During my consultations with Chamber members and community partners, we often address the state of our Region’s workforce; and the sources of stress on both people and businesses. It is fair to say that every industry sector has been impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic and the resulting shortages of workers and materials throughout the supply chain.
I recently sat down with Jeremy Banta, Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at Columbus State Community College and Chamber Board member, for a coffee and conversation.
Fuller: How has the job market changed in the last few years in the industry?
Banta: There has been a relaxing of standards in hiring when it comes to attendance and occurrences. It looks much different and is less strict than it was years ago. We are also seeing hiring by apps that job seekers can download to their phones. When it comes to “peak season”, that has now moved earlier in the year to August.
Fuller: What innovations have you seen in the last 3 years?
Banta: The post-Covid reality is there are fewer people in the workforce, meaning less workers to fill critical roles. The industry, like many others, is still figuring out how to address this. We are seeing a renewed look at the importance of corporate culture when it comes to attracting and keeping people. Businesses are recognizing the importance of on-the-job training for workers. When you add in AI, so much is changing and evolving.
Fuller: What skills and/or certifications are businesses looking for when hiring or promoting people?
Banta: We are trying hard to reduce and eliminate barriers to entry for workers. It can sometimes be a challenge to teach skills that are specific to a company. AI definitely creates more opportunities for those who operate/repair/maintain the equipment. We also continue to see the need for multi-craft maintenance technicians for the same reasons of operate/maintain/repair the equipment necessary to make the operation run.
Fuller: What advice would you give job seekers looking for a career in Supply Chain/Logistics?
Banta: Go get something in the field. Look for ways to get your foot in the door, even if it is on an off shift. There are opportunities to learn on the job and gain the experience necessary to move up in the in industry. Remember that Supply Chain is about more than warehousing. There are lots of jobs and career paths within the industry.
Vice President of Talent & Workforce Development