To cap off 2018, we want to carry on something that’s become a bit of a tradition at Argentus: ending each year by highlighting some of our favourite posts. It’s been quite a year – but when is that not the case, these days? North America saw continued strong economic growth, with record low jobs numbers, contributing to a strong jobs market.
In our corner of the business world – Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Logistics, – there’s still a shortage of strategic candidates, which means that candidates have leverage in the hiring market – if they’ve taken measures to upskill themselves. Companies are competing for top talent as Supply Chain continues to grow and mature as a field. Issues like supplier transparency and supplier diversity have continued to come to the forefront this year. Digital technologies have continued to achieve deep penetration into Supply Chains with developments like IoT, Blockchain and Machine Learning on the horizon. We’ve also seen, in Canada, the introduction of a new industry with a heavy Supply Chain focus with the legalization of recreational cannabis.
As a blog that sits at the intersection of talent issues and Supply Chain, we hope you’ll agree we’ve discussed a huge variety of issues and developments this year. It’s been a wild ride! So without further ado, here are our top Blog Posts of 2018, along with a little commentary on each:
(Click on the images or links to go to the full posts)
1. What’s the Cost of Bad Leadership in Procurement?
Here it is, our most-discussed article of the year. It’s interesting that articles about leadership failures in business are always popular, perhaps because there are lots of readers who have encountered them firsthand. In this post, we broke down the top-down effects of hiring the wrong leader – say, someone who doesn’t have any boots-on-the-ground experience – for a Procurement function. We detailed the effects on internal buy-in, company culture, reputation and employer branding, which are pretty scary indeed. In short, if the wrong leadership is in place, word always gets out.
2. Are we Facing the End of Supply Chain Management?
Here’s another article that generated a lot of discussion in our network. In it, we responded to a provocative argument in the Harvard Business Review (with a rather clickbait-y title) that automation threatens to kill off the Supply Chain profession entirely. Automation is a hot topic in the field, promising to transform manufacturing, distribution, logistics, and later on more white-collar functions like demand forecasting and procurement. The author suggests that, within the next 5-10 years, Supply Chains will become entirely self-regulating utilities, only to go on and say that of course there will still be a demand for Supply Chain professionals – but skills will change. We happen to agree.
3. Feature Interview: Supply Chain Executive Caroline Lalonde Speaks About Cannabis Opportunities and Challenges
This year saw something huge that doesn’t happen that often: the emergence of a whole new industry. The legalization of recreational cannabis has created a massive opportunity for Canadian business to lead and innovate for a changing global market. It’s a tremendously exciting time – and particularly interesting to us at Argentus, because the industry faces considerable Supply Chain and distribution challenges. So we were thrilled to connect with Caroline Lalonde, an executive with 20 years of business development, marketing and advocacy leadership – much of it in the Logistics industry – who has made the transition to the cannabis space. It’s always thrilling to get the perspective of a high-level executive shaping the future of industry.
4. Infographic: Key Skills for Supply Chain Leaders
Our above-mentioned discussion with Caroline Lalonde went in many interesting directions, so we decided to capture some of her insights as an Infographic. We used Caroline’s understanding of key supply chain skills (including communication, collaboration, change management) and competencies (including IT knowledge, conscious leadership, and project management) to try and give an informational leg-up to the burgeoning next generation of supply chain leaders.
5. The One Thing Even Executives Forget to Do in Job Interviews
Even as we focus on the high-level talent picture in our industry, we never want to forget to give advice to candidates, from the perspective of recruiters who speak to hiring managers all the time and know what goes wrong in resumes, interviews and the like. This post dug into a fundamental job interview mistake that comes up all the way up to the executive level: failing to communicate your enthusiasm in the job. We laid out several ways to convey your interest in a job, without going overboard.
6. “Fraudulent” Seafood Leads to Calls for Greater Supply Chain Transparency
Supply Chain transparency is a massive topic in the field. Consumers are demanding more information about where their products are coming from. They want to make sure they’re ethically-sourced, without slavery and using the most sustainable practices possible. The problem is that some supply chains are notoriously opaque, and it’s difficult for retailers to know exactly where products are coming from. Case in point: the seafood supply chain, which often has ten links in the chain between catch and plate. This article responded to a report from Oceana Canada that 44% of fish sold in the country is actually a different kind of fish than labeled. Gross. We discussed this issue, and talked about how some technologies like Blockchain might offer more visibility into Supply Chains and solve the problem.
7. Talking About Supplier Diversity in Procurement With RBC Director Kiruba Sankar
This was one of our favourite interviews with an executive this year, exploring one of the ways that Supply Chain Management is becoming a true hub of innovation in business. RBC Director Kiruba Sankar is a Procurement executive who’s become a champion of connecting companies with diverse suppliers, earning him awards from a number of organizations. He spoke with us about the innovative opportunities organizations open by building a diverse and inclusive supplier base.
8. New Research Suggests Companies Should be Radically Transparent About Salaries
In this post, we talked about some interesting research that contradicts some conventional wisdom in business: namely, the idea that employees should be kept in the dark about each-other’s salaries, lest they ask for more. Putting aside the fact that transparency is good from an ethics standpoint, these researchers at Harvard Business Review found that there are good business reasons to be more transparent about salaries. For example, telling sole contributors about their managers’ salaries stands to increase productivity across the board.
9. Are We at the End of the Employee Era?
Contingent (contract) staffing has changed the world of work, and covering this change is one of our biggest mandates on the Argentus blog. It doesn’t work out for everyone – particularly in lower-skilled positions that lead to precarious employment. But for high-skilled workers in our specialities of Supply Chain and Procurement, it represents an alternative to permanent employment that offers quite a few lifestyle benefits — including, for some, higher job satisfaction. In this post we talked about an Accenture study that made an audacious claim: within the next 10 years, the world’s biggest companies will have no staff outside the C-suite who aren’t contingent staff. In other words, the age of the employee is over. While we think this claim might be a little too audacious, one thing is clear: contingent staffing is here to stay.
10. The 5 Biggest Fallacies in Supply Chain Management
In this post, we responded to an article by Forbes beat writer Steve Banker about the major fallacies guiding conventional wisdom in Supply Chain today. Some of the sacred cows he challenges: the idea that KPIs rule over everything, and the idea of blockchain as a panacea to Supply Chain visibility issues. It was a provocative topic that got some great discussion going in our network.
To all the readers of the Argentus blog, thanks for another great year and your support. 2018 has been a great year, full of lots of changes and excitement. Here’s to a fantastic 2019!