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ASCM Insights

Supply Chains Click Refresh

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As retailers face ongoing shortages, yet another wave of panic buying, and a frenzied upcoming holiday shopping season, Walmart is hiring for 20,000 new permanent positions in its supply chain operations. But where will these workers come from?

The retail giant is seeking full- and part-time order pickers, freight handlers, forklift operators, technicians and managers at more than 250 Walmart and Sam’s Club transportation offices and distribution and fulfillment centers. Last year, the company also hired about 20,000 people at e-commerce facilities and pop-up fulfillment sites to support the intensified digital demand. But these were seasonal workers. The current focus on permanent positions showcases the growing importance of expert distribution and delivery.

Yet even with an average pay of $20.37 an hour for supply chain employees and perks such as bonuses and free college tuition, these positions will be tough to fill. For starters, the work tends to be more physically demanding than other roles and also may require availability during overnight shifts. Plus, as online shopping skyrockets, companies everywhere are scrambling to add warehouse and fulfillment staff, resulting in record levels of job openings. The Wall Street Journal notes that there were 1.44 million warehousing and storage workers this past July — half a million more than just five years ago.

According to CNN Business, “Everyone who has a desire to be a distribution center worker already has a job.”

Furthermore, industry roles across the board are evolving drastically after the deluge of recent market disruptions. The supply chain best practices that once kept things moving nicely are giving way to all-new approaches, which in turn transform the way people work and teams function.

Interestingly, these shifts have also risen through the thought supply chain to academia. In a Bloomberg Businessweek article titled “Forget Finance; Supply-Chain Management Is the Pandemic Era’s Must-Have MBA Degree,” reporter Matthew Boyle explains that many business schools are refreshing old lectures that touted the benefits of just in time and lean, replacing them with guidance about risk mitigation, supplier diversification, communication and sustainability.

Set your alarm

“Any company that says they fully understand their supply chain is lying,” MIT Principal Research Scientist Jarrod Goentzel told Bloomberg. “It’s time for the profession to wake up.”

Goentzel goes on to say that supply chain practitioners should be certified, “just like accountants.” Here at ASCM, we couldn’t agree more. To that end, we are constantly sensing the marketplace, reevaluating business needs and modernizing our wide array of professional development programs.

Companies around the world recognize ASCM’s APICS certifications including Certified in Planning and Inventory Management (CPIM); Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP); and Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) designations. Moreover, professionals with these credentials enjoy a median salary of 27% more than those without.

ASCM programs offer vital, forward-looking, transformational education that positions supply chain professionals and their organizations for ongoing success — no matter what may be on the horizon. You can save 15% on your CPIM, CSCP or CLTD learning system or bundle purchase with code BYESUMMER through September 15. Take the first step today, and find out which ASCM offering will awaken your brightest future.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through editorial@ascm.org.

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