Ready for the next 10 years
If you saw the line threading around and through the exhibitor stations near Theater F yesterday, you were probably looking at the waiting line to get into the session on the Material Handling & Logistics U.S. Roadmap 2.0, "Get Ready for the Next 10 Years in Material Handling and Logistics." Inside, attendees were sitting snugly shoulder to shoulder, absorbing as much as they could from the session speakers: Gary Forger, Editor and Consultant to MHI; Charles Edwards, N.C. Department of Transportation; Bill Ferrell, Clemson University; Steve Hopper, Inviscid Consulting; Dana Magliola, N.C. State University; and Dave Schneider, We Are The Practitioners – David K. Schneider & Company. Everybody anxiously waiting to hear about the newest version, 2.0, which was just published and released two days ago.
Gary Forger gave a brief overview of the events leading up to the final product, which was released three years after the baseline published in 2014. The updated version is setting the stage for2030 and "all of us have a stake in this," said Forger. The different aspects of the Roadmap were separated and summarized: Technology, Consumers, Planning & Flexibility, Logistics Infrastructure, Workforce. Some of the insights they shared included::
Of Technology, Bill Ferrell said, "No place is the rate of change faster than among the technologies that drive supply chain, logistics and material handling. And that will be the case through 2030... We tried to provide Insight into trends that might be opportunities for you."
During Consumers, Dave Schneider said, "Don’t think of the consumer as one single monolithic group. Don’t think of the consumer, think of all the consumers." He added that the demographics you have to worry about were born after year 2000-- the iGen. "While we all talk about the Millennials, the iGen will move the market."
Steve Hopper talked about the Workforce and conducted an enlightening demonstration. He asked the attendees to raise their hands if they had kids. Then said, "Keep your hands up if you want your kids to work in a warehouse. " Almost every hand went down. That, he said, is part of the misperception related to the industry.
Charles Edwards talked about Planning & Flexibility and illustrated his point with a story speaking up. If you know you are going to have certain needs in the future, you should not be yelling at the road planner after it is built. Go up to him now, he said. "It is easier to change a line on a piece of paper than digging up concrete after it’s been laid."
Dana Magliola addressed Logistics Infrastructure, supporting the findings that, "By 2030, data-driven decision-making will be standard in the logistics infrastructure."
Steve summed up one of the prevailing points, simply and accurately: "We can only achieve a solution by working together and not working in silos. ..It is our problem."
At the end of the Roadmap session, Gary retired and introduced his successor, Pat Davison, "who will be the man going forward."