7 Reasons Why You Should Hire Supply Chain Interim Staff

Why You Should Hire Supply Chain Interim Staff?


In an ideal business world, you have recruited and hired all the full-time staff you need, who, between them have all the necessary skills, expertise and knowledge of Supply Chain Management for all your business needs.


Well, more often than not, the reality is, in the ever-changing global climate that your business functions within, there may be times you may not always have the skills and expertise at hand that you require.


A viable option that is rapidly gaining momentum and a positive reputation is the hiring of interim staff – or temporary / contract staff – as it is commonly referred to.


There are many benefits why hiring an interim supplier within the Supply Chain industry can prove to be the best solution – here I discuss my 7 reasons.

Interim Staff

1.     Immediate Hiring to fill a skills gap

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when you just cannot find the right supply chain professional to hire on a permanent basis.


Rather than rush into hiring the second best candidate it may be better to hire a specialist, qualified interim staff member. Not only will it provide an immediate solution of filling in the required skills gap but can bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from their previous contracting jobs thus potentially adding unexpected value to the business and work which can carry on benefitting your business long after they have left.


Furthermore, if hiring via a specific recruitment agency such as MichaelPage, candidates would already be vetted by the agency to fit the requirements you are looking for thus eliminating the recruiting/vetting process.


2.     You can evaluate their potential without commitment


You may have seen from the experience of interviewing potential candidates, that whilst on paper they fit the bill in terms of their qualifications, in reality they may not have any work experience of the practical application of their knowledge. This could be a hindrance in the smooth running of your business as a lot more time and resources are being invested in their training to bridge the gap in working knowledge before seeing a return in profit for your investment in their recruitment.


By hiring interim staff, you can see how they work, their commitment, what they can offer the organisation as well as whether they work well with your permanent staff. All this without either party being tied down to a permanent contract.


You can potentially gain an insight of how they can fit into the organisation on a permanent level without the making that all-important commitment.


3.     Cover short / long term or sudden absences / emergencies


A normal expectation within any organisation is the fact that permanent staff may be on leave – short term can be annual leave with multiple staff off (such as summer or Christmas holidays) or short-term sick leave and long-term absence such as maternity / disability or long-term illness. In these times, hiring interim staff will not only provide relief for the remaining permanent staff but also boost motivation and morale due to the reduction of pressure, as they will be experienced, knowledgeable supply chain professionals.


4.     Increase profitability and efficiency


By hiring an interim staff for specific projects you can re-direct and focus on ensuring your permanent staff build their skills and training in the areas that are required long-term.


Not only will this build confidence in your staff in terms of not spreading their skills out thinly whereby they cannot fully focus on any particular job as they are continually covering additional work but also have time to develop specialists’ skills that can be called upon when required.


As a business, this solution will also allow you to keep your internal resources focused on your business, your need to have a knowledgeable supply chain planner working with you to deliver supply chain results.


Additionally, hiring an interim planner or buyer can benefit the team as a whole as they can work with the permanent team on supply chain strategy, creating business and supply chain plans, manage suppliers, create supply chain analysis and expedite parts to maintain delivery and inventory targets.


5.     Cater for short term / single / seasonal projects – Flexibility


When you have projects that require specialist expertise, it would be beneficial to hire interim, qualified staff that are highly specialised in the field required. They can bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, a fresh perspective as well as the commitment that not only can provide the solution quickly but also in a time efficient manner.


By taking this option, you allow yourself flexibility to hire according to when you business demands this.


6.     Cost Effective and Time Efficient


The hiring of interim staff cost may not appear so dissimilar to the hourly rate you pay your permanent staff on paper, but whilst permanent staff are paid a salary regardless of whether there is a lot of work or not, interim staff really will be paid for what they do and once their work / project / assignment is complete they can be let go thus you do not incur unnecessary further costs.


Interim staff are effectively business people in their own right – their profit and future work depends on their competency of completing the work you have hired them for. What they do or do not do will directly affect their future work and reputation as reliable independent workers.


So, whilst it may appear that comparatively the cost to hire them may not be too different to hiring a permanent member of staff, their motivation is on a personal level. If they complete the work to a high standard and to the deadline, they are likely to be hired again, be provided with good recommendations and references that builds and expands their portfolios and therefore increases their demand within the market.


They need you as much as you need them!


7.     Quick hire to cover busy periods


Aside from staff absences, there are genuine times of the year such as end-of-year auditing or physical stock taking where there is a need for instant short-term hire of additional staff due to a peak in work demands.


In these times, hiring interim staff offers the relief that ensures the welfare and happiness of your permanent staff as well as the long-term smooth running of your business.


This reducing of pressure and stress on permanent staff can help in keeping absenteeism at bay and maintain morale during the tough times.


All in all, there are many great benefits of hiring interim, temporary staff. It is a unique working relationship due to both parties benefiting one another beyond the obvious financial aspect.


With businesses becoming more and more global – the pressure to deliver on time and within budget is so great, that the interim solution is becoming an attractive option to ensure the business operations run as smoothly and as consistently as possible.

It’s popularity is resulting in more and more specialist professionals signing up to provide quick solutions whilst having the freedom to work on their terms – it’s a win-win for all!


Do you agree?


  • Bernard Price

    Reading through the article I found myself nodding my head in agreement until I hit point 6 which I found both misleading and out of context with the rest of the article

    As an interim manager myself probably the largest challenger I encounter relates to the cost of a professional interim compared to PAYE

    My observations are that interim users fall into two very broad categories

    Category One
    Organisations or individuals who have themselves identified most of the issues you raise and in the main will be used to hiring interims & fully understand what they bring to the table

    Category Two
    The second category is very different and they only tend to associate use of an interim with your point No.3 To them the interim is simply a bum on an empty seat that will fill in until the normal post holder is back. The employer would only want to offer a rate commensurate with the annual salary the post would command. This is not an interim this is a temporary employee

    Usually the problem is compounded as they will have seduced by what an interim can bring / has done in the past but have not made the connection with rates charged

    As you rightly identify a true interim brings with them much more than would be expected were the company simply recruiting to fill a vacancy on a permanent basis. Normally if you were to list the essential & desirable qualities an employer would be looking for to fill a permanent role the expectation for a Category One user would be that candidates surpassed all these and that they would need to pay a premium for these services

    Lets not forget in many instances interims are hired to deal with a specific issue or crisis that can not be addressed by existing staff members. They are required to “hit the ground running” there is no three month settling in period for an interim.

    Within days of being hired an interim will have already agreed with the senior management team a strategy / program of work to address they specific issue faced and their performance is measured in much smaller time buckets & usually against more demanding targets than the comparative permanent post holder.

    A conversation I often find myself having with recruiters & potential clients relates to establishing a realistic day rate. My approach is to try to get the recruiting manager to see an interim as an investment and undertake a cost/benefit analysis in the same way they would if they were buying a new piece of kit. Crucially in the end, assuming there is a strong fit culturally & functionally, it comes down to one simple thing “Return on Investment” and getting prospective employers to see this can be a real challenge.

    There are many articles written on how to determine an interim day rate unfortunately I have yet to come across one that is widely endorsed by independent & objective bodies such as the CIPD or the CBI. The article I read prior to this post does provide a good insight into setting day rates which can be read here


    The first point it makes is the pertinent one

    “1. Rough guide

    A long-held outline rough guide to daily rates is that you might request 1% of the base salary you would expect as a permanent employee – so for a £100,000 role, you might suggest a £1000 interim manager daily rate. Please note however that this is a just a quick and easy approximation. It is not watertight by any means and is heavily dependent on the nature of the role and previous experience and skills.”

    The article then goes on to list all the other factors which must be considered when setting a day rate

    So in summary are rates paid to interims “similar” to a permanent employee I suggest not in the same way I would argue that the return on investment from an interim is greater than that gained from a permanent employee.

    More importantly however I would go as far as to suggest that the return on investment gained from engaging an interim goes way beyond the difference in an interims day rate when compared to that of a permanent member of staff.

    • Rev Ong

      Absolutely agree here with Bernard. Interims are not a requirement, it’s a luxury for stabilized company. Furthermore, the indicators to justify hiring are very vague as to determine what is best for all parties. For the business owner, the interim is an uncalculated risk. Can all of us see far enough into the future to hire an interim? I doubt it.

  • Khadijah babar

    Keep up the good work. ?

    • muddassirism

      Sincere thanks Khadijah Babar!

  • Art of Supply Chain

    Very useful article.
    I personally think that the best thing about interns is that they are so passionate. Long term specialists may lose their interest in new things and they are usually happy in their comfort zones. But interns are open to new ideas and you can develop new things with them.
    Some fresh touch in your daily processes can make a good difference.

    • muddassirism

      Valid point Art of Supply Chain

  • satish

    Good insight… your article remind me of my yday years as a interim, for iterim it is his passion which drive him bring creativity n ideas in process. Whereas a professional always tries to justify for his every actions in the cost driver. Unless a professional is able to bring down the cost even in a inflationary situation.

    • muddassirism

      Thanks for your input Satish.

  • Israr Raja

    Are we here talking about outsourcing of SC employees/staff, since most of the benefits you have mentioned in your article are of outsourcing.

  • Loray Daws

    Good read………..and the comments have valid pointers.
    Another factor is that not one Warehouse/SC operates the same as the other…this I even experienced in a Supply Chain Group…..!!
    What I have suggested locally (South Africa) is for the Labour/Temp to train people in all the “differences” by placing staff on a”temp/training” of two/three weeks at meal/transport cost to the Company…….they were too dumb to realize that having trained people woule immediately result in a ‘increased placement fee”……..

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