Research, new initiatives are highlights at MODEX

George Prest, CEO of MHI, the association for supply chain professionals, discusses the upcoming trade event, the 2016 MHI Report and the impact of the Industrial; Internet of Things (IIoT) on supply chain operations.


George Prest, CEO of MHI, the association for supply chain professionals, discusses the upcoming trade event, the 2016 MHI Report and the impact of the Industrial; Internet of Things (IIoT) on supply chain operations. Courtesy: MHIThe biannual MODEX Show in Atlanta on April 4-7 will gather the top material handling experts from around the world. It will also be the showcase for 2016 MHI Annual Industry Report, produced in conjunction with Deloitte during a MODEX keynote on April 6 George Prest, CEO of MHI, the association for supply chain professionals, discusses the upcoming trade event, the 2016 MHI Report and the impact of the Industrial; Internet of Things (IIoT) on supply chain operations: 

CFE Media: One of the key points of emphasis at MODEX 2016 is the future of supply chain. One area of particular emphasis is finding and training future workers. What is the message MHI and the industry need to send to the next generation of workers?

Prest: Supply chain careers are some of the most rewarding and highly-compensated jobs that are now being seen as the new path to the C-suite.

We, as an industry, need to do a better job of spreading the word that supply chains are global enterprises led by a diverse group of professionals that utilize innovation, creativity and smart thinking to not only drive operational efficiency but to keep the economy going.

New and emerging manufacturing and supply chain technologies are requiring highly-sophisticated skillsets and an equally sophisticated, well-trained and well-paid workforce Even though more than 11 million people work in the supply chain, 8.6% of the nation's workforce, a shortage of skilled supply chain workers remains. An estimated 600,000 manufacturing positions in the U.S. are unfilled for a lack of qualified workers. In addition, the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics predicts that by 2018, there will be 1.4 million new jobs in the logistics and supply chain field.

Because supply chains work behind the scenes, you only hear about them when there is a disruption. Through initiatives like the video campaign and the New Generation Supply Chain Workforce track at MODEX 2016, MHI is working to increase awareness of the amazing and rewarding career opportunities available in supply chain.

CFE Media: While the full industry report will be presented at MODEX, what are some of the key points of emphasis in the new State of the Industry report produced by MHI and Deloitte?

Prest: Interestingly, we have seen some big shifts in adoption of some technologies that just a year ago were seen as emerging. We are learning that they are having a bigger impact much sooner than predicted. This is proof that the accelerated pace of change in our industry is dramatically changing the way supply chains work and how they are managed.

A big emphasis of this year's report will be how this accelerated change is only increasing the talent gap as these technologies, and the new generation supply chains they are creating, require a new breed of supply chain professionals to run them. The 2016 report will certainly be required reading for manufacturing and supply chain professionals who want to get their arms around these issues.

CFE Media: Supply chain isn't top of mind in the discussions around the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), but what do you think are some of the key opportunities with this strategy for MHI members?

Prest: The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has the potential to deliver massive economic and environmental rewards. It can boost productivity, drive new markets, encourage innovation and result in exponential change for industry and our society as a whole.

The data and analytics generated by the IIoT will provide opportunities to improve operational, resource and energy efficiency. It also promotes better predictive maintenance and customer service while creating savings and revenue opportunities.

Accenture estimates that the IIoT could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Cisco predicts the IIoT will provide savings in the vicinity of $1.9 trillion over the next decade from improving efficiencies in supply chain management and logistics alone.

Next generation supply chains that are connected into highly automated, integrated and digitized networks will require the automation, sensor, software and system solutions offered by MHI members.

As the IIoT grows into a must-have for business survival, firms from all walks of industry will seek the best ways to harness it. As with all change, the devil will be in the details. That's were MHI members and their solutions come in.

If the full potential of the IIoT vision is achieved, many people will have an opportunity to better their careers and standards of living as a result of countless value creation opportunities. This is a topic that the 2015 MHI Annual Industry Report will address. It is also a topic of the MODEX keynote by Jack Allan of Cisco on April 5 in Atlanta.

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