The COVID-19 pandemic is latest in a series of unexpected disruptions to strain supply chains. In response, companies are looking to automation and digital capabilities to build resiliency and agility. However, as futurists have said: Technology will make things possible; talent will make them happen. To fully unleash the power of digital investments, companies must re-evaluate their organization structures to organize themselves in a way that enables speed to innovation. Employee skill sets across the workforce need to be evaluated with plans to develop in-house mastery and drive adoption of new enabling technologies.
Talent within manufacturing, logistics and warehousing is aging, and the younger generation of tech-focused workers typically do not want to work in a plant, warehouse, or factory. Not to mention, those with in-demand, specialized skill sets are proving difficult to recruit. In a tight labor market, manufacturers are working hard to keep job attrition low. Many manufacturers have invested in automating processes and making equipment smarter using analytics, predictive maintenance, and robotics, but similar investment must go into preparing their workforces for the future.
Supply chains need to be fundamentally reinvented to meet the demands of today’s digital world — yet, in doing so, humans should remain at the center of the business. A deficiency in talent also becomes a deficiency in the use of technology, no matter how much the business has invested in the latter. With a mix of internal and external learning efforts and thoughtful reorganization, companies can position themselves for the future confidently with the unified strength of brains and bytes.
Following a series of recent disruptions that strain supply chains, it is more evident than ever that supply chains need to be fundamentally reinvented to meet the demands of today’s digital world. Companies are utilizing technology to build resiliency and agility. However, to overcome hurdles and fully unleash the power of emerging technologies, companies must put humans at the center of their ongoing efforts.
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