tED Publisher, Scott Costa, recently reached out to our former 30 Under 35 award winners asking them for their visions of the future of our industry. 2015 30 Under 35 winner Daniel De Longe, Branch Manager of Graybar Electric's Oklahoma City location, stepped up to the plate:
Costa: “For years, we have talked about Millennials becoming up to 70% of the workforce by 2023. While that is still on track, what is a bit unexpected is the number of higher-level executives who are retiring sooner than expected. As a result, Millennials are not just in the workforce. They are leading the workforce, taking on higher level roles, and they are doing it during a time of massive transition.
“So, I am reaching out to you. I am looking for your vision of the future. It has changed so radically over the last few months that I am interested in your view. Where do you see this supply chain in 3 years? What about 5? What about in 2030?”
Daniel De Longe's vision for the future of the supply chain:
"Over the last several months, we have all experienced unprecedented change in the way we live, work and interact with others. While some of these changes have shifted our short-term plans, they have also accelerated the pace of some of the longer term transformations that were already underway.
"As we consider the future of the supply chain and our industry, I believe technology will continue to be a key driver of change in the years to come. Companies will expand their use of predictive analytics to anticipate and plan for the future. Automation and algorithms will reinvent the way work gets done. We may also see more consolidation via mergers and acquisitions that would create entities large enough to compete and fund significant digital transformation.
"The impact of technology extends to the workforce as well. The pandemic has shown that alternative work arrangements are viable for many employees, thanks to digital collaboration tools that keep them connected and productive. However, rapid changes in technology will require companies to strategically upskill their workforce to help their people thrive in a digital world. While technology investments will be required to stay competitive, I believe that investments in people are equally important. Relationships and customer service will be differentiators in the years to come, and the combination of technology leadership, an innovative culture and great employees will be essential to any organization’s success.
"As millennials move into leadership roles, one of their biggest challenges will be managing a multi-generational workforce. On the one hand, many Baby Boomers and even some in Generation X are retiring, while others are choosing to delay retirement and work later in life. It will be a constant balancing act to fill the experience gap as people retire, while helping all employees take advantage of the transformative power of technology. And just as millennials introduced new ideas when they first entered the workforce, Generation Z will bring a new perspective and fresh thinking to our workplaces. For leaders to succeed in the future, it is vital to leverage the strengths of employees across generations, to constantly be learning, and to inspire positive change and a culture of innovation in our organizations."
View other responses here.