Updated: Apr 7, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic is latest in a series of unexpected disruptions to strain supply chains. In response, companies are looking to automation and digital capabilities to build resiliency and agility. However, as futurists have said: Technology will make things possible; talent will make them happen.
Technology will make things possible; talent will make them happen
To fully unleash the power of digital investments, companies must re-evaluate their organization structures to organize themselves in a way that enables speed to innovation. Employee skill sets across the workforce need to be evaluated with plans to develop in-house mastery and drive adoption of new enabling technologies.
The challenge ahead...
Amid the shift toward increased automation, companies are facing both a misalignment and shortage of skills needed to operate in a more automated, digitally enabled environment. In a recent survey only 44% of respondents said their employees were prepared for digital innovation in the supply chain. For a supply chain to operate optimally and continuously improve, technologies such as IoT, robotic process automation and machine learning must be guided and constantly managed by skilled professionals.
Analytics are the core to optimizing business processes. Your workforce should be able to synthesize data, identify outcomes and offer recommendations, requiring a fluency and comfort with information and processes that traditional-minded talent might find unfamiliar.
Meanwhile, talent within manufacturing, logistics and warehousing is aging, and the younger generation of tech-focused workers typically do not want to work in a plant, warehouse or factory. Not to mention, those with in-demand, specialized skill sets are proving difficult to recruit.
While it is hard to keep up with the latest tools and technologies, it is doubly difficult to train your people in-house to be ahead of the curve. However, in upskilling roles, they become more appealing to graduates.
The path forward to address this shift in skill sets likely relies on a mix of recruiting, upskilling, retooling and continuous improvement of your organization.
EY Consulting US-Central Supply Chain and Operations Leader