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Editor’s note: A senior headhunter in his past life, John Delgado (pictured below) shared his transport and logistics knowledge talking to executives on behalf of Loadstar Premium, if you recall this, for instance. Now he is onto a new exciting venture, and given the dearth of talent and how important the topic is in our beloved market, we freely agreed to give him space on Premium. Enjoy! 

ALMOST EVERYONE in the post-pandemic world is now familiar with global supply chains. And as consumers, “we want our stuff now, at the click of a button.”

But behind that button is the secret sauce: people.

When you click “order now”, you become connected with the global supply chain ecosystem, as your dog collar, or exercise bike gets flagged from billions of products and begins its journey to your front door.

Every day, millions of people from industrial engineers, customs brokers, pilots, dock workers, forklift drivers, truckers, freight forwarders, and many more, all play their part to keep the world moving. But despite the layers of IT and automation, nothing moves without people.

Talent dilemma

Three years ago, however, I began noticing an alarming trend in my previous life as a headhunter: more professionals were leaving the global supply chain industry than entering.

For every sales position on a job board, I saw some 10-15 open operations jobs. And It got worse: these open operations positions went unfilled for months at a time, some for a year or more. Obviously, this massive problem smacked me in the face. I began asking questions in the C-suite and to HR. Their answers were shocking. Here are some of the most interesting:

1) The industry does a terrible job of marketing itself (kids don’t say I want to be a customs broker when I grow up);

2) The industry does not like hiring people without experience;

3) When we do find people, they don’t stay around long, they don’t like the stress;

4) Maybe if we trained people better, they would stick around longer.

Our industry is not alone; the underlying cause of this talent trend is demographics. According to Pew Research: “Numbering roughly 11 million today, the older workforce has nearly quadrupled in size since the mid-1980s. The increase is driven in part by the growth of the 65-and-older population. The bulk of the Baby Boom generation has now reached that threshold.”

The complexity of the problem is obvious, and we cannot control a massive demographic shift but there are elements that we can and should immediately address.

Talent solution 

I realized that an effective talent solution must encompass three critical elements: recruitment, training, and turnover. But could a solution be devised that addresses these issues on an ongoing basis and is impactful enough to make a difference?

Much like a person seeking deeper understanding who embarks on a trek in India, I began a one-year journey across the world to find answers.

While on the road, one insight quickly became apparent: European apprenticeship programs are a fantastic hedge against turnover. They foster a sense of intramural team camaraderie and build a solid, lifelong foundation of knowledge that can carry individuals through their careers, sometimes all the way to the C-suite.

However, despite their world-class apprenticeship programs, the European labor market still struggles with recruitment to fill positions due to the demographic age changes we are witnessing globally.

The hard reality is that we can’t escape the recruitment numbers; therefore, we must significantly enhance the skills of the workforce we have. People will need to stick around and learn multiple disciplines and become broadly skilled to remain competitive in today’s supply chain field.

e-Learning for supply chain and logistics 

After a three-year journey, burning thousands of hours on the laptop and phone, building the core team, implementing the technology components, and readying the curriculum, I am proud to announce to the world, FreightPath is here!

Our library contains 130+ courses (more here) with over two thousand hours of learning time. A new learner can take a deep dive course, an experienced operator can take a refresher or new micro course – the sky’s the limit.

You control your learning path.

Our curriculum covers topics from air, ocean, import, export, trucking, customs brokerage, cargo insurance, risk management, hazardous materials, dangerous goods, and much more. In addition, FreightPath offers a product called Pathfinder where we marry a recruiting and training solution into a single solution.

Knowledge is power

In conclusion, addressing the interconnected challenges of recruitment, training, and turnover requires innovative solutions. FreightPath provides a comprehensive approach that not only recruits and trains talent but also builds a resilient workforce equipped for the demands of the modern supply chain industry.

Knowledge is what sets you apart from your peers, enables you to deliver effective solutions, and propels your career forward. On behalf of myself and the entire FreightPath team, we invite everyone in the global supply chain ecosystem to check us out. Let’s have some fun while we learn!

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