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MHI previewed the 2017 Annual Industry Report – Next-Generation Supply Chains: Digital, On-Demand and Always-On during the morning keynote yesterday. Scott Sopher, the principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Supply Chain practice, and George W. Prest, CEO of MHI, presented the findings of the 2017 report and moderated the seven-person panel of industry professionals who gave insight, feedback and examples related to the findings. 

Included on the panel were:

Venkat Venkataramani, Director CoE for Digital Supply Chain, SA, SAP
Randy V. Bradley, Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, University of Tennessee
Alan Amling, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, UPS
Stacey Hodoh, Global Vice President, Distribution Operations at Walmart Canada
Mario Adamy, Vice President of Distribution Operations, Albertsons
Jay Kim, Chief Strategy Officer, Upskill
Amy T. Augustine, Senior Manager, Reverse Logistics, U.S. Cellular 

This is the fourth MHI Annual Industry Report released in collaboration with Deloitte Consulting. The report details the nine innovations driving change from traditional to digital supply chains.

Prest said that for this year’s report, more than 1,100 people were surveyed, with 50% being c-suite and upper management, and 47% reporting annual sales in excess of $100 million and 10% reporting $10 billion of more.

Sopher brought attention to some of the report’s findings, including the areas that had the highest adoption rates (Cloud Computer & Storage, Sensors and Automatic Identification) and the top disruptive technologies (61% Robotics and Automation, which just two years ago was 39%; Predictive Analytics and Internet of Things). An emerging trend, Smart City Logistics, also came up. "We introduced it in the survey for the first time this year," said Sopher. He said that these innovations are helping cities address growing challenges of congestion noise and pollution associated with last-mile deliveries within their increasing populations.

Amling addressed this point, too. "This isn’t rocket science. This is industry and government working together to provide a solution."

Other panel members addressed various topics and questions presented by Sopher and Prest – all related to the topics in the industry report – from the importance of the human capital and the people doing the work, to next-generation supply chains, to drones and other autonomous vehicles, sensors, eCommerce, smart glasses, 3-D printing, Internet of Things and robots becoming more self-aware. "That is what we are going to see moving into this next generation of robotics," said Bradley. Hodoh mentioned it is already happening. "There is a solution with autonomous vehicles that is being deployed in D.C. right now. Today." She said there are pizza shops that can deliver your pizza to you using a robot. And the more the robot travels, the smarter it becomes, she said.

Closing the skills gap was overlooked. As the clock was ticking down, Sopher asked the panel about where the industry stands on this front. Bradley said the new workforce doesn’t want a job, they want an adventure and an opportunity. And, the technologies now available allow you to "empower workers," which helps close the value gaps. Venkataramani added, "Look at people, process and technology, in that order."

Prest wrapped up the discussion with the question: "What should leaders be doing today regarding workforce challenges?" The answers? Invest in innovation, leverage technology, focus on the workforce, collaborate with vendors, partners and institutions, and embrace the digital supply chain future. But, most important: "Get started! Think big, start small and act fast."

Learn more and download the complete report.


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