Those who have read both the original U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics and the newest edition, Version 2.0—both available as free downloads here—have noted some key differences between the formats of the two reports.
That change was by design, says Brian McNamara, President and CEO of Southworth International Group and member of the MHI Roundtable advisory committee. As the former Chair of MHI’s Education Work Group, McNamara played a key role in the development of both documents.
“When we set out to create the original Roadmap, our quest was to provide the community of participants with complete freedom of input. It worked, but it also resulted in a very granular approach,” he explains.
“As we converted the many discussions into Roadmap 1.0, our writers noted that the original community of participants had more or less spontaneously identified the technologies that—in 2012 and 2013—were perceived to be key disruptors to U.S. supply chains between that time and 2025,” continues McNamara. “They had also weighed in on the core competencies that would need to be developed in order to leverage those technologies for success.”
The focus at that time was on fixing today’s problems today, and tomorrow’s problems tomorrow, essentially. “As it turns out, that viewpoint wasn’t broad or high-level enough,” he adds.
“In just three years, the staggering rate of change experienced in our industry prompted not only a second edition of the Roadmap, but also a need to take a much higher level view,” he continues. “The new document therefore has taken a broader perspective—still based on input from nearly 200 industry experts—on the impact technology, consumers, workforce and logistics infrastructure will have on the fields of material handling, logistics, transportation and supply chain between now and 2030.”
Additionally, notes McNamara, in the interim between the publication of the two Roadmap reports, MHI partnered with Deloitte Consulting to conduct and research a more granular and comprehensive survey to evaluate the latest technology developments and supply chain trends.
The resulting publication, the MHI Annual Industry Report, is released yearly at either ProMat or MODEX. Now a series, these annual reports examine current trends in actual usage of the key technologies, as well as anticipated implementation plans within the next six years, making it more prescriptive and tactical.
“In essence, the two reports are complementary documents,” he concludes. “The Roadmap is what people are anticipating for the future, the MHI Annual Industry Report is about what people are doing today and planning to do tomorrow. Both are incredibly useful resources, and as a member of MHI’s leadership, I’m pleased that we’re able to offer them to our industry.”