Nike’s ‘talent drain’ could be a symptom of Nike’s supply chain innovation – ARCH-USA


In a Business Insider report by Matt Kish, the article discusses the loss of longtime employees at Nike. With people leaving the Berm who have helped build the culture, there are concerns that this could create a disconnect between the brand and its fans. “By financial metrics, Nike CEO John Donahoe is a success, but insiders worry about veteran employee losses and the erosion of company culture.” Source: Nike CEO’s first 2 years sent his stock soaring, but insiders worry about a talent drain

But what if the talent drain from the old guard is simply the result of fine-tuning and pruning old leaves for bigger flowers? Over the past six years, I’ve kept an eye on patents, trademarks and acquisition by Nike. One such acquisition was that of Grabit:

Nike uses robots to manufacture shoes in the United States | Bloomberg

Grabit, enabled an accelerated ability to create shoes. This decreases the need for certain positions within the company. Technology is a nice thing for companies, but it’s not a nice thing for employees. Technology allows a company to generate more profits with fewer employees. Take a second to consider how much money Amazon is making with fewer employees and you’ll begin to understand what’s going on here. You should also consider that Grabit technology along with Nike’s investment in renewable energy is largely informing the development of distribution centers beyond Memphis:

How sustainability and renewable energy will help Nike improve in North America | Marketing – ARCH USA

Grabit’s technology also applies to warehouse labor and productivity solutions. When facets of the supply chain are improved, fewer employees are needed. Combine this information with Nike’s recent discussion of supply chain innovation, and it’s highly likely that employees leaving the company could be a symptom of a faster-running machine.

Agile and creative approaches will pay off now and in the future. Source: Nike Supply Chain Innovation

“In distribution centers, Nike has also deployed more than 1,000 ‘cobots’ (collaborative robots) to help Nike teammates sort, pack and move products, increasing order processing speed, mitigating challenges physical and allowing teammates to focus on higher value activities.

While the focus has been on C-Suite types, VPs, and senior management departures, reducing redundancy must also be considered. If the product can be produced faster, there is no need for the same number of employees. There is a need for more tech-centric employees. A quick look at Nike job postings verifies this point. There are over 14 job openings for people in technology. Nike is a well-oiled machine. As employees leave, it could open the door to new employees who will bring new ideas and execution to a company geared towards the next chapter. When you consider that hiring has always seemed like an internal setup of nepotism where if you didn’t know the right person, you couldn’t get in. Nike may be entering an era where competitiveness drives growth. I mean, think about it. Nike is not in competition with other brands. The company is in competition with its own references. You don’t beat those metrics with what has always worked.

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