The Supply Chain and the Future of Work

supply chain groovy digital image

Digital and technological disruptions are forcing supply chain leaders to deal with a new reality. Robotic process automation, machine learning and IoT allow acceleration of processes, reduces delays, errors and red-tape headaches.

Companies are challenged to rethink skills, redesign new roles and responsibilities and to reorganise their structures and workplaces. But are you ready to jump the gap? The future of work concept is sweeping across sectors and industries, and supply chain managers need to put it as the top of their agendas.

A recent McKinsey survey revealed that 87% of global leaders were not prepared to face the challenges of the new digital era. Hiring and training Gen Z talent is crucial to future success. At the same time, you need to invest in new skills such as tools and processes enabling end-to-end visibility, data science and data-driven decision making, as well as transversal communication skills.

Next gen talents expect your enterprise culture to include digital workplace practices. Digital advances and the pandemic have been changing how companies and employees interact. The younger workforce is more mobile, agile, flexible, adaptable and tech savvy. Their mastery of new technologies allows them to do more and better than their predecessors in less time.

And with so much work going remote, employees can be based literally anywhere in the world that has a reliable internet connection. Digitalization and mobility decouple people and companies from physical geography and established markets.

Gen Z workers crave real-time, transparent interaction and to be connected synchronously at any time colleagues, just like in WeChat or Snapchat. A gamified workplace could be part of the future, and companies should consider it if they want to attract this new generation of demanding talents.

New graduate programs and degrees will be adapted to meet the needs, interests and concerns of the upcoming generation, worried about building a sustainable and resilient society. For one thing, net-zero logistics has become a priority. Improving efficiency by reducing carbon emissions can be achieved by digitization coupled with AI, connecting cargo data, people, processes and organizations on a single digital platform, remotely and in real time, making easier the work of customs data entry.

Some universities have already rebranded their logistics and operations programs to supply chain management, matching the new market realities. Successful collegiate programs are focusing on both core supply chain concepts and creation of circular economies, sustainable energy and smart and resilient communities.

They’ve also been bringing together students and executives from the sector who can learn from each other, exchange best practices and collaborate. On their side, the students help executives understand how much they depend on customers and suppliers, and why efficient supply chain management is so important.

The supply chain also needs to brand itself to be more attractive for Gen Z, and the pandemic has played a key role. Recent disruptions from COVID and Brexit made young people realize the critical importance of the supply chain. Empty shelves in grocery stores emphasized our dependence on them.

Supply chain organizations need to modify their hiring practices in order to attract more diverse populations. Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in history, and one of the new challenges will be to reflect this diversity in top management positions.

For them, working for a company that’s having a positive impact on people and the earth is more important than making a profit. Earning a decent salary in accordance with their high principles and lifestyles is their goal.

Sam Tyagi is the CEO and Founder of KlearNow