Digital Supply Chains: Connecting Data, Talent and Technology

The seventh edition of MHI Annual Industry Report explores the fundamental link between these three pillars of operational success.

By Carol Miller

Companies of all sizes are in the process of transitioning their operations to a digital supply chain model. Yet, as they cope with heightened customer expectations for lower cost and faster delivery, many organizations continue to face a talent skills gap and workforce shortage.

These are the overarching findings of the seventh edition of the 2020 MHI Annual Industry Report based on research conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLP. The report — “Embracing the Digital Mindset: Connecting Data, Talent and Technology in Digital Supply Chains” — was released during a keynote panel discussion at MODEX 2020 and is available as a free download at

The keynote included moderators George Prest, CEO of MHI and Thomas Boykin, a leader of Deloitte Consulting’s Supply Chain Network Optimization practice and lead researcher of the MHI Annual Industry Report for the past seven years. The pair was joined by three panelists from industry and academia who offered insights into the report’s highlights and findings:

  • Randy V. Bradley, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, Haslam College of Business, The University of Tennessee
  • Arpana Brahmbhatt, U.S. Industry Solutions – Manufacturing for Microsoft
  • Rick Faulk, CEO of Locus Robotics

As with previous releases, the 2020 report includes the results of a survey of more than 1,000 manufacturing and supply chain professionals — 80% of whom believe the digital supply chain model will dominate the industry within the next five years. However, to achieve a digital supply chain, and reap its benefits, companies will have to leverage a combination of data, talent and technology, noted Prest.

“All three are critical components of a successful digital supply chain transformation,” he said. “The ability to synthesize and parse data into actionable insights for decision-making is essential for meeting increasing customer expectations for faster delivery, more customized service and lower costs. Yet without the talent required to adopt and successfully implement the next generation of digital supply chain technologies and innovations, organizations won’t be able to effectively harness the value of that information.”

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