supply chain

#29: Razat Gaurav CEO of LLamasoft

Razat Gaurav, CEO of Llamasoft

Razat Gaurav CEO of LLamasoft

Today I am excited to have with us Razat Gaurav, CEO of LLamasoft. LLamasoft is a supply chain design software which helps organizations worldwide across a wide range of industries to model, optimize and simulate their supply chain network, leading to major improvements in cost, service, sustainability and risk mitigation. 50% of Fortune 100 companies have designed their supply chains with LLamasoft.

A few words on Razat Gaurav:
Razat has more than two decades of supply chain planning and execution experience, he has played a critical role in the digital transformations of some of the world’s biggest brands and his work has influenced the flow of billions of dollars’ worth of goods. With proven leadership in scaling and growing enterprise software businesses on a global basis, Razat most recently served as JDA Software’s Executive Vice President, General Manager and Chief Revenue Officer and previously held leadership roles at i2 Technologies and Ernst & Young (EY). A trusted expert on supply chain trends, he has been quoted in The New York Times, Forbes and The Hill, among other top media. Razat has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • How they helped Schneider Electric to save 8 mil USD in cost
  • How to optimize a fresh produce supply chain – like avocados and bananas
  • Outsmarting uncertainty – Challenges that most clients face before implementing LLamasoft software
  • Creating a platform for clients to develop their own Supply Chain APP

Episode #29: Razat Gaurav CEO of LLamasoft

Show notes:

  • [01:32] For the few of our listeners that maybe are not yet familiar with LLamaSoft, What is a simple way to explain what LLamaSoft is?
  • [02:26] Can you give us some case studies of how LLamasoft has helped some of your clients achieve great improvements in their supply chains? I think it was a Schneider Electric study case where you saved 8 mil USD in cost.
  • [07:40] Talking about fresh produce like avocados and bananas – how did LLamasoft play a role in optimizing the supply chain for clients that deal with this kind of goods.
  • [13:20] What are the challenges that most of your clients face before implementing LLamasoft software?
  • [21:10] How do you differentiate yourself from your competition? What are the key elements you focus on?
  • [32:38] I understand that you doubled your headcount in the last three years, now reaching around 500. How do you make sure that the recruitment process is on point – effective? What are the things you look for when hiring?
  • [37:55] What are some of the key attributes you look for in the leadership team?
  • [41:00] What are your expansion plans?  Where do you plan to expand next and what are the next milestones?
  • [45:42] If you were to think about the industry in next 5-10 years. What are some of the trends you see coming?

Listen to all our past episodes:

Top 3 Skills Logistics Companies want to recruit in 2018

Top 3 Skills Logistics Companies want to recruit in 2018

 

The face of the typical logistics professional has morphed. This has resulted in the process of recruitment in the logistics and supply chain industries being more streamlined to identify innovative candidates who can speak the right mix of languages, with the right set of skills. In addition to logistics professionals, the increase in the need to recruit digital technology/ IT professionals is indisputable; their contribution is equally crucial to the safe and effective running of such large international businesses that are heavily dependent on data analytics and processing and other innovative advancements.

These shifts from tradition are direct results of the logistics industry having come a long way from being all about mechanics to lift goods, vessels to transport goods, and space to store goods. Being able to move items does not cut it anymore; clients need their items tomorrow, if not right now, and that to at lower cost. Virtually every existing industry has been put through pressure to work faster, safer and smarter since the rise of information technology and logistics is no exception.

In recent times and especially in 2018, we will again witness a plethora of changes. We discuss 3 such developments.

Digitisation

Individuals and businesses want their goods faster and more flexibly. End consumers often make their purchasing decisions based on how fast they can receive their items at low or better yet, no delivery cost. The manufacturing industry is producing more and more customised solutions, which is good for its customers but hard work for the logistics industry. Put all these push factors together, and logistics companies are squeezed in the same pressure cooker environment.

The demands are met though, by making maximum and intelligent use of technology; from data analytics, to automation, to the Internet of Things (IoT). Cost reduction is a crucial benefit to digitisation, along with improved efficiency, and the opportunity to make genuine breakthroughs in the way the industry works. New industry entrants are finding ways to carve out the more lucrative elements of the value chain by exploiting digital technology or ‘sharing’ business models, without being bogged down by heavy overhead. ‘Sharing’ is a big move for logistics now, from Uber-style approaches to last-mile delivery, to more formal JVs and partnerships at corporate level, the whole sector is redefining collaboration. These ventures are only possible with digitisation.

As a result, the need to recruit digital/IT experts is now high within the logistics sector. Recruitment of skills such as analytics and systematization, systems integration/ business solutions specialisation are required to manage complex IT projects and analyse system and infrastructure integration plans.

Also, the term digital transformation is on a the agenda of many boards and CEOs and we expect the recruitment of such skills to be more and more in demand.

Blockchain Technology

With digitization come inevitable risks in security, and blockchain technology is here to help.

The appeal of blockchain technology is its ability to create decentralized and immutable ledgers; networks that have no single point of failure, are maintained by multiple parties and whose information cannot be hacked or corrupted. This increases the security and transparency of all information that is stored on a blockchain across the cycle of a transaction. All the entities in the chain agree that each transaction is valid in terms of payment, warehousing, transport and/or delivery.

Blockchain also can increase the tracking and transparency of the supply chain. Shippers can gain more visibility across their supply chain and communicate important information such as loads, geo-waypoints and basic compliance information with carriers. Similarly, carriers can continually post information about their capacity for shipping vehicles and lanes, promoting fairest pricing based on supply and demand. The transparency and efficiency provided by the blockchain benefits all parties by allocating resources in the most effective way without markups by brokers.

The Philippines’ Top 40 Trendy Startups of 2017

Corporations and consortia around the globe are starting to invest in and partner with blockchain startups that are building proofs of concept in order to test solutions prior to commercialization. Marine Transport International (MIT) is using the technology to record and store Verified Gross Mass (VGM) data. The company, which is part of BiTA (Block Chain in Transport Alliance) , is building a fully integrated supply chain management system that gives insight into each stage of the logistics process. In addition, the company aims to create a decentralized brokerage system. This will essentially be an open marketplace for shippers and carriers. The end goal: optimising cost and time for every shipment.

To be able to carry out such feats, a solid understanding of the principles around blockchain systems and strong software development or engineering skills are essential. Recruiting the experts is hard. Experience in a back-end developer role is sufficient foundation, along with at least fundamental knowledge on cryptography. However these skills are scarce and companies need to be prepared to invest in training and education.

E-Commerce Booming

Amazon Prime Now’s 2-hour delivery service is the sort of level we are currently being catered to as consumers. Whether we are a pampered lot or not is up for debate, but expecting to get what we want on-demand is becoming the norm.

Due to the well-spread availability of internet connection services, the ease of purchasing items with a few taps on your phone and the promise of cheap and quick shipping, e-commerce has become a dominant market disruptor in the retail economy. Its share of total retail sales which is currently at around 10% worldwide will only grow larger; there was an increase of 23.2% in 2017 compared to the previous year. An urgency exists for logistics providers to rise to new supply chain challenges so as to close the gap between current offering and consumer needs.

Most retail giants at the moment have a broad distribution strategy in which they can reach most of their customer base in two or three days. There is a need now to switch to having smaller, regional centres allocated to serve each area batch of customers, from which they can deliver on the same day. This also translates to purchasing less quantity each order of faster-moving inventory and using a more diffuse supply chain network.

The need to recruit competent, quick-thinking managers to run operations in an ecommerce focused way is more critical than ever to retailers and third party logistics companies both big and small. Companies want problem-solvers with commercial awareness, numeracy and a thirst to further boost their business and management skills.

It looks like the future is bright for logistics professionals and logistics companies that work smart, welcome innovation, and take advantage of new technologies to give themselves an edge over competitors in this dynamic industry.

Sources:

Want to stay updated with latest developments in our industry? Our Podcast is out! Stay tuned here – Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics:

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

About me:

I have been working in consulting and executive search roles for the last decade. My focus: helping clients get better results. And building strong teams in the process.

A fervent believer that people are the key in any business, I enjoy challenging assignments most. The ones that involve using a multitude of channels and tools to find the right senior executive to take our clients business to the next level.

I have lived and worked in several countries across the world. Being exposed to different countries and business realities has helped me mature into a rounded international business manager. And luckily over the years I have had the chance to work with and build great teams.

My focus is on end to end Supply Chain Executive Search: C-level, Vice President, General Management, Supply Chain leadership, Logistics leadership, Procurement leadership, Operations, Regional/Global Project Management appointments.

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Cyber Security in Supply Chain. Is it that important?

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

One thing is clear. Protecting your data is of most importance this day and age. Especially if you are multi million company with global or regional operations. You must take care that your computers, networks, programs are protected and your employees are trained. Cyber attacks can bleed companies of huge amounts of money.

The interconnection of the logistics sectors and their reliance on data/software to track the movement of goods makes industry a standout amongst the most exposed to the danger of cyber attacks.

Data is being shared and stored therefore makes companies in the logistics market ideal candidates for hacking. The motivations can be for acquiring information on customers, such as banking details, or for smugglers wishing to gain control of a specific part of a supply chain.

Cybersecurity is among the top concerns facing organizations today — no genuine shock, given the number of highly publicized data breaches, distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, and the growing expense and multifaceted nature of solving these issues. With the proprietary design, pricing and contract intelligence that flow through complex supply chains, supply management organizations must account for and address the cybersecurity risks in their operational planning and execution. This seemingly straightforward  task requires supply management leaders to understand and balance operational performance opportunities and cybersecurity risk trade-offs within current business plans.

Cyberbased data gathering has become the method of choice for several reasons for a expansive range of these organized threats:

  • It’s cheap and easy. Sophisticated attack tools are easily accessible at hacker sites and require little expertise to use.
  • It’s fast. The very nature of the technology allows the attacker to quickly transfer vast amounts of information, and once your information is out, you can’t get it back.
  • It’s nearly undetectable and un-attributable. The ability of attackers to remove digital fingerprints, the increasing similarity between the tools, tactics and techniques used by various attackers, and the ability to mask geographic location in cyberspace make it difficult to definitively assign blame.

Deloitte on  Cyber Risk

A new Deloitte study, “Cyber Risk in Consumer Business.”  mentioned that consumer products companies, retailers and restaurant businesses may be operating with a false sense of security.

The study captures information from more than 400 chief information officers, chief information security officers, chief technology officers and other senior executives about cyber risks and response plans affecting customer trust, payments, executive level engagement, human capital and intellectual property.

According to the study, more than three-quarters (76%) of consumer business executives report they are highly confident in their ability to respond to a cyber incident, yet many simultaneously face issues that critically impair their ability to do so.

Among the findings:

● The majority of executives surveyed (82%) indicate their organization has not documented and tested cyber response plans involving business stakeholders within the past year.

● Less than half (46%) say their organization performs war games and threat simulations on a quarterly or semi-annual basis.

● One quarter (25%) report lack of cyber funding.

● Roughly 1 in 5 (21%) lack clarity on cyber mandates, roles and responsibilities.

Real life examples

When Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk’s computer system was attacked on June 27 by hackers, it led to disruption in transport across the planet, including delays at the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Los Angeles, Europe’s largest port in Rotterdam, and India’s largest container port near Mumbai, according to reports. That’s because Maersk is the world’s largest shipping company with 600 container vessels handling 15 percent of the world’s seaborne manufactured trade. It also owns port operator APM Terminals with 76 port and terminal facilities in 59 countries around the globe.

For the transportation and logistics (T&L) industry, the June 27 cyberattack is a clarion call to elevate cybersecurity to a top priority. Besides Maersk, press reports said other transportation and logistics industry giants were affected including German postal and logistics company Deutsche Post and German railway operator Deutsche Bahn, which was also a victim of the WannaCry ransomware hack in May.

Looking for the weakest link

While up until now hackers have seemed more preoccupied penetrating computer systems at banks, retailers, and government agencies – places where a hacker can find access to lots of money and data and create substantial disruption – the most recent ransomware attacks demonstrate that the transportation and logistics industry is now on hackers’ radar.

The transportation and logistics industry has characteristics that make it a particularly tempting target. First, the industry is a global one with tentacles into so many different industries around the world. Complex logistical chains are created around manufacturers, and often logistics companies are embedded within production facilities controlling inventory and handling on-demand needs of a plant.

Like with all forms of warfare, attackers will seek out the weakest link in any chain – the most vulnerable element – as a target. Why steal money from the bank with all its infrastructure and protections when you can steal it on the way to the bank? While efforts to protect it along the way are made, almost any criminal could tell you, it is almost always more insecure in transit.

Bringing security to fragmentation

The industry’s fragmentation and its requirement to operate within the various IT systems of its customers makes figuring out cybersecurity solutions more challenging and has led to lower investment. The industry also operates on low margins, making extensive capital expenditure on cybersecurity unattractive. That may be offset by the potential liability costs from hacks.

There are several low-cost, manageable steps that can demystify the cybersecurity risk discussion. These steps also will help you validate your organization’s perceived risk position and reduce its supply chain’s exposure.

They include:

1) Establishing a common understanding of the interdependence and impact of operational business decisions on cybersecurity

2) Conducting a focused assessment to validate your organization’s perceived risk position and form a basis to prioritize investment and implementation strategies

3) Integrating enterprise leadership and the supply chain into a coordinated solution to deter and handle cybersecurity issues.

Understanding Cybersecurity

Links Bridging the technical and business sides of this complicated problem is critical if senior leadership is to effectively provide cybersecurity oversight and guidance in the areas of IT acquisition, adoption of business applications and processes, cybersecurity budgets and IT outsourcing.

Without a common baseline understanding of the size, cost and complexity of the cyberthreat, and the remediation and transfer options available to the organization, it is difficult to truly appreciate and scope your organization’s risk profile. To make matters worse, without a common orientation, the response and remediation may not be satisfactory when a cybersecurity event occurs.

For example, when the CEO wants to know exactly how long an adversary has been on the system or exactly what was taken, it would be more productive if he or she understood basic cyberforensic capabilities and limitations.

Conclusions

Increasingly, shippers and regulators will require transportation and logistics companies to guarantee the integrity of product and transport data, as well as ensure compliance with stricter cybersecurity laws. This will include carriers and forwarders, who are assuming central roles in supply chains as hubs for data exchange, making them high-value targets.

Every organisation must be as active as possible in building strong systems for protection against cyber attacks. Forward-looking companies will begin to see a safer logistical offering as a competitive advantage, especially if attacks continue. In the end, no industry will be entirely safe from the threat of cyberattacks. But every industry must do its part to at least make the job of hackers hard.

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

Blockchain – Revolution in Supply Chain?

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

Supply chains revolutionized how our society runs, now supply chains are being revolutionized.

The name of the NEW game: blockchain! Supply chains can lack transparency and traceability. Two things at which blockchain is great at.

Systems work based on transactions. They are built on a distributed blockchain ledger can record the transfer of goods as transactions. This transparency can ensure the cost of goods will more accurately reflect the actual cost of manufacturing them. Issues such as use of forced labor and illegal sourcing of materials can potentially disappear. But despite the hype and its potential, it could take a decade or more before the technology achieves its full potential.

We have a few interesting examples. Provenance, a UK-based startup, works with clients so they can use its blockchain-based technology to “share your product’s journey and your business impact on environment and society.” Mining giant BHP Billiton is using the technology to track mineral analysis done by outside vendors. The startup Everledger has uploaded unique identifying data on a million individual diamonds to a blockchain ledger system to build quality assurances and help jewelers comply with regulations barring “blood diamond” products.

Walmart is working with IBM and Tsinghua University, in Beijing. They want to follow the movement of pork in China with a blockchain.

Long term what we should have in mind:

Potential to disrupt many industries

There are parallels between this global-scale distributed technology and previous technology-driven transformative waves, such as the web and the internet. Early technology adoption of blockchain will progress over the next three to seven years, but mainstream adoption across the supply chain and at scale is likely 10 or more years away. Similar to RFID in its early days, business processes and standards must be resolved before blockchain can reach its potential.

It is not a replacement for database tech

Many believe, but they are wrong, that blockchain is a replacement for traditional database technologies — it lacks the ability to create, read, update and delete information. For the immediate future, traditional database management tools and platforms will continue to prevail in supply chain, where data is created, maintained and consumed largely internally. Database capabilities, however, will increasingly need to scale and integrate across a broader number of supply chain network partners and ultimately customers. There is where blockchain is best.

You can’t just buy a solution!

There is no blockchain solutions to buy for supply chain use at the moment. There continues to be a lot of hype, with few even partially deployed and very limited prototypes, for which firmer results or tangible uses cases are still be reported. Only organizations that are especially risk-tolerant and early adopters of technologies should consider supply chain management blockchain initiatives over the next two to five years.

Stormy waters ahead

There are more challenges than we can mention here. Blockchain technologies and associated supply chain best practices bring adoption challenges, including a lack of standards, robust platforms, scalable distributed consensus systems and interoperability mechanisms.Scalability across supply chains will need to be carefully planned.

Laws and regulations — which vary from country to country — also pose a challenge to global scaling of blockchain. Before governments can be convinced to support this effort, industry must agree on best practices and standards of technology.

Adoption too late or too early as part of an extended supply chain and supply chain maturity progression may do damage to the entire organisation.

Also there’s the need to overcome embedded corporate thinking. Business leaders and organizations need to open up to the sharing of information with mainly unseen network partners.

In conclusion

Blockchain is presently at the peak of Gartner’s Hype Cycle, which means the next stop is the Trough of Disillusionment. In supply chain circles the technology is suddenly drawing serious interest, in part because of IBM’s recent push to go public with pilots including one with Maersk and another with Walmart.

As RFID promised to do, blockchain could one day provide certainty on the exact source of every ingredient in every jar, in every case, on every shelf and at all times. Was your palm oil sustainably sourced? Are the cherries in your ice cream organic? Are the avocados in your salad imported from Mexico? Also reminiscent of RFID, however, is a decent amount of uncertainty about the timing of the business case.

Envisioning a digitally enabled supply chain strategy is a must-do activity for everyone. Fitting blockchain into that strategy now means listening more than talking. Listen to your colleagues in corporate IT who are likely ahead of you since they’ve often faced this topic already with financial transactions. Also, listen also to vendors like IBM who are invested in establishing a market for this technology and can afford to find and foster pioneering users like Walmart and Maersk.

Blockchain may still be down the road, but its potential demands your attention now.

Some of my other articles (would appreciate your feedback):

About me:

I have been working in consulting and executive search roles for the last decade. My focus: helping clients get better results. And building strong teams in the process.

A fervent believer that people are the key in any business, I enjoy challenging assignments most. The ones that involve using a multitude of channels and tools to find the right senior executive to take our clients business to the next level.

I have lived and worked in several countries across the world. Being exposed to different countries and business realities has helped me mature into a rounded international business manager. And luckily over the years I have had the chance to work with and build great teams.

My focus is on end to end Supply Chain Executive Search: C-level, Vice President, General Management, Supply Chain leadership, Logistics leadership, Procurement leadership, Operations, Regional/Global Project Management appointments.

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Morgan Philips Executive Search is the headhunting firm – 21st century version. We have created an extremely innovative digital model enabling you to recruit your talent better, quicker and more effective.

Hottest Supply Chain Jobs in Asia Pacific

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

According to DHL’s 2016 Trend Radar, the major influences on logistics and supply chain, what they called “megatrends,” are growing security awareness, the increased shift towards cleaner energy production and transportation, and further digitalization. These megatrends translate into the need to develop more cost-effective, efficient, flexible, and eco-friendly solutions, especially for transportation. A lot of faith is being placed in the “Internet of Things” as the next big source of data that will enable higher degrees of efficiency, effectiveness, and flexibility.

The Asia Pacific Perspective

While these trends won’t bypass Asia-Pacific, it is important to understand that the region has its inherited challenges that should also be addressed. According to data from the Asian Development Bank, Asian economies lose 2% to 5% of their BDP due to road congestion, while the number of vehicles on the roads is doubling every 5 to 7 years. Asia-Pacific is notorious for its lack of unified customs regulations. In fact, every significant indicator shows that the region is very far from being uniform. Everything from the GDP growth rate and GDP per capita up to the percentage of active Internet users and the gross domestic expenditure on research and development varies widely from one country to the other.

This leaves countries in Asia-Pacific in a position where they have to invest in infrastructure so that they can catch up with other regions, they have to work on further integration and cross-border cooperation to present a more unified market, and keep in line with the global tendencies towards a cleaner, safer, and more efficient world.

The Jobs in Demand

Logistics and supply chain businesses in the Asia-Pacific region have three primary drivers on the job market. The growth of the Asian-Pacific economies and the increase of manufacturing operations in the region is not showing signs of waning. The problems with transportation infrastructure and customs require more careful planning to reduce costs, improve shipping times, and make transportation more eco-friendly. There is an industry-wide increase in implementation of the latest technological solutions that will help improve efficiency.

  • Solution Design managers

 

Solution design managers will play a crucial role in bringing the new advancements into the Asia-Pacific markets. Even though there are initiatives in the region towards further trade harmonization, especially due to the efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), there is still a discrepancy in the quality of infrastructure between the member countries. And the solution to this problem will not, and can not, be a quick one – the Asian Development Bank estimates that, by 2020, the capacity of airports in the region will be only 41% of needed, the capacity of roads will be 78% of needed, and the capacity of ports will be 48% of needed.

The traditional role of solution design managers as the people who are in charge developing logistics network strategies, designing transport and warehousing solutions will make them indispensable for businesses who are looking to follow the growth rates of the region and stay ahead of the competition. Solution design managers will also be in demand because there will be a need to integrate the newest developments in robotics and digitalization into the work environment, and to make sure that these developments are utilized to the full extent.

  • Transportation Data Analysts

Transportation data analysts will face an increased demand for the same reasons as the solution design managers: the need to make transport in the Asia-Pacific region as efficient, cost-effective, and ecologically sound as possible, as well the need to interpret and implement the data derived from the booming technology of the Internet of Things. In 2015, the world was around a hundred million short of having five billions of things connected by IoT. In 2020, that number is expected to rise to over twenty billion, with some sources estimating it will go as high as two hundred billion.

The IoT is expected to present an opportunity for supply chains to gain an unprecedented level of insight. Today, roughly 40% of all units connected to the IoT are in the manufacturing and supply chain industry. Handling that amount of data will be left to cloud computing, but there will be a need for actual people to do a part of the analysis and to advise on the best ways to implement information derived from big data.

  • Software and Robotics Engineers

In 2012, the global e-commerce giant Amazon purchased Kiva Systems, a robotics company which dealt in warehouse automatization. Amazon has also announced they will be implementing a program called “Prime Air”, which will allow 30-minute delivery of small packages using drones.Amazon’s initiatives to increase automatization of its supply chain using robotics has placed it on the cutting edge of the trend. FedEx and UPS have also been researching drones, as well as other methods to automate transportation.

While we’re waiting for drones to come into widespread use, companies are continuing to use digital solutions to increase the efficiency of their operations, and to offer more convenience to their customers. Daimler and DHL are launching their “smart ready to drop” program in Germany, allowing DHL delivery personnel to deliver goods purchased online directly into the boot of the buyers’ Daimler smart car – without the need for the buyers to be near their car. The whole process is facilitated by the use of a special app.

It’s still not clear whether the big transportation and logistics companies will buy robotics manufacturers like Amazon did, or if they will look outside of their house for robotics and automatization solutions. It can, however, be expected that there will be an increased in the near future for software engineers and robotics engineers who will develop and maintain solutions for the automatization process, as well as the many smart solutions we are already seeing arise.

Opinions

Would be great to hear your perspective on this.

Is there any job or skill set that we missed which is in high demand now?

Any predictions for the future ‘most wanted’ skills?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

Some of my other articles on Linkedin:

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Executives, Shut Up more during the Interview!

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

It feels nice to be on the top of a headhunter’s list of an executive position, doesn’t it?

It’s what you deserve, after all – you’ve been doing your work diligently. You’ve met expectations and exceeded them. You’ve made things happen. You had results. You feel like you belong in the 2% of applicants who get to the interview phase.

And naturally, when you get to a meeting with a hiring manager, you have stories to tell. You want them to be smitten by your experience. You want them to see that you’re the best person for the job, the ONLY person they should consider to fill the position.

So you talk. You make sure that nothing you think should be mentioned slips your mind. You give the hiring manager a hundred and one reasons to remember you when the time comes to make the choice.

But they don’t. You don’t get the call saying that you’re the new COO at Company Ltd. And you’re left wondering why.

Here’s the most common reason why: You probably TALKED too much! And did not ASK them enough questions!

Being a person who is in the position to be approached by a hiring manager for an executive position, there are some things you should be aware of. The most significant one is that businesses, at least the good ones, do not use the services of hiring managers to find people for whom they will tailor-make a position. When businesses are looking for new executives, they have a clear agenda. They have a need, and you’re the person they think might fulfill it. That’s what hiring managers are looking for, and that’s what you need to be.

A solution!

The single most important thing you need to do during the interview is to make sure you come off as a solution for the hiring company’s problems. And for that:

  1. You need to find out what are the hiring company’s problems are
  2. Demonstrate your experience, personality and skills are the answer to their problems

Revisit the Basics of Interviewing

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that you don’t necessarily have to know why the company is looking for a new executive. Maybe the old one retired. Maybe he was fired. Maybe he got promoted to another position. Maybe the company is branching. In some cases, the hiring manager might volunteer that information. In other cases, you might get a vague explanation such as “the company is thinking about taking a new direction.” Or even worse, you might get some meaningless phrases in business-speak thrown at you.

That’s why it’s important that you do your homework before the interview. The interview 101 you knew by heart when you were looking for your first job mentioned it. It’s still relevant – you need to find out as much as you can about the company and why they are looking for a new executive as you can before facing a hiring manager. You can look into the specifics, but you can also become familiar with the recruitment trends in your industry. That will greatly increase your chances to becoming an answer to the question they will never ask directly.

If You Haven’t Done Your Homework, Pay Close Attention!

But if you’re not able to do all of that digging, listening and asking questions at the interview could do the trick. So, when the hiring manager asks you something, don’t see that as an opportunity to boast with all of your accomplishments. They know them. They’ve done their homework. Give them an answer to the question they asked, nothing more, nothing less. If you don’t understand something about their questions, or you think they could provide you with information which could help you give them a better answer, ask them. And listen to their answer.

Conclusion

It’s paramount that you and the hiring manager stay on the same page during the whole interview. Some positions, for example, can be held in different kinds of industries. You might have experience working in different industries. You might even be targeted because of your cross-industry experience, as this is one of the tactics advised to employ to get quality talent and facilitate much needed change.

But when a hiring manager comes knocking, make sure you use the same language they are using. Don’t speak about your accomplishments in a tech company if they’re looking to hire someone who worked in the financial sector. Speak about your experiences in the financial sector, even if your most recent employment was in a tech company.

Keep in mind – an interview is not the place for you to display your magnificent ego. It’s not a place where you will have your praises sung. It’s a place where you go to become a solution for a problem. You don’t have to be the best in your field. You have to be what the person in front of you is looking for.

Some of my other articles on Linkedin:

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

The fight for talent – Logistics Start-ups vs Established MNCs

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

Rise of Logistics Start ups

In today’s tech-enabled world, just about anything can be ordered anywhere in the world from a smartphone. However, traditional supply chain and logistics services are yet to catch up. A shipment across continents requires multiple layers of providers, takes days and is often complicated to manage. This has provided a golden opportunity to a variety of startups, in Asia and worldwide, that have emerged to tackle the shortcomings. From intra-city delivery, to on-demand storage and innovative web-based tools and platforms, startups are now catering to varied logistics needs for all kinds of businesses.

One of the most experienced companies in growing ecommerce startups – Rocket Internet – has focused a lot on growing their Lazada and Zalora ecommerce brands. And just this week, Alibaba announced it agreed to buy a US$1 billion controlling stake in Lazada. Moreover, this investment, together with US$250 million into SingPost, Singapore’s national postal service, means Alibaba is trying to get their foot in the door into South East Asia ecommerce market.

Further looking at the start-up battleground we have a few remarkable players. Thailand’s aCommerce, has had an impressive growth. With offices and distribution centres in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines and over 140 enterprise clients and 300 percent growth, things are looking up for them. The start-up is providing end-to-end services with focus on ecommerce clients. They have raised over US$20 million in funding and arranging an offline-to-online shift after an investment and partnership deal with DKSH, a major Swiss company.

Another example of a fast growing start-up, Singapore-based online grocery company RedMart is close to raising a massive $100 million Series C round. Their plan is to expand their service across Asia. They already secured over $50 million from investors like Garena, SoftBank Ventures Korea, Visionnaire Ventures, and Facebook co­-founder Eduardo Saverin.

Big players in e-commerce are also busy with expanding their footprint. Infrastructure developments in the region is happening on the border of Hong Kong and China. Over 2 million square feet of e-commerce warehousing are being constructed, that nearly triples e-commerce logistics capacity in Hong Kong since 2014. TaoBao, JD.com and others are driving the expansion as they continue to enable China’s consumer desire for genuine products and foreign-made brands in South China.

But it’s not just about ecommerce. There is a lot of excitement around the future for on-demand platforms like Uber or Grab. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced the company will eye logistics as its next frontier “We’re in the business, today, of delivering cars in five minutes. But once you’re delivering cars in five minutes, there’s a lot of things you can deliver in five minutes.”

So “Uber for logistics” is well on the way. In Asia, however, where the logistics industry remains less sophisticated than that of the US or western Europe, this wave is already happening. Companies offering logistics-on-demand face growing demand by the day . It’s more important to get things done than have a great plan. By doing without fancy black cars in favor of white vans and trucks, Lalamove, Ninja Van and Gogovan have beaten Uber.

Funding for Logistics Startups in Southeast Asia has been on the rise

Who will get the best talent: Startups or Established supply chain organisations?

With the startup wave rising, the logistics industry is witnessing employee movement, especially in mid- to senior-level, from established 3PLs or Supply chain organisations to new age ventures. Employees are moving to startups mainly because of the exciting work culture, sometimes even substantial pay rise and significantly larger roles. All of the above can be clearly attributed to “meaningful aspirations” employees have today from their work and workplaces. Startups are also wooing employees with stock options. This allows them to engage employees for a long term. Candidates view this as an attractive opportunity with the potential of cashing-in when a company is bought over or announces its IPO.

Additionally, established start-ups are easily able to attract talent thanks to their appealing employer brand. Top young candidates would be reluctant to go join an established 3PL or supply chain organization because of its perceived conservative culture. However, the same candidates would probably jump at the opportunity to work at Uber, Amazon, Grab or why not Red Mart.

Working as a senior executive in a MNC means making a high salary, maybe driving a sports car, using a corporate card and other perks. So why would anyone give that up to take a pay cut, network with programmers and give up the fancy corner office for a desk at a coworking space?

The answer is – to change the world!

A 2011 report commissioned by the Career Advisory Board and conducted by Harris Interactive, found that the No. 1 factor that young adults ages 21 to 31 wanted in a successful career was a sense of meaning. The Google Careers homepage sums it up in their simple yet bold headline: “Do cool things that matter.”

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As a great example, RedMart, managed to hire ex-eBay marketing director Todd Kurie last year. Take Lazada and Zalora’s management teams, who are made up almost exclusively of finance professionals, ex McKinsey and other high flying individuals who are leaving their corporate careers behind for the technology industry.

This has been the trend at Rocket Internet’s companies, as portrayed by an ex employee: “Everyone was coming from a banking or consulting background. Rocket Internet CEO asked himself where he could find the biggest overachievers. He knew that type came from Goldman, McKinsey and other consultant firms. They had the pedigree that made it easier for him to raise money – every investor respected these employees because they had the same background.”

So should established 3PLs and Supply Chain organisations be concerned?

Yes! Absolutely!

Given that top-tier people with such a broad profile are hard to find. A recent survey of 400 executives of multinational companies by Deloitte found that 71% have difficulty recruiting senior leadership for their companies’ supply chains; 74% said they would need strategic thinking and problem-solving skills in their supply chain managers, but less than half said their companies are good at it now.

Companies that don’t invest in hiring or cultivating talent now will suffer greatly 3 years down the road. This coupled with the fact that the top young graduates will continue to prefer joining a Uber or Amazon rather than a brand perceived as traditional, will spark serious trouble for a lot of companies.

As I have written before, the investment needs to be done in employer branding and building a talent pipeline. But even beyond this two points, established organisations need to walk the talk!

And their senior management needs to move beyond hierarchical and usually slow decision making and to much faster ability to respond to market conditions. And give these high flyer and overachiever profiles enough scope to make an impact. Fast!

Moreover, companies should consider injecting new blood from outside the traditional industry into their executive teams, to be catalysts for these changes. Because at the moment, the picture is not very rosy. And most established organisations failing to adapt fast enough. And this is something we are hearing again and again from our C-level candidates themselves!

Innovation is the key!

For example, an obvious question, looking at the 3PL organisations: why is there none of them implementing their own GoGoVan or UBER? When these startups were small, they could have even been an acquisition target. Though time is not lost, with more start-ups coming and growing aggressively. However courage and ability to take tough decisions is required.

And don’t get me wrong, there are some companies which can be shared as positive examples. XPO is probably one of the more aggressive and progressive out there, having allocated $400 million annual investment in technology worldwide to drive innovation.

Also, take DHL, they were the first and fastest to create the ecommerce business in response to market conditions. And subsequently, SingPost and their logistics arm, Quantium Solutions, actually built on DHL strategy, attracting their top senior management and then establishing themselves as key players in ecommerce themselves. Not to mention they also were quick to name at that point in time two key partners of McKinsey, Wolfgang Baier and Sascha Hower, as CEO respectively COO, to drive the change.

Conclusions

The market today is more dynamic and moves faster than anything we have seen ever before. Supply chain and logistics are obvious catalysts for productivity and cost improvement and are prone target of these fast changes.

Hence, in order to stay relevant and keep attracting top talent, the key questions senior executives of established organisations should ask themselves are:

  • How can we speed up our decision making process?
  • How can we attract and give freedom to take decisions to our top talent?
  • How can we leverage our top performers to to reinvent our business?

Established organisations need to pay attention to the fast pace of change that happens in the industry – from start-ups to new technology. And try to keep up! The more nimble you are, the faster you will adapt.

References:

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!

Future of Recruitment in the Logistics Industry in 2016

This article was firsts published on my Linkedin Profile – here.

What is the future of Logistics in Asia? Is the industry slowing down or is there still room to grow? What type of skillsets are in high demand? And what new focus areas does HR need to address to attract the right talent?
With a network of 5 offices covering Asia Pacific, our team at Morgan Philips asked some of the industry experts and leaders for their feedback. These interactions combined with in-depth market research have allowed us to draw 5 trends that will shape recruitment in the industry in 2016.

#1. Consolidation impacts the job market


In the 3PL world, the last 12 months have brought about significant acquisitions. FedEx bought over TNT, Japan Post purchased Toll, DSV took over UTI, XPO acquired Con-way logistics. And the list is expected to continue over the next months and years. In the process, a number of top executives from the acquired company have left or are expected to leave, having sometimes a ripple effect in the management pool.

Moreover, some of the bigger supply chain regional organizations are increasingly looking into adding more contractual staff instead of full time employees. And moving some of the resources from regional HQs like Singapore or Hong Kong closer to the manufacturing hubs, mostly in countries like Thailand, China or increasingly Vietnam. Especially for consumer, electronics, hi-tech and even healthcare sectors.

As a result of these movements, the job market will see a pool of highly qualified and competent candidates become available. And facing the to find a suitable role that can fit their credentials in the same geographical area.

#2. Localization of the workforce

Localization will continue to be a focus throughout 2016 and organizations are trying as much as possible to find local residents to fill key positions. More and more expat contracts have been reduced in an attempt by companies to cut their costs and balance internal equity.

In Singapore for example, as the Ministry of Manpower has taken steps to restrict foreigners, employers find it harder to take on new staff from overseas and an increasing number of visa renewals are being turned down.

Even in emerging economies like Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines or Indonesia the first priority is to find local talent that can drive the business growth. Even if that means looking for them outside of the Asian continent.

In this context, Morgan Philips has been approached by 3 companies in the last 6 months to scout for local talents working in US and Europe to return home. And fill the skills gap in the job market.

#3. New technologies, specific skill sets and talent gap

Disruptive technologies such as 3D printing, advanced robotics, big data analytics, the Internet of Things (IOT) and supply chain operating networks are revolutionizing the way organizations run their supply chain. Deloitte forecasted that by 2020, 70% of companies will use advances such as predictive analytics and wearable technology in their supply chains. This shift will have a profound impact on the roles and skill sets required in the future. Companies will need candidates who bring a holistic understanding of business, IT systems and analytics to effectively integrate the emerging technologies and add value to their supply chain.

Moreover, economic developments across Asia have seen a lot of development in contract logistics and consolidated distribution centers. Let’s just look at Singapore where modern warehouses have mushroomed in the last years. DB Schenker, DHL, Kuehne Nagel, SDV, Toll, YCH, are only a few of the companies who have already built or are building mega hubs. All these facilities come with a higher and higher degree of automation. Which means highly critical skills demanded in the market are automation and industrial talent, as well as solution design experts.

Healthcare logistics skills are also quickly getting in high demand too. Especially in cold chain development, the lack of talent is wide. And this spreads across the region, in countries with a history of healthcare, like Korea, Japan, Singapore, but also emerging countries like Thailand or China.

#4. Focus on employer branding

The supply chain and logistics profession is confronted with an image that’s sometimes less than ideal. Work in warehouses, on ships or in trucks and trains tends to be associated with unpleasant working conditions and a less than attractive career path.

In 2016 and years to come, HR leaders will have to look at implementing new initiatives to make their organizations’ brand known in the market. And find attractive ways to capture the interest of the industry’s most talented individuals. Whilst usually the correlation to the business is hard to count in dollars and cents, more and more, a powerful employer brand will be crucial to attracting the best people to develop the business.

#5. Build a talent pipeline

In China, where the sector is developing fast, today there are 284 universities offering logistics management. 58 of them launched logistics labs where students get to know the advancing state of technology in logistics, such as: forklifts, high-rack stackers, high-bay racks, pick by light or pick by voice or RFID.

A couple of year ago, DHL and The Logistics Institute – Asia Pacific of the National University of Singapore (NUS) established the S$3 million Sustainable Supply Chain Centre of Asia Pacific (SSCCAP). It is the region’s first best-practice hub and intellectual property engine to drive sustainable supply chain development in the Asia Pacific region.

Companies like Apple, Heineken and Infineon have very strong internship programs designed to engage the young talent early and identify the next supply chain leaders.

This is key to building a healthy talent pipeline needed to sustain the growth most companies are experiencing in Asia.

Conclusion

We expect 2016 to bring about interesting market dynamics.
Companies have to learn to adapt faster to market changes, embrace technology to stay relevant and invest long term in their brand to stand out to ever more demanding candidates.

Candidates need to be prepared to face the reality that the supply chain world is in a phase of consolidation, be flexible to embrace new technologies and ready to shift gears. And if necessary countries.

The world is spinning faster than ten years ago. He, who adjusts his future competences to this reality, will also have most to gain.

What are thoughts be on the topic? Would welcome your feedback and opinions in the comments below.

Always happy to connect on Linkedin for future interactions!