Innovate Your Supply Chain to Survive


Supply chain innovation is becoming a deliberate strategy for companies, rather than an accidental occurrence. and the MHI Executive Summit and Annual Conference in San Diego helps to highlight just how important that trend will be in the next few years to cope with the rate of change in business.

We’re all familiar with the Fortune 500 list of the world’s largest companies. The first 500 list was published in 1955 and the average company on it was more than 60 years old. Today, the average age of companies on the list is just 15 years. And if that’s not startling enough, the original Fortune 100 list published in 1917 listed only one company (General Electric) that exists today!

The supply chain determines a company’s ability to cope with changes in its products and marketplace, yet flexibility is often an afterthought. The U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling and Logistics, published earlier this year, highlights the rapid rate of change that businesses are experiencing and emphasizes the strategic role that supply chains must play. Key trends driving this change include mass personalization, e-commerce, sustainability and urban logistics. These are just a few of the drivers challenging the economics of many industries.

This is a significant challenge for the relatively young fields of supply chain management and supply chain engineering. Both have only emerged as distinct disciplines over the past 35 years.

The evolution of the supply chain has been a journey to align and integrate the broad range of jobs and business functions that enable companies to balance supply with demand. And today, there is a growing recognition of the important role that material handling must play in ensuring that these supply chains are both efficient and effective.

By Daniel Stanton, MHI VP, Education and Professional Development

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