Data Insight July 4, 2024

 PLM Hiring in Sourcing Has Grown by 45% in Just 18 Months. Here’s Why.   

Realizing the full power and potential of AI requires efficient product lifestyle management. Companies like Walmart are embracing it, taking steps toward seamless PLM/operations integration.

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Greta O'Marah
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The Data

  1. 1

    From February 2023 to January 2024, the demand for sourcing roles surged by 200-300%, particularly for positions focused on product lifecycle management (PLM), negotiation, contract management, and AI/ML.

  2. 2

    Mentions of PLM in sourcing job posts showed remarkable growth, increasing by 45% in the last 18 months.

PLM Enhances Sourcing Capabilities  

The convergence of AI and supply chain operations is transforming how businesses manage product lifecycle management (PLM). As AI-powered technologies like digital twins enable faster system learning, the potential for more responsive, resilient, and responsible supply chains is huge. And yet, PLM vendors are grappling with fragmented data systems, insufficient integration into cloud architectures, and a focus on engineering rather than broader supply chain needs.   

Creating a closed-loop, regenerative supply chain hinges, among other factors, on embracing PLM, part of which is about the successful integration of data sets into PLM frameworks. And companies know it. Sourcing roles—which involve managing many disparate data sets—have seen a particularly sharp uptick in demand, surging 200-300% from February 2023 to January 2024. In particular, mentions of PLM have seen a 45% growth in the last 18 months, with one in 40 sourcing job posts now mentioning the phrase, underscoring its pivotal role in optimizing supply chain.    

Bar chart showing increase in key terms within sourcing job posts, including "product lifecycle management," November 2022-April 2024. 
Source: Zero100 analysis of LinkedIn data.

Walmart Embraces PLM, Revolutionizing Global Supplier Management   

Walmart is one example of a company actively embracing PLM. The retail giant has partnered with Bamboo Rose PLM to develop an enterprise sourcing platform (ESP) with the goal of revolutionizing its global supplier management.  

The joint project will integrate disparate systems to enhance efficiencies and improve collaboration among Walmart sourcing associates, buyers, product development teams, and, critically, suppliers worldwide. The ESP promises greater visibility across teams, facilitating informed purchasing decisions on volume and cost, enhancing access to global markets, and potentially reducing waste, particularly in perishable and sensitive product categories.   

The Takeaway  

In sourcing, AI has huge power to improve your data or fill in gaps where it’s missing, automate and accelerate specification changes using a robust bill of materials visibility and connected technology architecture, and set a strong foundation for experimentation. To realize this power, take a targeted approach to recruiting for PLM, focusing on the right skillsets and experience – for example, data management, data migration, process design, and quality management. This will help you push forward on key initiatives, saving you time and money in the long run.  

To see a different data cut or to dig deeper into this topic, reach out to our Head of Research Analytics, Cody Stack, at  Cody.Stack@zero100.com.  

Methodology      

Zero100’s proprietary data and analytics are a combined effort between our data scientists and research analysts. We provide data-first insights matched with our own research-backed points of view and bring this analysis to life via real-world case examples being led by supply chain practitioners today.      

For this study, we used an AI-driven methodology to categorize and analyze 3.5M job posts. Our analysis identified specific job functions (eg, sourcing) and specific job titles (eg, product manager), splitting them out into a supply chain or non-supply chain group, and then calculated the share of that role out of the total number of hires.