Back in 2014, when the MHI Annual Industry Report was titled “Innovations That Drive Supply Chains,” 84% of supply chain execs predicted that they would adopt inventory and network optimization tools within the next 3-5 years. Yet, now that 2018 is here, the actual adoption rate is a full 40% less than predictions! The same is true for the rest of 2014’s “transformational” technologies: adoption rates are roughly 20-50% lower than expected.
These figures come from the 2018 Annual Industry Report, which is appropriately titled “Overcoming Barriers to NextGen Supply Chain Innovation.” So what’s the holdup?
According to this year’s respondents, there are 3 main barriers that stand in the way of adopting NextGen technologies:
- Making the business case. Justifying the costs of implementing innovative new technologies is difficult because the potential value is unknown. On the other hand, the costs of inaction – and falling behind – can be dire.
- Addressing the skills gap and workforce shortage. Attracting talent with technical and analytical skills is not a new challenge, but solving it becomes even more critical as NextGen systems replace physical work with insight based tasks that require multi-faceted expertise.
- Building trust and ensuring cybersecurity. Even the most casual observer knows that new technologies come with new risks, no matter how large or small the company. Building in robust, multi-layered security features at every point along the supply chain is vital to building trust among all partners and stakeholders.
So how do you tackle these barriers? That answer depends on your own specific culture, partners, workforce, industry and markets. But there’s no doubt that you must tackle them. As MHI CEO George Prest put it in the 2018 report, “While the transition to NextGen supply chains is complex, inaction is not a strategy. Ignoring these important developments may leave your supply chain at a severe disadvantage in the future.”
UNEX Manufacturing has materials handling, storage and order picking solutions that tackle many of the barriers of adoption, such as helping with the labor shortage by speeding fulfillment and reducing amount of labor needed. Our solutions are cost-effective, yet made of the highest quality materials, so you get the most value for your investment. Contact your UNEX Pickologist today.