Make-or-Buy Decision Making Experience is a Must for Logistics Hires in 2024
Are we gonna make it in house or outsource it? Can we perform this service or do we need to contract with a vendor? It’s imperative for your logistics team to have experience with this decision matrix.
Logistics hiring in 2024 should focus on the ability to discern when to procure capacity from your employees vs. external partnerships. The rise in contract staff, co-sourcing initiatives, and consultants who can aid in building operational capacity poses more questions for future hires in this field than in the past. Traditionally, everything was done in-house. But the rise in tech, automation, and the difficulty in hiring enough skilled supply chain talent has given rise to more external partnership opportunities.
Your people strategy has to be tied to when and how often you engage third parties to help with the business. When business peaks, do you augment it with more full time hires or look outside for temporary help through the madness? A typical transportation and logistics calendar can be dictated by these peaks and fluctuations in consumer demand.
Regardless of make or buy decisions, your logistics hires need people skills to manage both partners and employees. This includes the skills to write a solid agreement and model should cost include partner services. It also means having a hands-on, fundamental understanding of the trenches will be essential to success and will be crucial for managing partners.
You need personnel who can lead people and not just a supply chain. Your best logistics leaders maintain a firm grasp of the operational context at every level. The CEO who knows where the facility recycling is located by the smell also knows that an investment may need to be made into exhaust facilities to improve the everyday work environment for their frontline operational technicians. Being an ivory tower leader doesn’t endear you to your charges like a CEO who can quickly diagnose these issues with the authority and resources to make an immediate change.
Be thoughtful around where your people work. It always pays off in the long run.
Hire Logistics Leaders Willing to Adopt Tech in a Measured Way
This may sound counterintuitive for the digital age. But until technology is proven, it exists as a cost on a balance sheet without a proven benefit.
In 2024, automation as a trend will continue but adoption could slow. Logistics leaders need to be able to focus on strategy as well as automation and digital ‘’solutions.” Many have been disillusioned by kissing a few too many frogs on the digital journey. Measure real time impacts of whatever tech you adopt and how it impacts your people and service to customers. Again, supply chain is a people business. As much as we all like to make a big deal out of all the new fangled technological advances, it’s absolutely crucial to ensure that the new tech equips your team to make better decisions and fulfill demand more effectively. This is not to say that I’m a luddite resistant to change. Quite the opposite.
What we’re advocating for here is a paced adoption of technology with proven business cases. There’s no need to be an early adopter in a time where the marketplace is being flooded with new supply chain technology solutions. Right now, it’s important to allow the tech to mature. The hype can be oversold with extremely high price tags attached. You know what your business needs and what it doesn’t. Don’t be in such a rush to get ahead that you lose sight of what’s working. Ask for references from vendors and talk directly to customers who have seen demonstrated benefits as the best antidote to kissing frogs. There’s plenty of time to let other folks be the guinea pigs for unproven tech tools.
If we’ve learned nothing else from this exploration into the nuanced world of transportation and logistics, it’s that the people are still the most important link in the supply chain. Your focus in 2024 needs to remain on the people skills of your leaders and front line teams. In doing so, you may be able to do more with less in times of economic uncertainty. Balance the need to deliver results with a commitment to growth. Your logistics cost structure is significant. Don’t overburden budgets with unproven technology and make sure that your logistics hires have high-end analytics under the belt. Remember that there are not enough people with these nuanced skill-sets out there so don’t lose sight of the long term trends and just dump people as a hasty cost saving measure. Commit to development, upskilling, reskilling of your teams. You could really struggle to replace them with adequate institutional knowledge and understanding.
Businesses that succeed long term don’t grow or contract too quickly. Patiently build for the future, friends.