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Need for Social and Emotional Skills Growing Along with More Automated Supply Chains

While these skills have always had their place in the toolbox of employees and leaders, the need for mastery will be crucial in the new future of work. These are skills that machines cannot replace, at least not yet.

* By Maria Leggett *

According to the report, “Skill Shift: Automation and the Future of the Workforce,” by the McKinsey Global Institute, the demand for social and emotional skills will grow rapidly with the adoption of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. While these skills have always had their place in the toolbox of employees and leaders, the need for mastery will be crucial in the new future of work. These are skills that machines cannot replace, at least not yet. What’s more, as automation continues to grow, the focus on human skills and being able to work collaboratively with other people will continue to increase in importance.

As AI tracks and monitors how quickly and efficiently employees work, trust in the workplace, especially in warehouse environments, can erode as people compete with machines to meet production quotas and more intense supervision. Add the growing trends for remote employees, virtual meetings and online versus face-to-face communication, and the opportunities to increase trust, build relationships and network informally disappear.

Regardless of your role, how you interact, persuade and inspire others will affect how colleagues, leaders and customers perceive your ability to partner and bring value to the company.

According to Carrie Baldwin of Baldwin Consulting, a leadership and organizational development practice, influencing is a mission critical skill. It builds credibility and helps people sell ideas to get action. Baldwin defines influencing as the ability to persuade or gain commitment from others to act. Baldwin’s experience working with Fortune 500 companies backs the research recently published by the World Economic Forum that soft skills such as influencing will surpass digital and technical skills in importance for future success. “Your ultimate success hinges on your ability to motivate and get buy-in from others to implement a strategy, critical organizational initiative, drive change and even build a team,” said Baldwin.

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This issue of MHI Solutions tackles the important topic of digital technologies in the supply chain industry, especially as it relates the transportation and logistics. Transportation plays a central role in supply chains, whether they are local or global enterprises. And just like the overall supply chain, transportation is facing a digital revolution including new solutions for tracking road, rail, sea and air freight and parcel transportation. These digital technologies are disrupting the industry, but they are also providing im-portant new solutions for transportation inefficiencies and urban logistics challenges. They are also creating new digital business models that enhance transparency and sustainability and contribute to end-to-end supply chain visibility. Like the innovations impacting supply chains, these trends are being driven by the growth of e-commerce and the consumers’ never-ending need for better, faster and cheaper. Ignoring them is done at your own peril.

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