Reshoring, Near-Shoring, and Supply Chain Optimization: Impacts on Workforce and the Need for Talent

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The global landscape of manufacturing and supply chains has undergone significant transformations in recent years. Factors such as rising labor costs, geopolitical uncertainties, and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a re-evaluation of supply chain strategies. Reshoring and near-shoring initiatives, coupled with the adoption of supply chain optimization practices – such as JIT (Just in Time) models for production – have emerged as key trends. This article explores the impacts of these trends on the workforce and the evolving need for talent.

Reshoring and Near-Shoring: Bringing Operations Closer to Home:

Reshoring refers to the process of bringing manufacturing operations back to the home country, while near-shoring involves relocating production facilities to neighboring countries or regions in close proximity. These strategies offer several advantages, including reduced transportation costs, shorter lead times, and improved control over quality and intellectual property.

Impact on Workforce:

  1. Job Creation and Opportunities: Reshoring and near-shoring initiatives can result in the creation of new job opportunities in the home country or nearby regions. As companies establish or expand their operations locally, they require a skilled workforce to support their manufacturing and supply chain activities. This can lead to job growth in areas such as production, logistics, quality assurance, and supply chain management.In fact, when AM Employers were asked in the 2023 AM Salary Survey about the impact they thought AM’s integration into the supply chain would have on the need for Talent and the workforce, one of the main points that were highlighted was an increase in available jobs from 18.3% of respondents, as a response to the increased need for the types of roles mentioned above.
  2. Skill Requirements and Workforce Upskilling: The reshoring and near-shoring trends bring a renewed focus on specific skill sets and competencies. To meet the demands of advanced manufacturing processes, employees need to possess skills in areas such as automation, robotics, data analytics, and lean manufacturing. As a result, there is an increased need for workforce upskilling and retraining programs to ensure that the talent pool aligns with the evolving job requirements.In the same survey (the 2023 AM Salary Survey), Employer respondents also highlighted this same point, with 13.3% of Employer respondents felt that an ‘Increased need for highly skilled talent’ would emerge. Another 15% of respondents relatedly also believed that ‘Talent will need to upskill/reskill’ to fit new demands in the market.

Supply Chain Optimization: Enhancing Efficiency and Agility:

Supply chain optimization involves streamlining processes, reducing costs, and improving overall efficiency throughout the supply chain. It encompasses practices such as inventory management, demand forecasting, supplier relationship management, and the adoption of advanced technologies.

Impact on Workforce:

  1. Demand for Data Analytics and Technology Experts: Supply chain optimization heavily relies on data analysis, automation, and the implementation of digital solutions. Organizations require professionals proficient in data analytics, supply chain modelling, and software platforms to drive process improvements and make data-driven decisions. The demand for talent with expertise in these areas is expected to rise significantly.In fact, when asked about additive manufacturing will impact supply chain management in future, 65.2% of employee respondents to the survey predicted that we would see an increase in Digital On Demand (DOD) production, while 45.1% suggested that we would experience an increased ability to ramp up and slow down production as needed (responsive manufacturing), and finally 17.4% of respondents predicted an increase in cloud-based production.
  2. Collaboration and Communication Skills: With supply chain optimization initiatives often involving multiple stakeholders, effective collaboration and communication become crucial. Supply chain professionals must work closely with suppliers, logistics partners, and other internal teams. Strong interpersonal and negotiation skills, along with the ability to build and manage relationships, will be essential in this context.Respondents also highlighted this fact, with 56% identifying ’Increased collaboration between different disciplines’ as an advantage of AM’s continued integration into wider supply chains.
  3. Adaptability and Continuous Learning: Supply chain optimization is an ongoing process that requires adaptability to changing market dynamics, emerging technologies, and evolving customer demands. Professionals with a growth mindset and a willingness to continuously learn and embrace new methodologies and tools will be highly sought after.In the report, Alexander Daniels Global highlighted the types of roles that would become hot commodities as supply chains and supply chain management continue to evolve – namely Advanced programming roles (with 70% of Employers predicting an increased need for Software professionals), Robotics and Automation (with a further 70% of Employers also identifying and increased need for Applications professionals), Data Analysis and Visualization, Quality Assurance and Control (with 70% of respondents also highlighting a likely increased need for R&D and Engineering professionals), and Supply Chain Management.

Final Thoughts

Reshoring, near-shoring, and supply chain optimization are reshaping the manufacturing and supply chain landscape, which in turn has significant implications for the workforce and talent requirements. These trends bring both opportunities and challenges for the workforce, requiring the development of new skills and competencies. Organizations need to invest in talent development programs, upskilling initiatives, and fostering a culture of continuous learning to adapt to the changing demands of an optimized supply chain ecosystem. By aligning workforce capabilities with these industry shifts, companies can harness the benefits of reshoring, near-shoring, and supply chain optimization to drive competitiveness and success in the global marketplace.

If you want to read the full report, head to the Alexander Daniels Global website to download a free copy.

Expanding your team to support supply chain management within your business? You can also reach out to the team for support here.

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