Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Will incorporating the Millenennial Generation into supply chain management offer the US a competitive advantage?

In the United States, the working population has began to change; there are now 80 million Millennials (born 1980-2000) and 79 million Baby Boomers. The cultural difference between the Millennial generation and other generations is something that many executives are struggling to figure out. For example, Millennials are often characterized as "being lazy" or "misunderstood" by other generations. The media has focused on how younger professionals are not entering into the supply chain space.

While some may argue that the Millennial generation needs to adapt to corporate America in order to find a place in the supply chain. I will argue that the Millennial generation can provide the United States with a competitive labor supply, if harnessed correctly. As a member of the Millennial generation, I think that businesses and corporations need to begin to understand our generation so that we can begin to help build stronger, more resilient supply chains. In contrast, I also believe that the Millennial generation needs to understand other generations (X'ers and Baby Boomers) so that they can capitalize on each others strengths and weaknesses.


While different generations are figuring out each others preferences, Millennials can immediately provide technological expertise to supply chain management. Below are four ways that Millennials can provide value to supply chain management.

1. Always on. Almost the entire Millennial generation helped their families integrate technology into their homes and it is time that they helped corporate America harness the power of technology in their supply chain. They have grown up connected to their computers and the internet. It is because of this trait that they are more likely to create solutions that emphasize accessibility and connectivity.

2. In the Cloud. The Millennial generation is completely comfortable with Cloud Technology. Integrating Cloud Technology into the supply chain could allow transactions and information flow to happen efficiently while providing more visibility in the supply chain.

3. Visibility of Data. The Millennials need to have information immediately and this makes them perfect candidates for finding quick solutions that integrate both technology and data. Many Millennials possess skills to utilize SaaS-based TMS solutions that can monitor critical activities within the supply chain. This data visualization is not utilized to its full extent currently but could be with the integration of Millennials.

4. Naturally Collaborative. The Millennial generation is very open to connect with others members of networks. Millennials recognize the value in having additional capacity and collaboration within their network. This generation can share information faster that more efficiently than any of the other generations in the current supply chain workforce.

Will older generations need to understand Millennials in order to utilize their expertise in the supply chain? With the continued increase of Millennials into the work space and decrease of Baby Boomers, will Millennials become a necessity to strengthening the supply chain? How late is too late to target Millennials to enter the supply chain management job space? Will Millennials need to change themselves to fit into this market or will X'ers and Baby Boomers need to?

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