This article, the fourth in a series, covers how human capital management has changed dramatically over the last several years. This series of articles is intended to highlight the five new principles that need to be understood by anybody in this field who wants to act with insightfulness. In previous articles, we looked at the idea that a skilled workforce is a cash multiplier, examined the ubiquity of demand, and learned how it is possible to automate the matching of supply and demand. In this article, we examine the fourth principle of human capital management: the staffing supply chain. Supply Chains Defined A supply chain is the set of links between the individual steps in an overall end-to-end business process. In manufacturing, the supply chain encompasses the business steps from order to delivery. A typical supply chain may involve suppliers, the manufacturer, wholesalers, and a retailer. The staffing supply chain spans from requisition to having an employee on board, and touches hiring managers, recruiters, media sources, agencies, as well as background checking and other service providers. Sourcing is one of the most upstream points of the human capital supply chain. Downstream components of the human capital supply chain include retention, training, and development. Supply Chain Management A recent business practice, called supply chain management, oversees the flow of materials, information, and money between the nodes of the supply chain. The goal of supply chain management is to improve the performance of a supply chain while deploying the same or fewer assets. The role of information technology in supply chain management is to coordinate all players by instantaneously propagating information concerning levels of supply and demand up and down the supply chain. In bridging supply with demand, supply chain management always starts with demand, and seeks to drive supply to match it. As discussed in my previous article, matching supply with demand in staffing requires a common platform on which to define job requirements and talent in terms of skills and competencies. Starting with demand means that the information necessary to assess a match with the job requirements can be pulled from candidates as required. Staffing Supply Chain Defined A central principle in supply chain management is the digital integration of suppliers. In state-of-the-art staffing management systems, for instance, media sources, agencies, and referrals are linked electronically through one-click multi-posting, agency portals, and electronic employee referral programs. The core benefit of supply chain management is the real-time processing of information. Recruiting cycle time can be reduced dramatically through workflow automation, pushing tasks to collaborators, as well as real-time assessment of candidates (as covered in my previous article on the third principle). The value of reducing supply chain cycle time is evident in situations of inventory obsolescence. The obsolescence of inventory is a key feature of many supply chains?? in the high-tech industry, grocery retail, and other sectors. Reducing cycle time is most important where obsolescence sets in rapidly. Inventory obsolescence is an important factor in the staffing supply chain. Qualified candidates are not available for long, and the likelihood of availability of a qualified candidate diminishes with time. Each new candidate has an associated sourcing cost. Being able to react quickly to establish contact with the candidate and conduct a real-time assessment increases the return on the sourcing dollar. Thinking of staffing in terms of a supply chain brings about an overall shift in the concept of human resources, moving towards a more strategic model. It is likely that Internet technology and the staffing supply chain will change human capital management as much as supply chain management had its effect on physical assets handling. The goal is the same: to optimize the deployment of assets. A corporation?s primary asset is its people, and staffing has a strategic mission in talent acquisition and deployment.
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