Top hiring tips to equip your Supply Chain team in Singapore

Since the onset of the pandemic crisis, many industries have seen a pressure to manage its Supply Chain and Procurement process more prudently. This is largely the case for the Lifesciences and Medical Devices industry. As an integral part of Commercial and Manufacturing Operations, Supply Chain teams ensure a smooth flow of inventory to ensure that Demand and Supply is being met.

Supply Chain challenges made evident by COVID-19

First, and probably the most evident, was the unprecedented pressures on global Supply Chains created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent series of lockdowns and restrictions which varied in their timing and severity from country to country. Though vaccine manufacturers reported substantial capacity, essential vaccine manufacturing supplies like giant plastic bags and glass vials were hard to come by, understandably, as countries ordered more vaccines at one time than ever before.

According to Accenture, 94% of Fortune 1000 companies saw Supply Chain disruptions from COVID-19 and 75% of companies have had negative or strongly negative impacts on their businesses.

With this in mind, Supply Chain and Procurement teams have been on the lookout for more talented applicants who can further improve the procurement process of the company. The pharmaceutical industry require talent that can conduct:

  • Proper identification of patterns in Demand and Supply
  • Ensuring logistics and warehousing are strategically aligned to organisational needs
  • Enhancing Supply Chain capabilities through smooth implementation of technology
  • Leveraging on data to analyse and capture recurring patterns and red flags
  • Ensure all the items are produced at the desired time
  • Products are delivered seamlessly

We spoke to Shareen Grace, our Supply Chain, Procurement and Logistics recruitment expert who shared some insights on what hiring managers should be looking out for in candidates today.

“More organisations with Supply Chain teams are placing a significant amount on emphasis on not just technical abilities but cultural fit as well as strategic business partnering abilities. Being dynamic and adaptable in today’s world is essential, and many are willing to forgo a little bit on technical skills of prospective candidates, but are very firm on cultural fit, and one’s willingness to learn. When assessing your candidate, they will need to be dynamic and can adapt and be swift in picking up pace not just in times of crisis. It’s ok if talent are lacking in some areas of experience, but they must be able to leverage on their past experience and display their ability to take on the challenge.

Along with this, having a strong business acumen and being able to effectively understand, and bridging gaps to ensure a smooth Supply Chain operations is taken on within the organisation is crucial. With all this in mind, hiring managers need to ask the right questions during interviews to make sure they check all the requirements on cultural fit, capabilities, and scope.”

If you’re building up your Procurement, Demand and Supply Chain teams, here are some questions you can ask to assess your interviewees.


How to assess your Supply Chain candidate 

Technical assessment for Supply Chain jobs in Singapore:

  • Understanding of Supply Chain processes within the business

Ask questions that can support you in understanding how your candidate can identify the link and symbiosis of logistics, planning, and distribution.

  • Supply Chain Excellence

Various companies are currently leveraging on use of data to- better analyse trends, pick out red flags in advance, and make decisions on the go. Hence, your ideal candidate needs to be swift and agile. In order to do so, they would require technical knowledge on Excel and SAP.

  • Bridging the gaps

No candidate will be a perfect fit for an organisation, especially from a technical skills point of view as every company functions on differing best practices. To identify good talent, you need to sought out candidates who can not only illustrate their experience to you, but also be able to relate and adapt to the current needs of your organisation. The art of flipping the narrative to work in their favour will allow you to be able to picture this candidate’s value that they could bring to the company in future.


Cultural-fit assessment for Supply Chain jobs in Singapore:

When searching for a new member to join your team, it’s important to consider not only review the candidate’s experience and qualifications, but also assess whether they would fit into your unique company culture.

  • Identifying the environment that they can perform best in

A candidate’s answer to this question will give you an idea of what work environment they find most enjoyable and what may be most conducive to their productivity. This is particularly important when hiring for a virtual position, as you want to find someone who can thrive while working largely independently. While working from home has its advantages, it’s not suited for everyone.

  • Identifying their preferred workstyle

This question gives the candidate an opportunity to tell you about their work style from another’s point of view. Did their former co-workers often compliment them on their ability to prioritise and complete tasks under strict deadlines? This is especially great to know when searching for a virtual employee. Additionally, it allows the candidate to talk about their strengths which would be beneficial for you to know how it may fit with the rest of your team.

  • Identifying their preferred management style

A company’s management style can be a helpful factor when determining a potential employee’s cultural fit. Employees say they would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their boss. In Singapore, it is also good to note that many employees who had quit during the COVID-19 period cited that they feel undervalued or underappreciated, and resigned to find more meaningful and purposeful work. How companies supported their workers throughout the pandemic will also influence whether employees choose to stay. Considering that fact, it would be helpful to find out what management style a potential employee works best under.

  • Identifying what their priorities are

Whether you are an old school company that mandates working in office 5 days a week, a company that offers a hybrid working model with work from home opportunities, or even a company that allows for employees to work from home indefinitely, be sure to make this clear in the interview process to set expectations.

At the same time, assess from the response of the candidate whether they are a fit with your team that you are trying to build.


Recruitment trends in Singapore within Supply Chain

Shareen also added that “In Supply Chain, hiring managers tend to desire candidates that have a good balance between existing skillsets as well as cultural fit and personality.”

He added that because of this, it seems to be that most desirable candidates come from FMCG industries – who are strong technical-wise as they potentially have a background in established multinational companies (MNCs) and are exposed to international cultures. With that, they have a knack for liaising with overseas clients, and tend to be more comfortable in speaking with others. 


What are the top Supply Chain jobs in Singapore that are in demand?

  • Planning team

Shareen shared “After COVID-19, many organisations are picking up in terms of revenue. To continue this trend, Demand Planners will need to work even more closely with their sales teams to understand what the potential forecast for upcoming quarters would be, evaluate whether it’s a realistic goal to achieve, and manage expectations. On top of that, they are needed to manage the amount of inventory needed to satisfy customers’ needs and volume to avoid over production of manufacturing or under supply.” As such, it is worth to conclude that Demand Planners can catalyse great return on investments for a company, as well as ensure the firm remains cost-effective.

Supply planners can be on the Commercial department to handle finished goods and inventory, or Manufacturing department in planning for raw materials to manufacture products. Shareen pointed out that unlike Demand Planners, Supply Planners would have less interaction with external customers, but would still require good stakeholder management internally. Supply planners ensure that there are enough raw materials to produce actual items and facilitate the movement of raw materials that comes into the site.

  • Logistics, Warehousing and Transport team

Logistics and Transport were areas hit the hardest by COVID-19 in Supply Chain. With trade routes being re-routed, this has caused much disruption in the transport of goods and products that were required within specific timeframes.

  • Inventory Management team

Shareen shared an example that included the need for goods to flow from a headquartered firm in the United States (US) to a regional base like Asia Pacific (APAC). Talent is thus heavily needed in Logistics and Transport, and talent will need to be swift and agile to ensure that inventory requirements are met.  


Need help with your hiring strategy for Supply Chain professionals?

If your firm is looking to upscale your Supply Chain and Procurement team, please reach out to us via the form below and a dedicated specialist consultant will be in touch with you.

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Whether you’re a professional looking for a job or a business seeking highly skilled talent, the team at Real is here for you.

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