MHI Solutions

Global Trends

Plan to Be Disrupted

2018 MHI Annual Industry Report Highlights NextGen Innovations and How to Overcome Top Barriers to Their Adoption

* By Carol Miller, MHI Vice President of Marketing and Communications *

For the fifth consecutive year, MHI and the Deloitte Consulting LLP research team—led by Scott Sopher, principal and leader of the Global Supply Chain Practice—queried more than 1,100 manufacturing and supply chain leaders to evaluate the influence a range of trends and next generation (NextGen) technologies have had. Executives from a variety of industries weighed in on their supply chain business impact, as well as cybersecurity concerns and workforce challenges.

The resulting 2018 MHI Annual Industry Report, “Overcoming Barriers to NextGen Supply Chain Adoption,” confirmed the trends identified in the previous reports, says Sopher: “The next generation, digital, on-demand and always-on supply network is here. It’s real. It’s happening. And lots of companies have embraced it.”

The report was released in a keynote panel discussion at MODEX 2018. In it, respondents acknowledged that today’s supply chains do much more than just physically move products and materials from one location to another. Today’s digital, interconnected world demands that supply chains also serve as a connected, coordinated information ecosystem that delivers maximum flexibility, visibility and transparency—regardless of the manpower available.

Reflecting this, survey respondents identified their top two operational challenges as: increasing customer demands on supply chains (73%) and hiring qualified workers (64%).

Identifying how companies are using NextGen technologies to transform supply chains into digital operations continues to be a key component of the survey. Nine technologies studied in previous reports are revisited:

  • Robotics and Automation
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Driverless Vehicles and Drones
  • Wearable and Mobile Technology
  • Inventory and Network Optimization
  • Sensors and Automatic Identification
  • Cloud Computing and Storage
  • 3D Printing

Conducted at the end of 2017, this year’s survey included two rapidly emerging NextGen technologies for the first time: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain.

Read More…


There is no silver bullet to building a workforce that can thrive in this new digital environment. It takes leadership, collaboration, innovative talent sourcing, continuous training and improvement. This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on this important topic from the technologies driving changing skill sets to industry-academia collaboration to how to hire, retain and develop the digital supply chain workforce.

Industry Headlines

From a pool of more than 100 submissions for the 2019 MHI Innovation Awards, judges comprised of pro [...]

Bookmark MHIsolutionsmag.com to gain quick access to any and all MHI media and news information. MHI [...]

Supply & Demand Chain Executive-BNSF Railway Co. has been testing drones for supplemental inspec [...]

Visit NewsWire to see more industry headlines

Latest Tweets