In the second quarter 2019 issue of MHI Solutions magazine, “The Supply Chain Shift Toward Technology: How It’s Impacting Companies’ Workforce Talent Strategies,” a number of experts agree weighed in on different measures businesses are adopting to both recruit and cultivate the skillsets they need from their employees—both blue and white collar.
That’s because as more companies place higher importance on their supply chains as a competitive advantage, they’ve increasingly adopted next-generation technologies like automation, robotics, predictive analytics, digitization, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and more. Potential hires with experience and qualifications specific to the areas supply chain organizations are seeking to leverage are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
So how can current and future workers better equip themselves to be attractive hires in the midst of this supply chain technology shift? By developing a lifelong learner mindset, says De’Onn Griffin, Senior Research Director and Analyst with Gartner.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn,” she explains. “That’s really a mindset. Whether someone is already employed or is currently a student about to enter the workforce, they have to approach changing technology as an opportunity for personal and professional growth.”
Further, continues Griffin, employed workers who already see increasing adoption of technologies by their companies changing processes and practices, “need to open themselves up to learning about the new roles and the skills they’re going to need as they grow into one of those roles.”
The most attractive workers to businesses are those who blend technical acumen with the ability to understand business and communicate effectively—what Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Thomas Boykin, Supply Chain and Network Operations Specialist Leader with the firm. He refers to them as “purple people.”
“Whether you’re a student or already in the workforce, today’s companies need people who can deliver beyond just being a technical expert; they need people who also bring business knowledge, insights and judgment—perspective if you will—to interpret the needs of an operation and know how to appropriately apply technology to address those needs,” he says.
“It’s not just the ability to use the technology. It’s the ability to use the technology in a way that applies your own insights into the business’ goals and objectives,” concludes Boykin. “Those are the kind of people who are going to be the most successful as supply chains increasingly adopt next-generation technologies.”
Workers aren’t the only ones who need to adapt to the supply chain shift toward technology. To learn more about the different approaches companies are taking, click here.