Artificial intelligence is on the lips of many, whether technology is their thing or not. The debate continues on what the future holds for AI implementation and how much technology and AI will affect our everyday lives. Some argue it will change entire industries and make routine jobs redundant. Others hold a more conservative viewpoint and point to AI's lack of creativity when compared to the human mind. The future is still somewhat unpredictable, though, as there are trends emerging in every aspect of our work and personal lives to take note of.
The increasing power and capability of machines in the digital supply network (DSN) may portend a change in what organizations ask of their workers, in terms of required skills, tasks, and roles. In the coming years, perhaps sooner than later, almost all work will likely involve people working alongside technology or robots they are not currently working with today. Navigating the future of work can be a new and confounding challenge to many supply chain executives who may already be struggling with what their organizations may look like in a novel, more interconnected age. And it can be difficult to identify and prepare for the workforce of the future when the impacts of the DSN on roles and functions are still very much evolving (see the sidebar "A brief look at the digital supply network" to learn more). But with this uncertainty comes the opportunity--and perhaps what many would consider a requirement--to rethink the role of talent in supply chains and discover the potential power of people and machines working together. The addition of advanced technology to a workplace can spur the fear of robots replacing human workers. Certainly, the introduction of advanced technologies could eliminate some tasks and reduce the need for some roles. At the same time, however, it also could lead to the creation of some new tasks and roles. In the United Kingdom, for example, technology has helped to create 3.5 million new jobs between 2001 and 2015, even while it has contributed to the loss of 800,000 other jobs.1
We kick off today a month-long focus on trends in the following categories: Manufacturing, Manufacturing Technology, Supply Chain, Logistics, and Transportation Management. This 2016 supply chain trend will continue as best-in-class organizations leverage business networks to create a digital community of partners executing coordinated processes in a more organized and informed way than in the past. This new breed of supply chain is more connected, intelligent, scalable and rapid than traditional supply chain management. In today's global and connected economy, digital supply chains are the on-ramp to innovation and success.
How Emerging Technologies are Shaping the Future of Supply Chain and its impact in addressing the Supply Chain Challenges? The supply chain industry has witnessed a paradigm shift, especially in recent times due to the disruption caused by the Pandemic. The industry is now considering an intrinsic part of the overall business strategy, thanks to the Covid-19, which has made the adoption of Digital Transformation a need of the hour in every industry. Besides, supply chain networks face enormous pressure caused by rising and shifting customer expectations for various products and services. The pre-covid era faced challenges relating to additional customer service requirements or fulfilment needs. The businesses responded by ramping up hiring and also throwing more people to address the problems.
Increasingly flexible, responsive, sensing, even humanlike, robots are beginning to augment and replace labour in a wide range of industries: a megatrend that is transforming the economics of manufacturing and reshaping the business landscape. Already used to fight wars, remove dangerous land mines, and fill customer orders, robots can also clean, dance, and play the violin; assist with surgery and rehabilitation, bathe elderly patients, measure and deliver medication, and offer companionship; and provide disaster relief, report the news, and drive cars. In short, robots can perform quite a few of the jobs that humans currently do – often more efficiently and at a far lower cost. Because robots can sharply improve productivity and offset regional differences in labour costs and availability, they'll likely have a major impact on the competitiveness of companies and countries alike. For instance, countries with a greater number of robotic programmers and robotic infrastructure could become more attractive to manufacturers than countries with cheap labour.