Observers tend to agree on several things about the supply chain of the future. It will be more real-time, it will be more digitally integrated and “smart”, and it will adapt more flexibly to changes in demand, desired channels for fulfillment, and supply-side risk.
Less is heard about exactly how these things will come to pass.
And, lagging behind even that, is a vision of how people will lead the way and not become casualties of or impediments to progress. We aren’t thinking hard enough or far enough beyond technology, and that needs to change.
It’s people that are the real wild card in each company’s journey to supply chain 2030.
We participated last year when SCI introduced the question, “what will the supply chain of 2030 look like?” Our suggestion then, and now, is that the technological innovations of 2030 are going to place enormous stress on supply chain organizations and practitioners, and companies need to face those issues head-on.
We need to reposition teams, redesign skillsets, and realign the roles of human capital and technology.
Multiple trends are converging toward a future that is faster-paced, more focused on resilience, and where automation is displacing human roles—not only in execution, but in analysis and decision making as well. Companies will be pressed to interoperate on common principles much more profoundly than is typical today, both internally and across business networks.
The supply chain leaders of 2030 will have tackled and solved the human element of a supposedly digital future. The changes will be profound; now would not be too soon to start.