In-house customs officers will be in demand due to increased border controls © Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images
In-house customs officers will be in demand due to increased border controls © Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

Which four supply chain roles will be most in demand?

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
30 November 2020

Four in 10 (39%) supply chain professionals believe trade uncertainty is the biggest barrier to innovation, a survey has found.

Findings from the survey, conducted by logistics software and services firm BluJay Solutions, suggested factors such as Brexit were “holding companies back from investing in supply chain resilience and agility”.

Other barriers to supply chain innovation identified in the survey were siloed systems and processes and outdated IT systems.

The survey, of 233 supply chain and logistics professionals, found more than a third believed their company would make significant or extreme changes to how supply chains were designed and operated due to Covid lessons. Three-quarters (75%) planned to build more resilient supply chains.

The top-ranked measures to increase resiliency were stronger and more transparent relationships with suppliers (53%), cross training employees (49%), and expanding/diversifying the supplier base (43%).

Stefan Tärneberg, director of solution consulting at BluJay Solutions, said four supply chain roles had been identified that will grow in response to the challenges thrown up by Brexit:

In-house customs officers

“Whether the UK crashes or cruises out of the EU, transporting goods across the border post-Brexit will become more time and labour intensive,” said Tärneberg. “Industry predictions estimate that UK companies will have to complete 400 million customs declarations a year post-Brexit. The UK currently imports 70% of all goods sold here, and we can expect globalised trade to remain a vital part of supply chain activity. So having the correct skills and professionals in place to smooth the customs process will be essential to keep the supply chain running smoothly and minimising border delays.”

Logistics planners

“Logistics planners are key employees to help businesses explore and assess new potential trade routes. They can help to scale up or scale down supply chain operations to match fluctuating demand, while minimising risk,” said Tärneberg.

Tech and ‘on-the-ground' staff for collaborative delivery

“Many are predicting that following Brexit there will be a push for more protectionist trade policies, resulting in a ‘buy local’ imperative at the consumer level,” said Tärneberg. “More local specialised production means a more distributed supply chain. A new, collaborative model of logistics will need to develop to handle this larger number of points of supply, production, distribution, and most crucially – delivery.

“This could lead to a post-Brexit growth in roles both on the ground, as well as in tech teams which can coordinate the efforts of multiple logistics teams and hundreds of small suppliers.”

Chief supply chain officer

“A growing number of companies now give the supply chain a seat at the table,” said Tärneberg. “Going forwards, we will see more organisations adopt this approach as the industry seeks to solve new supply chain challenges. Being able to deliver to customers on schedule throughout the inevitable Brexit disruption will be key to driving a competitive edge in any market.

“While the supply chain’s focus on minimising costs is clearly not going away, balancing this with maximising customer experience will be a must for those who want to stand out in a rapidly changing sector.”

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