Mark Taylor
About: Mark Taylor - Former Global Supply Chain, Logistics & Operations Executive

"Logistics, looking back even only ten years ago, much was operated very organically with pencil and paper where people signed out materials, resources and managed inventory, manually. Now logistics is being operated by multi-billion pound logistics IT systems which has created a skills gap,” informs Mark Taylor, Former Global Supply Chain, Logistics & Operations Executive at the Ministry of Defence UK.

1. Why is there a need to think more strategically about talent management?

Increasing competition in the global marketplace and the ever-growing skills gap has made it extremely challenging to find the right candidate at the right time. Acquiring the talent organisation’s need to reach their objectives is much more complex than simply posting a job vacancy or promoting the next-in-line.

In order for a defence organisation to make its mission a reality, it must identify candidates who have the right skills, the right experience, and are the right cultural fit. Today, hiring and developing the right talent is the single most important component in achieving strategic and operational goals. Organisations that have the best-in-class approach to talent acquisition do tend to reap significant benefits compared to organisations that do not have the same focus.

The key to inciting a workforce to greatness is to align talent management with organisational strategy, that way organisations can define consistent leadership criteria across all their functional areas, and identify specific competencies, such as analytical, technical, education and experience, to cultivate for continuing increases in operational capacity.

2. Why are companies under investing in their staff?

Investment in personnel by organisa-tions is almost always driven by the economic environment in which it operates. At a first glance, organisations might think investing in employee training during economically challenging times would be counter-intuitive because it requires a significant monetary investment and thus increases costs. What organisations save in the lack of investment in the short term is very nearsighted, and they will suffer in their operational long-term output if their talent is not invested in the correct manner.

As professional logistics organisations they should have one core product and that is the talent and expertise of their people. If organisations do not invest in the development of their professionals, it would be akin to a manufacturer not upgrading equipment, yet still expecting improved productivity.

3. What are the right skills staff currently need to succeed?

The supply chain management area has evolved from a loose affiliation among functions such as purchasing and logistics to an integrated, all-compassing and cross-functional discipline. Consequently, the extensive knowledge and skills required in the supply chain vocation has changed drastically. The top five skills currently in demand are communication, organisation and planning, teamwork and interpersonal, IT and problem solving skills.

From purely a defence perspective, the utilisation and reliance on complex Logistic Information Systems (LogIS) currently employed by defence and the military, has created an IT skill void. What were once seen as mainly junior roles in procurement and logistics are now considerably more complex, where even the most organic employee is required to operate multi-million LogIS. The reliance on such systems requires employees with significantly higher IT proficiency that has been seen in the past.