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  May 12th, 2015 | Written by

Supply-Chain Talent Crunch Identified by Univ. of Tenn. Report

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  • Truck Driver Shortage: Supply-chain talent shortages reach more than just truck drivers.
  • Truck-driver shortage especially impacts domestic and international businesses that manage their own trucking fleets.
  • Supply-chain management skill set required to be more diverse than ever, finds University of Tennessee report.

Global economic growth since the Great Recession is creating a crisis in supply-chain talent management, according to a report from the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville’s, Haslam College of Business. As supply-chain volumes and operational complexities rise, so does the demand for top talent. Recent estimates have suggested a shortage of 300,000 truck drivers but the UT report reveals an even broader crisis in the availability of talent.

The demand for logistics professionals at every level of the supply chain is expected to further increase as the economy continues to recover and more baby boomers reach retirement age.

“The truck driver shortage is an immediate concern to many businesses, especially those who are managing their own fleets,” says John Diez, president of Dedicated Transportation Solutions at Ryder, the logistics company that sponsored the report. “The study provides creative solutions to that issue, while also uncovering challenges and strategies to address broader talent gaps that have additional long-term effects on the global supply chain.”

In outlining trends driving changes in talent, the report shows that the skills necessary to be successful in a supply chain role are more diverse, complex and broad than ever. This further challenges the talent shortage within the supply-chain functions of businesses across nearly every industry. UT’s research shows that this managerial skill set is already scarce in the supply-chain industry and that most executives struggle to strategically recruit for their talent gaps.



The University of Tennessee’s report suggests that executives source talent much the way they would any other resource. Raw talent should be procured via systems such as internship programs and relationships with top universities, while existing labor reserves are further refined internally through mentorships and educational opportunities.

“More than 90 percent of CEOs recognize that they need to change their strategies for managing talent,” says Shay Scott, director of UT’s executive MBA program in Supply-Chain Management and co-author of the report. “We want to establish, first and foremost, that supply-chain talent is a critical priority that must be addressed now.”

To read the full report, visit