Advancing the supply chain 

Through subject matter expertise and a hands-on approach, Bastian Consulting is dedicated to finding the right leader for the right role across the supply chain. MHD finds out more.

The types of skills and capabilities needed to lead supply chain divisions around the world are changing drastically. COVID-19 has accelerated this pace of change and digital technology is playing an increasingly central role in today’s economic development debate.

Tony Richter, Founder of Bastian Consulting, an Asia Pacific supply chain recruitment agency, has a background in operations and supply chain. With a Master’s degree in Supply Chain Management, Tony draws on his extensive knowledge of the industry to find the right candidates for the right roles across some of Asia Pacific’s largest companies.

“We have that extra level of experience and technical knowledge that enables us to find the ideal candidates for our clients. We do this by getting an understanding of our client’s requirements and then articulating the capabilities and skills they need to facilitate their key projects and goals. We usually can turn around projects quite quickly through our connections, referral partners and knowledge of the industry,” Tony says.

Bastian Consulting is a boutique recruitment agency that is focused on sourcing leaders that can deliver change. Bastian Consulting’s specialism is in the value chain domain and with over ten years’ experience spanning across APAC, Tony and his team have built up a great reputation across the industry.

Tony says the business typically places roles across the entire supply chain while recently they’ve seen a clear demand three key areas including e-commerce, advisory and technology.

With regards to e-commerce, the rapid acceleration from bricks and mortar due to COVID-19 has put the pressure on many organisations who were lagging behind. “A lot of retailers have some catching up to do and its imperative they find the right talent and skills in this area,” Tony says.

Technology is also a huge area of growth for supply chain. “A few years back the vendor selection process in supply chain was quite simple. You would assess three to four vendors and make a decision. But now, there are 100s of specific solutions and providers so making the right decision is much more complex,” Tony says.

Capabilities and skills around technology are also in high demand in the supply chain, and Tony says this is only set to increase. “In supply chain you need people who can interpret data, understand what the problem is and what the actionable insight from the data is. It’s about a combination of operational and technology-based skills,” he says.

COVID-19 has driven more organisations to prioritise resilience and explore different ways of working such as onshoring. However, this comes with its own unique challenges.

“The rhetoric around onshoring poses a number of different challenges that will need to be overcome. It’s expensive to find the right people and we also haven’t had significant manufacturing in this country for a long time, so it will be about increasing skillsets and bringing back knowledge and competencies that may not currently be in the workforce,” Tony says.

This also presents an opportunity for automation and technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“We’ve seen a lot of blue-collar roles being automated with conveyor sortation systems, automation, mobile robots etc. But I also think that we will see more white-collar roles becoming automated through smart technology such as AI for those decision-making processes,” Tony says.

While strong leadership roles in the supply chain are generally hard to fill, Tony and his team operate a traditional headhunting model.

“We don’t advertise roles. We will look at who your competitors are, and we will target them. We will look at which organisations have gone through similar transformations. We run a targeted search for each assignment we work on,” Tony says.

From here Bastian Consulting works through a technical and behavioural assessment process before presenting a candidate to a client. However, Tony says the key to finding good candidates is to be transparent and set expectations from the get-go.

“We run recruitment processes like a project, we have clear dates of when we will deliver and when our candidates can expect to hear an outcome.”

Many inhouse recruitment processes are outdated and take too long, which leads to organisations missing out on quality candidates.

“Many candidates know their worth, so if a business drags their feet they tend to miss out,” he says.

Bastian has worked with some of the largest supply chain organisations across the Asia Pacific market including Toll, eStore Logistics and Manhattan Associates.

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