In our Expert Insights Series, we ask supply chain thought leaders to weigh in on key topics. This time, we talk about keeping pace with industry trends!
Keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry has never been more important for supply chain leaders in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. The pace of global disruption, shifting consumer preferences, and market volatility has businesses on high alert, and they must be ready to adapt quickly to remain competitive. All this complexity calls for commitment to staying on top of emerging trends to handle uncertainty and stay ahead of the competition, identify new opportunities and capitalize on them, and drive success and innovation.
There are also remarkable technological advancements emerging every day, presenting countless opportunities to advance supply chain planning and improve business performance.
We asked supply chain experts and thought leaders how they go about keeping abreast of the latest trends and developments in supply chain and incorporating this knowledge into their work. Read their thoughts and advice for staying up to date with industry updates:
“Staying abreast is a challenge, as all parts move fast and in many different directions. Mainly, I network with peers, attend conferences and webinars, read, talk to customers, suppliers and consultants. It is like having an open-door policy: it is about going out of your office rather than waiting for people to show up.
Part of my added value is providing a critical analysis that determines which solutions can really help solve the problems faced by my customers. I avoid fads and buzz words, as they most often are rebranding exercises for old products.”
“I have joined, I suspect, nearly every supply chain or manufacturing or logistics group I can find on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has become a great resource for interesting content. I will also follow people that comment on a posting that offers interesting insights. Beyond that, I have set up filters on various news feeds to send me articles that are supply chain focused, and I find literature to read (or re-read) - that keeps my theoretical knowledge sharp. I have also found that writing articles for various journals forces me to research on more and different topics than I might otherwise. And of course, attending conferences helps me network with software vendors and best of the best talent.
The challenge I see today, more than in the past - is to sift through hype cycles of whatever the new shiny object might be, and ask questions about application and use cases. I joke that I am still waiting for the lights out manufacturing floor promised 20 years ago; it was a vision without a conversion path into the pragmatic everyday realities of manufacturing.”
“When I graduated from university my first instinct to find ways to stay current with whatever was happening in the field of Supply Chain and Logistics was to Google it, and it worked! From that first search I discovered that there were online communities around the world who dedicated their time to share industry news, webinars, conferences, learning and work opportunities, advice and insights, and most of them used LinkedIn as their main platform. This is part of the reasons why I am so active on this social media network!
From every article or case study I read, or from every event that I attend, I always try to first identify what were the key learnings from it and secondly, if I was really moved, I try to connect with the people behind it to discover and learn more about the subject.
The value of leveraging online platforms and communities extends beyond enriching your network and learning experiences; it also broadens the resources you can possibly use for decision making and problem solving.”
“I invest a minimum of two to three hours weekly reading supply chain and logistics publications, as well as reading The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times to discern what's taking place in the supply chain globally. Where possible, I apply the information that I learn. It's not always easy.”
“Well, that's easy. My podcast, Transform Talks with Maria Villablanca! That and talking to as many people in the industry as I can on a regular basis. There is nothing better for learning than challenging your own beliefs and hearing how others have either succeeded or learned from failure.”
“I am blessed by nature of my job as head-hunter to be speaking to many super smart executives every day. So that is how I stay up to date - by asking the leaders of the industry and learning from them. Then I listen to what they say they need and connect the dots.”
“I participate in supply chain conferences and subscribe to numerous podcasts, newsletters, blogs; read journals and books both within and outside of the supply chain industry. Research firms, media organizations, academic organizations, and thought leaders offer free newsletters, webinars, industry news, and more which I highly encourage people to sign up for.
My work is to lead my company’s strategic product roadmap and to help companies reshape and reimagine the future of their supply chain – and I try to challenge conventional ways of thinking, so I am always on the quest for disruptive ideas, concepts, and emerging technologies. While I am staying up to date on the latest trends in supply chain, I believe it is equally as important to look beyond the world of supply chain and assess trends across multiple dimensions and their potential impact to help supply chain leaders craft their digital supply chain strategies.”
“As a consultant in the global supply chain arena, I work closely with innovative companies to promote their solutions to manage Supply Chain challenges, so I am exposed to new technologies and best practices that are aligned with the latest trends in supply chain.
I also try to keep up to date with the latest developments and the future of supply chain by attending industry conferences and events both as a speaker and as a participant, read industry publications and follow supply chain leaders on social media.”
“I engage with my fellow thought leaders on LinkedIn. Following their content and discussing with people in the comments below a post is very insightful. The current hot topics and the major trends of course also influence my work as Supply Chain Career Coach. Talent shortage, AI, flexible work etc. are very relevant subjects. Knowing what employers and employees expect from each other helps me bridge the gap.”
“It’s an exciting time to be in supply chain, as technology is rocketing ahead at a pace we haven’t seen before. On the one hand, there are some technologies moving so far ahead that they are like solutions in search of a problem. On the other, the basic requirement for core technologies has completely changed the table stakes. Staying up to date requires a conscious and consistent investment of time.”
Thank you to all of our experts for taking the time to share their insights. Stay tuned for more in our Expert Insights Series! As we share views and opinions from thought leaders and industry peers on key topics of the ever-evolving supply chain landscape.