the story to see what happens heading into 2018.
5. What’s the Difference Between Logistics and Supply Chain? (Infographic)
This post, our explainer about the difference between these two commonly-confused terms, was one of our most popular of the year. Maybe it could be expected that an explainer post would gain a wide audience from people new to the wide world of Supply Chain Management. In any case, we think it’s our finest – and most successful – Infographic to date: so much so that we were even asked to translate it into Portuguese for a Brazilian logistics company that wanted to use it.
6. Augmented Reality Set to Transform Retail and Supply Chains
In a tumultuous year for the retail industry – one that saw a number of major chains closing, as well as further massive growth and acquisitions by Amazon – some of our favourite posts covered how some emerging technologies might lead to a hybridization of brick and mortar and online retail. In this post, we dove into how more retailers are using augmented reality to provide customers with personalization, “virtual showrooming”, and spatial projection of goods into the home. As much as 2017 was a retail upheaval, it looks like the industry has an even wilder future ahead of it. See also: “Will Self-Driving, Autonomous Stores Drive the Future of Retail?”
7. How to be a Better Procurement Boss
Procurement is an evolving field, with rapidly evolving strategy and technology. Businesses are placing increasing – and more widely-varied – demands on their Procurement functions, and at the same time professionals are constantly upgrading their skills and approaches to offer strategic value beyond simple cost savings. We wrote this post to give advice to Procurement leaders – whether aspiring or established – for how they can do more to communicate their value to business leadership, and how they can do more to develop their people and maximize their teams’ chances of success. Among the tips covered: how to talk less and listen more, encourage a diversity of skills and categories, and fight for your direct reports.
8. Is Networking Overrated?
One of our more controversial posts of the year spurred tons of discussion after LinkedIn pulse picked it up. We commented on a New York Times op-ed by Wharton School business professor and career expert Adam Grant, about whether junior and mid-career professionals are misdirecting their energy by focusing on networking over building skills and accomplishments. We think it’s true that networking (as well as personal branding!) is gospel for those who want to succeed in business, but we still found some great points in Grant’s op-ed and agree that it’s best to focus on getting really good at what you do before you focus on selling yourself.
9. Industry Report: Supply Chain Management is Becoming Younger, More Educated, More Diverse
This was one of the more intriguing entries on one of our most important topics – the so-called “Supply Chain talent deficit” and the industry’s efforts to attract and retain more millennial talent. This year, a major survey by industry association APICS showed how the demographics of the Supply Chain industry are changing, with some fascinating and encouraging results: fewer people are “falling into” Supply Chain careers, more millennials are entering the field via targeted postsecondary education, and the field’s gender disparity is beginning to tilt towards parity. Beyond that, millennial workers showed very high satisfaction with their careers in Supply Chain, showing that the industry has a bright future ahead!
10. In This Job Market, Passive Candidates Have All the Power. Here’s How to Attract Them:
To round off the list, this post from late September gave our readers a “state of play” of where the talent market is right now, and it hasn’t changed much in the three months since. In short: it’s a candidates’ market. With high economic growth leading to strong job gains, companies are looking to hire. They’re finding it more difficult to pry highly-coveted “passive” talent (those who are already working) away from competitors than during the economic recovery. We used some of our recent anecdotal experiences to talk about what’s actually motivating top level Supply Chain candidates to make a move. We encourage you to check it out, but the short version? Work life balance is important.
Thanks for joining us on this retrospective of some of our favourite Argentus blog posts from 2017. We look forward to catching up in 2018 with tons of new content that’s relevant for professionals in the Procurement and Supply Chain Management fields!