Interview with Áine Fanning
Introduce yourself and your role
Cpl is a global provider of workforce solutions to organisations, with clients ranging from startup companies to multinational corporations. Cpl’s Talent Evolution Group is built from our need to not just provide, but evolve, solutions to meet our clients’ changing needs.
Biggest supply chain skills gaps?
Supply chain functions have changed significantly in recent years; the right talent can be challenging to find at all levels across these teams.
The biggest skills gaps are at the operational level. This is most notable in the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries in the warehouse and logistics spaces. There are also gaps in technology and business-intelligence supply chain roles.
Procurement is also going through its own revolution, requiring varied skill sets. It’s no longer just about suppliers and cost management, but also about supplier ecosystem development, and how this can bring value and innovation to organisations (while also driving ESG strategic agendas).
This has led to he need for new procurement skill sets, in the areas of sustainability and diversity.
We are seeing an increasing demand for technology-driven skills – from data analytics and automation to technology enablement across all supply chain functions.
What’s causing these skills gaps?
Technology transformation has meant supply chain and procurement professionals have had to review the skills needed in their teams, both today and for the digitally transformed future they’re working towards.
We have seen a rise in the skills requirements for agility, sustainability and resilience. This has led to new ways of working. Both traditional and new roles now require newer skills.
What’s the answer to supply chain skills shortages?
As many ‘new’ skills are not part of current or traditional role requirements within supply chain and procurement, we have partnered with our clients to support their talent strategies.
This might mean looking at a skills assessment in their organisation, and identifying future talent needs. Such partnerships can often lead to a multi-tiered strategy, including components such as investing in upskilling the current workforce, as well as identifying and hiring new role-types.
There is greater emphasis now on how to screen and assess candidates based on transferable skills, aptitude and attitude over linear work and sector experience.
This might mean partnering with clients to develop talent-attraction strategies and bespoke recruitment marketing strategies, to target candidates who might have transferable skills sets but lack industry experience. Such people might not have considered careers in supply chain.
Who inspires you?
My teams inspire me every day. Their focus on our clients and commitment to finding innovative ways to deliver the best solutions to meet our client needs creates an invigorating environment of both collaboration and innovation. Even when times are challenging, and we must react quickly to clients ramping up or scaling down, the attitude, approach, and positivity of the team can make a challenging job much easier.
On a personal note, my mother has always been an inspiration for me, in her positive and respectful approach to everyone she encounters. This quality has enabled me to be a positive female leader, and to have authentic and meaningful partnerships with our clients.
Best advice ever received?
To embrace change and find solutions to challenges, even if at first they seem out of the box. The value of this was demonstrated during the pandemic, when we all had to show adaptability and agility. We embraced ways of working that may have once seemed improbable, and major projects were able to be completed overnight.