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When it comes to supply chain challenges, the struggle is real.

Granted, headlines may not be dominated by the struggle today as they were in late 2021, but if there is one thing the global pandemic shined a light on was the precarious nature of those supply chains.

So what now?

Take a beat. Look at the companies who weathered those supply chain challenged the best and start now down a path to emulate them, said Wes Ashworth, Vice President of Executive Search at Lee Group Search.

It starts with your people.

“The manufacturers who seemed to weather those supply chain issues in 2021 a lot better than others were the ones who had really talented, out-of-the-box thinking, problem solvers working to figure out this complex issue,” he said. “Without sounding too cliché, they had the right people on the bus when the bus broke down while stuck in some traffic. You need to have the right people leading your supply chain functions.”

Today, while manufacturers are offering competitive wages to hire operators, support technicians and others on the manufacturing floor, finding talent that is also creative, strategic and forward thinking is critical.

“Companies who have a C player in that type of leadership role, or a team that’s all C players, will have a hard time staying afloat in another storm,” Ashworth said. “Companies who invest in A players will get ahead because they had the foresight to hire in advance of a crisis.”

Production planning and control must be a priority.

Those A players embrace the challenges of keeping their companies efficient by finding innovative solutions to minimize if not eliminate production delays. Rather than being frustrated by circumstances, A players search for solutions and implement them.

Lee Group Search partners with companies to find the top candidates or “A players”— leaders in operations, supply chain, sales, and manufacturing — but make no mistake. These folks are in high demand. The best ones are often employed and already being courted by your competitors.

“People who already have invested in this type of talent focus on retention. They are consciously aware that their top talent is probably being actively recruited right now,” Ashworth said. “Companies who lack that kind of talent should be aware that in order to find it, they need to be prepared to be very competitive and have a compelling story of why an attractive candidate would want to work for them.”

Ashworth often asks company leadership to do a self-check by asking:

  • What is your company about?
  • Why should somebody want to work there?
  • What’s your vision?

It’s one thing to fill seats. It’s another to be proactive in the search for the right people for those seats, often passive job candidates that are not necessarily seeking a new position but are almost always open to exploring an intriguing opportunity.

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