Recent supply chain trends and how technical recruiters help

It's been a rollercoaster year for the national economy, with supply chains coming along for the entire ride. Businesses started bouncing back earlier this year; but then the long and divisive election season contributed to stagnation. Even now, corporations are persevering through an arduous political debate on the fiscal cliff. The fluctuating conditions also make for a business environment ripe to produce innovation in supply chains.

Businesses had to adapt practices by cutting costs, improving customer service, dealing with evolving logistics and integrating sustainability. These changes were the trends that shaped 2012. As more voices involved in supply chain management express optimism in hiring, supply chain recruiters are continuously showing their value by helping employers find the best talent to bring their businesses to the next level.

Execution trumps planning
With economic uncertainty being the overarching theme to the year, supply chain management became less about meticulous planning and more about solid execution. A number of unexpected events forced big swings in company supply chains, Hurricane Sandy being one of the most notable.

Businesses aren't wholly expected to anticipate a natural disaster However, they are judged on their ability to adapt supply chains in the wake of disruptions. For instance, a Supply Chain Review Management blog said, "abnormal" supply chain events cause big problems with forecast errors, noting that "the ability to react efficiently and effectively is critical." Execution necessitates a strong will in the individual procurement and supply chain professional, and throughout 2012, supply chain recruiters helped employers find their voice and soul through spirited talent searches.

Sustainability no longer an obligation
Another influential 2012 supply chain trend was sustainability. Once thought of as more of a duty to environmental laws, businesses are increasingly seeing the benefits of sustainability outside of compliance, particularly to their bottom line.

Sustainability in supply chain has become a key focus, evidenced by Wal-Mart's own dedication to the practice. Wal-Mart recently pledged new commitments to advancing supply chain sustainability in its Chinese and U.S. operations. The company also said it will purchase 70 percent of goods through the supply chain from businesses that adhere to its Sustainability Index, which measures the eco-effect of products.

Big data a big opportunity?
The digital revolution that swept 2012 didn't just change the way supply chain professionals operate on a day-to-day level, technological advances significantly altered the way supply chains will work in 2013. Big data was the king of 2012, but its reign will only last a short while after many predict the onset of "fast data" will be even bigger for supply chains.

Fast data, the furious pace at which data is being amassed, has prompted lasting shifts in the supply chain landscape. A Forbes' blog post suggests one of the ways to harness the potential of fast data is by establishing collaborations and partnerships across the supply chain continuum. Fast data will take some wrangling, and supply chain recruiters can help employers position themselves for digital success by finding technical talent in the new year.