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Emptoris and Anglo American bullish on supply chain jobs

More qualified professionals are getting the pay they deserve, said Patrick D. Quirk, President and CEO, Emptoris Inc.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
April 24, 2012

The Logistics Management annual salary survey indicates that while compensation is stalled somewhat, companies do appear to be hiring. Also worth noting, said respondents, more qualified professionals are getting the pay they deserve. Patrick D. Quirk, President and CEO, Emptoris Inc., an IBM Company told LM in an exclusive interview that there are other reasons for optimism.

Logistics Management: As companies continue to invest in ecommerce solutions and supply chain management technology, are they finding qualified professionals to work with these systems with maximum efficiency?

Patrick Quirk: Many of our customers are Global 2000 companies with operations worldwide. With global procurement, it is often difficult to find experienced professionals that understand the unique needs of certain areas such as emerging markets. This issue becomes more evident when companies undergo procurement transformation and learn that 50 percent of their team needs additional skills training. Companies can source supply chain/procurement professionals with the right aptitude, education, etc. and then spend the time to develop and train them on the process and systems. Our customers, like Anglo American, have their own internal procurement best practices academies to help train and develop their teams on how to run sourcing auctions, procurement process, contract negotiations, and supply chain optimization, etc.

Logistics Management: Are salaries and compensation being raised to attract the most promising professionals? If so, is this a trend that will continue?

Patrick Quirk: Yes, salaries are definitely on the rise to attract and retain promising (and successful) professionals. We definitely see it trending upward—with as much as 20 percent annual increases—reflecting increased demand for highly qualified supply chain experts. I run a CEO Visionary Board that includes many Chief Procurement Officers (CPO) in Fortune 1000 companies.  They have all indicated that it is increasingly more difficult to attract and retain top supply chain/procurement talent.  Many of our customers offer added incentives such as bonuses on achievement of supply chain metrics, including tying bonuses to purchase price variance numbers, number of RFx/sourcing events and spend control metrics.

Once these top performers have shown a track record of success at their company, they then become targets for recruiters at other companies.  The ability to retain talent is extremely important.

Logistics Management: Where are these professionals coming from…schools and universities?

Patrick Quirk: Some are coming from the top ranked schools that have solid supply chain programs such as Arizona State, Michigan State, North Carolina State, and University of Birmingham in the UK, among others. Also, many are being recruited in from other companies where they demonstrated great success.

Logistics Management: Any other relevant commentary to add?

Patrick Quirk: Having a solid career development plan for the supply chain team, like the one from Anglo American, is key for companies looking to develop and retain talent.

Susan Lasecki-Coiro, Head of Strategy and Performance, Group Supply Chain, Anglo American, also shared this anecdote with LM:

When I took over the team who has driven the implementation of processes and systems across our supply chain we did not have the talent to do this effectively, but also we did not have the luxury of hiring people who had the talent.  We needed to drive the change from South Africa across the globe and better talent did not exist in South Africa outside our company.  So, We made significant investment in the capability of our people and this approach has gone a long way to secure our success.  Experience tells me we have been more successful in delivering a rapid successful deployment through this method, than we would have been in hiring new people (which takes a lot of time).  Did some people leave because they were not aligned with what we were driving? Yes, but this was more their choice than a “culling” exercise.

About the Author

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Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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