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‘Deep deficit in supply chain automation’ harming companies

Cleo analysis of job postings finds that many don’t require software experience

An analysis of supply chain job postings has found that, despite interest in automation technology, many companies are not seeking candidates with technological experience. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Despite heightened attention and interest in automation, there remains a “deep deficit” when it comes to the supply chain, and many managers lack software experience, making technology adoption difficult.

That is one of the findings from an analysis of 182 open U.S.-based supply chain job postings on Indeed.com by cloud-based integration platform Cleo.

“These findings clearly point to a deep deficit in supply chain automation at a time when companies can least afford it. Software technology, people, and processes have not come together in a transformational way that has truly permeated supply chain organizations,” said Tushar Patel, CMO of Cleo.

Cleo reviewed and scored requirements and responsibilities listed in the job postings to identify what hiring managers were looking for in candidates. The Supply Chain Jobs Report attempted to use the job postings, all of which were made prior to Sept. 10, to identify trends within recruitment strategies to identify the importance of IT innovation and digitization at supply chain-oriented businesses, including manufacturers, logistics providers, warehouses and wholesalers/retailers. The job postings came from logistics and supply chain companies with reported revenues of between $250 million and $2 billion.

The company, which offers the Cleo Integration Cloud for logistics and supply chain firms, noted that “supply chain-oriented roles are still highly manual at a time when companies should be digitalizing roles and processes.”

Only 30% of all roles required enterprise resource planning experience and 42% required no software experience at all.


“The data indicates that companies are failing to approach digitalization through an end-to-end lens that visualizes and analyzes supply chain operations across their internal and external ecosystems,” Patel added. “The lack of recruiting for people skilled in modern software will result in organizations struggling to keep up with operational efficiencies — which are desperately needed in an increasingly fierce supply chain market.”

Cleo said that 77% of job postings listed internal collaboration as an expected role contribution, although that is a responsibility that could easily be facilitated by an ERP or integration solution, it said.

Job descriptions also indicated that leaders are not looking at their enterprise as a whole when strategizing for digitalization, Cleo added. Successful digitalization and optimization start with buy-in from the top of the workplace hierarchy, yet 42% of manager and senior manager roles required no software experience at all.

“Supply chain-oriented businesses are not thinking about the end game, which is to become more agile,” said Patel. “Post-pandemic supply chain inefficiencies have impacted every business, leading to the redefining of many supply chain roles and processes. Given the speed of market transitions and volatility, effective supply chain management will make or break organizations in 2023.”

Looking at geographic breakdowns, Cleo found supply chain technical jobs are increasingly moving to the South and West.

One-fifth of all jobs in the South are located in Florida or Georgia.

In the Northeast, only 1-in-3 managerial positions include supply chain software in the job description. However, over half of manager jobs located in the South (59%) and Midwest (60%) mention software; and roles in the West required managers to have experience with one software application on average, Cleo said.

The report ultimately found that there is more that companies can do to improve their efficiency.

“By integrating and automating business processes between an organization’s ecosystem (customers, partners, suppliers, and marketplaces) and these core back-end systems, organizations can track and analyze data across the enterprise to produce insights that power business decisions in real-time — removing the need for overly-manual activities to optimize the business,” the report noted.

Of all the postings, 25% made no mention of software or noted any required skills that would be related to operating software systems.

“This begs the question: ‘Has modern software and business process automation truly permeated supply chain organizations?’” Cleo asked. “If not, companies are missing an opportunity to fully digitalize business processes end-to-end — from an initial transaction with a supply chain entity (i.e., an order from a customer or shipper) to delivering their services or goods.”

Failing to develop end-to-end digitized processes will “cause organizations to flounder in an increasingly competitive supply chain market.”

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]