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Supplying Thought: The Gig Economy Meets TSCM

02 May 2016 11:20 AM | Christon Valdivieso

Authored By: Christon Valdivieso

Edited By: Afton Knight

If you have not heard about the gig economy, welcome to the 21st century. I have heard it used interchangeable with the “Uber Economy” but I will not give Uber all the credit. In fact, according to a NY Times article[i]the gig economy has been building for some time. The shift to less traditional employment (including freelance, contract labor, and temping) saw a spike during the 2009 downturn. Today it is not uncommon to find an Uber driver that has a house or room on Airbnb. As Amazon continuous its quest for world domination (or at least a sustainable logistics program), we will no doubt see more resumes with ‘Amazon Delivery Consultant’. In the past, HR managers have frowned about multiple jobs on resumes, but as the Gig Economy continues, multiple jobs during short periods of time will be the norm.

If you haven’t heard of Talent Supply Chain Management (TSCM)[ii]…welcome to 2016. TSCM focuses on treating talent pipelines like the supply of product. Just as companies have yearly strategic planning meeting involving suppliers, they should have strategic meetings involving talent. Consider how ludicrous it would be for a company to plan its marketing or distribution goals after a need presented itself. Yet this is what most companies do with talent.

This is where the two concepts intersect. What most companies are headed towards is a mixture of traditional full time employment and flex labor. These flex labor roles represent up to 30% of projected labor which means there is a huge potential for those who want to be their own boss. Similarly, there is a huge potential for people looking to gain exposure and experience in various facets of a company. The key will be creating value through quality versus quantity “gigs”.

Have a need for on call fulfillment/customer service/delivery drivers? Why not make the on call lead a temporary or flex position too? Generally, front line hourly associate roles are dissected to create various FTE (Full Time Equivalent) needs. Unfortunately, this creates a knowledge and talent utilization gap. Many associates are not afforded the opportunity to move up due to long term full timers that are already in line for a select few leadership roles. Most companies combat this by aggressively growing the company’s footprint. Making the leadership roles flexible (i.e. part-time, contract, or rotational) allows companies to add the societal benefit of employing and training more locals while allowing them to interview and select proven top performers.

Whether your role in the supply chain handles distribution, logistics, procurement, or any number of roles along the value chain this gig workforce cannot be ignored. At the same time, it has to be managed correctly. A major element of the gig economy is the sharing of ideas and information. Adopting a turn-and-burn mentality will tarnish your company’s reputation. Aligning your gig workforce with values that are shared between your company and workers will further uphold the brand.

With that in mind I supply this thought: What is your value proposition, more importantly, how can you leverage the Gig Economy to meet your professional goals?

[i] Scheiber, Noam; “Growth in the ‘Gig Economy’ Fuels Work Force Anxieties”; The New York Times; online;

[ii] Carroll, Teresa; Kelly Outsourcing & Consulting Group; online;


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