Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

What does the gig economy mean for your supply chain?

Love it or loathe it, the gig economy isn’t going anywhere. With an estimated 1.1 million uk freelancers, the gig economy workforce is expected to continue growing rapidly in the next year. So how will this impact your supply chain?

Unfortunately, many organisations are complacent about these shifts in workforce trends. Although supply chain managers have the opportunity to embrace innovation, there is some reluctance about competing in the gig economy.

Changing circumstances within the logistics sector, however, mean that the industry is crying out for new approaches to recruitment and management. With big cost increases forecast in the logistics sector from 2021, more and more organisations are looking for innovations to keep costs down.

Incorporating gig workers in to your supply chain hiring strategy can feel like a risk. But by working with an experienced supply chain recruitment consultancy, you can identify short-term knowledge gaps in your supply chain that would best be served by freelance talent. Limiting spend on new hires and utilising freelance and interim talent could be a route to a more cost-efficient supply chain. Taking advantage of the gig economy for temporary hiring needs can even allow recruitment managers to invest more in permanent hires when long-term talent acquisition needs arise.

Recruitment fears associated with Brexit are also encouraging logistics employers to consider making the most of the booming gig workforce. There has been a 10% increase in demand for new talent year on year in the transport & logistics industry, without a concurrent rise in full-time applicants. With many workers of all ages and backgrounds opting for the flexibility of the gig economy, it is worth looking to the freelance talent pool to recruit for an agile supply chain.

How can you take advantage of a growing freelance economy to recruit for a dynamic supply chain?

Remember that a temporary workforce can be scaled your business

The gig economy can help you maintain two pre-requisites for a successful supply chain: scalability and flexibility. Research shows that workforce agility and labour flexibility are key to achieving high service levels within a supply chain. To efficiently meet changes in demand, the logistics sector has a clear need for an agile, contingent workforce. Utilising gig workers to fill gaps in your supply chain will boost your capacity to undertake large-scale projects in limited timeframes. By scaling a temporary workforce to your business needs, you can circumvent high costs associated with unnecessary permanent hires.  

Fill temporary gaps in your supply chain knowledge with freelance talent

Depending on your needs at any given time, the talent required within your supply chain is subject to change. Use predictive analytics to identify the factors that will most impact the productivity in your supply chain. A data-driven approach can help you target and hire freelance workers who meet your specific needs on a project. For example, fulfilling a short-term gap in specialist technical knowledge. The gig economy thrives on mobile communication. Take advantage of this by giving new hires access to prior training that will address any areas where they may need development. This will prevent the need for an inefficient orientation, or on-the-job training.

Thoroughly understanding the gig economy and how it can fulfil your recruitment needs is crucial to competing in a fast-evolving sector. Now more than ever it is crucial to re-think attracting, utilising and retaining short term talent.  Create a more adaptive, flexible workforce in your supply chain without reorganising core aspects of your business.