If you have not read the 2015 MHI Annual Industry Report, let me play the spoiler and give you the keys to where solutions reside. In the report, which is based on comprehensive surveys of more than 400 supply chain professionals ranging from engineers to CEOs, the following comment is made: “The number one barrier to investing in new technologies and innovations is the lack of a clear business case.” Further, lack of capital ranks as the lowest barrier to investment.
This means the market for material handling and supply chain suppliers is much larger than estimated, and that users of these products and services are experiencing confusion and uncertainty. Unfortunately, without a change in the business environment, this market is unlikely to emerge, leading to significant negative consequences for all concerned.
At the top of the list of reasons for hesitation to procure is the accelerating rate of technology change in terms of complexity and product lifecycles. Think about it for a moment: Would you buy a house today if you knew in five years’ time you could have one at a lower price with a host of additional features that made your life easier? You might, but you would have to be convinced that your investment was sound and that you would not be at a disadvantage as a result. What if houses were evolving at the same pace as, for example, cell phones, or supply chain technology? How would you approach the decision then, if at all?
By Matthew Smurr, MHI Senior Director, Groups