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  May 10th, 2022 | Written by

Women in the Supply Chain: How They Can Drive the Industry Forward

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Why Women Will Drive the Future of Supply Chain Forward

The pandemic created many challenges for supply chain networks around the world. Decreased access to raw materials, lack of workforce, changing safety regulations, and more have pushed supply chain leaders to find ways to become more flexible and resilient. A recent study by Seagull Scientific, creators of BarTender, surveyed supply chain professionals to uncover the trends that will drive efficiencies and agility within the industry in 2022 and the years to come.  

Digital Transformation

To remain flexible and resilient in times of unforeseen challenges, supply chain networks must stay at the cutting edge of digital business solutions to take advantage of new opportunities for efficiencies. Technology such as RFID, 2D barcodes, other labeling software, and collaborative business tools are essential for keeping supply chains flexible and updated on the latest regulations. Streamlining product management by adopting new technologies and hiring a skilled, diverse workforce to implement these technologies is key to remaining competitive in the supply chain industry.

Seagull Scientific cites a Deloitte study stating, “75% of industrial organizations cited that reskilling their workforce was important for their success over the next year to keep up with these innovations, but only 10% said they were very ready to address this issue.” Building a skilled and diverse workforce is essential for adequately utilizing new technologies and keeping up with the rapidly-changing marketplace.

Diversity at all Levels

Women are a particularly underrepresented group within supply chain networks. Research shows women are essential to an efficient and diverse workforce. Companies with over 30% female executives regularly outperform those with 10%-30%. Women in supply chain management bring new perspectives and insights that can unlock opportunities for innovation and creativity. Women are less driven by self-interest and are more likely to see the bigger picture regarding supplier interactions and other cooperative opportunities. Seagull Scientific reports, “By introducing more women into the supply chain, teams can benefit from more diverse perspectives and better collaboration, cooperation, and coordination between all parties involved.” Though there are some challenges to recruiting a diverse and skilled workforce, there are specific strategies for recruitment and retention that many companies are utilizing today.

Recruitment and Retention

Today, skilled job seekers are looking for a balanced and inclusive work environment that provides them opportunities for advancement and professional development. Employers can encourage a healthy work-life balance by offering their employees opportunities, benefits, and support.

Offering competitive health benefits is a great way to recruit skilled workers. Mental health benefits, extended maternity leave, and generous PTO are highly competitive benefits companies leverage to build their teams.

Professional development opportunities are another effective way to attract and retain skilled workers. Offer all necessary training for new hires, and provide resources for additional development and opportunities to learn more about the industry. Development programs can improve retention rates and offer employees more opportunities for promotion.

Mid-career retention strategies prove highly valuable for keeping skilled women in the supply chain workforce and promoting executives from within. Launch development plans created with input from employees to help them reach their career goals and encourage them to stay with your company.

More companies than ever are implementing DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) programs to showcase their diversity and create a more inclusive work environment. Launching DEI initiatives can help recruit a diverse set of job applicants.

The supply chains at the cutting edge of the industry will efficiently adopt new technologies and diversify their teams of skilled employees. Diversity at all company levels is key to creating more resilient, flexible, and agile supply chains.