Export talent to Asia: Judd

Australia has the kind of supply chain expertise and talent Asia desparately needs, a Singapore-based recruitment specialist says

Export talent to Asia: Judd
Export talent to Asia: Judd

By Anna Game-Lopata | November 29, 2012

Australia has the kind of supply chain expertise and talent Asia desparately needs, a Singapore-based recruitment specialist says.

Logistics Executive Recruitment Chief Operating Officer Darryl Judd says the time is ripe for Australia to start contributing its practical know-how, leadership and soft skills to Asia.

"As Asian economies rapidly expand, logistics activity increases, which in turn drives demand for trained, skilled and experienced professionals," Judd tells SupplyChain Review.

"We simply need to get a greater pool of talent that is better skilled and better equipped to manage the complexities of the supply chains. That applies across all markets."

Judd, who has many
years of recruitment experience in Asia,
argues one of the things Australians do well is connect the Asian workforce with real life experience in the workplace.

For example, he points to Singapore, where 24-year-old males can join the workforce after finishing their compulsory national service with a degree, but never having actually worked a day in their lives.

"Providing mentors and leaders would certainly be a lot faster than having various individuals struggling for three years to connect themselves," he says.

"They need professionals to say ‘okay that’s good but in the real world this is a skill you need to overcome this problem, here's how we can do that, here's how we can engage better."

Judd says Australians are very mature in people management, leadership and in terms of compliance and extracting performances for businesses.

"We should be looking at how we could repackage many of the practices and processes we've mastered to fit into businesses overseas," he says.

"There is a wealth of opportunity for organisations in Asia to drive performance through efficiency, productivity gains, talent knowhow, talent management and planning."

In particular Judd says Australians could be considering opportunities for exporting commercial supply chain education to Asia.

"Almost without exception, the drive to gain formal qualifications is high on the agenda in Asia," he says.

"In China and India, transitioning yourself to a better life and greater respect is intimately tied up with gaining a degree qualification.

"In Singapore you've got to be qualified, simple as that.
If you're a young male you go through your three study years, you do your national service and then you go and get your university qualifications.
If you're a female you don't go into the workforce when you leave high school, you go straight to university and you get a degree."

As a result, many local institutions and academies are looking for bolt-on localised training programs.

"That's not to say what we charge here for training in Australia is applicable to say Vietnam where the margins are smaller and salaries are smaller. The investment cost ratio, the cost of an employee needs to be adjusted accordingly,"
he says.

"But we have an enormous amount of talent and experience in the supply chain, even if education practitioners in that space argue we’re still relatively immature and fragmented.

"In Australia, I can work at a company, I can get degrees, I can get training on any element of the supply chain I’m after. This isn’t the case in Asia.

"So there's an opportunity for organisations looking to grow their businesses to offshore those educational programs into Asia."

According to Judd Australians are well respected in the region and known for being relatively hard working, down to earth, relaxed and "getting on with it".

"But Australians need to realise if they think working offshore will bring in pots of gold, they’ve got the wrong idea," Judd says.

"Those pots of gold don't exist today. You need to approach it on the basis that working in Asia is part of your global career experience.

"You need to work with the locals, help develop and train them. In other words you need to culturally adapt to the region and become an international citizen. If we do that we're much more likely to be really accepted in the workplace.

"We have to accept we're not coming in to preach to our disciples.
It doesn't work that way.
Nor is it culturally appropriate. It just makes the audience turn off.
Now they won’t tell you they’ve turned off they just won’t do anything. Nothing will happen and you'll find yourself isolated and unable to execute what you need to do.
So engaging the workforce and being a local citizen in a work context is what makes people successful."

Judd adds the CEOs of Australia need to take time reflect about how to reinvent themselves in Asia.

"What are we doing to tap into the market we’ve just been describing, whether it's exporting our IP or redeveloping our businesses to serve that market?

"CEOs need to start thinking about the answers because if shareholders aren’t asking questions, they sure as hell soon will be."

Read the full feature in the December issue of SupplyChain Review

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