Gen Z is going to reinvent the supply chain
Generation Z grew up with technology at their fingertips, and their tech savviness is beginning to show as they climb ladders in the workforce. This article explores how the next generation of workers will play an essential role in digitizing and innovating the supply chain.
Supply chains across the world are undergoing major transformations, largely in part to technology and process improvements that are helping to increase efficiencies. But it’s more than just technology fueling supply chain innovation: It’s Gen Z.
Each year, new, multigenerational talent enters the industry. They bring with them strong skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. These two elements – advanced technology and talent – create the perfect storm for new, creative ideas. In fact, innovation is nearly five times higher within supply chain compared to B2C industries.
But what is it about Gen Z that breeds new ideas, and how can tech leaders best look to leverage their power?
Born to be quick; determined to create
Gen Z is said to be the most agile and creative generation; in fact, findings show that 56% of Gen Z consider themselves creative compared to 44% of millennials. With this new sense of creativity comes untapped skill sets and values. Gen Z is set to change multiple facets of the workforce – socially, economically, and sustainably. They are inherently technology driven, and their curiosity and thirst for knowledge creates a significant competitive advantage.
A 2021 Gartner analysis found that, over the next 10 years, Gen Z supply chain professionals will accelerate supply chain digitization. This generation consumes technology at rapid speed, and many are shaping much of the sustainability agendas being put in place by leading companies across multiple industries. Pairing Gen Z with innovative technology and new ideas enables stakeholders throughout supply chain and technology companies to innovate better together.
To understand how, we can look to recent supply chain disruptions that are accelerating the need for digital transformation. In fact, findings show that 80% of supply chain leaders are prioritizing digital transformation due to the disruption from the pandemic. Because of this, the industry is seeing big jumps in technology investments. With new enabling technologies causing disruptions across the supply chain, the need for innovation is at an all-time high. New technologies like 3D printing, AI, and big data are redefining the industry. These digital natives hold the key to not only unlocking but also fast-tracking the global effort in welcoming tomorrow’s fully digital world.
The future of supply chains relies on the ability to apply advanced strategies in today’s dynamic technological environment. Supply chain automation is already a top priority for supply chain leaders. According to a survey, there are more than 50 logistics technologies under development that could automate some part of future supply chains. Gen Z, being as tech savvy as they are, will play a pivotal role in the future supply chain design and strategy by adopting automation, augmentation, and driving innovation for the industry.
This generation is making a difference in the technology industry, creating modernizations and bringing with them fresh perspectives that are helping to solve problems like never before. For example, a young Gen Z’er created an artificial neural network to better track space debris, helping spacecraft and satellites avoid costly collisions. Her program can predict the future position of space junk with 98% accuracy –which is far more accurate than the statistical models developed by NASA.
Key to unlocking digital transformation
Gen Z knows firsthand what digital transformation looks and feels like. With this mentality, a movement of young scientists and pioneers has been mobilized, creating impressive solutions. With 35% of Gen Z admitting to spending 6 to 10 hours per day on their mobile devices, it’s no wonder they are accelerating digital transformation. Consumer expectancy drives companies to constantly innovate. Being ahead of the curve is critical.
My team is focusing on a suite of freight tech products that put the shipper in control of their supply chain. Creating an environment where collaboration meets innovation is the perfect solution for the technology demand Gen Z will place on supply chain.
Gen Z’s identity and digital experience are intertwined. They are more likely than other generations to believe in the positive impact technology has in the world. In fact, 64% believe AI will have a positive impact and more than 60% believe the internet and technology will bring the world closer together.
Current leaders within the technology and supply chain spaces must embrace Gen Z’s unique position as they start their careers and work together to reach their highest potential. Gen Z has the confidence and technological intelligence but there’s one critical thing they lack, as all those who are new to the workforce do: experience in solving real-world problems. Older generations’ experience, paired with Gen Z’s creative and innovative ideas, provide boundless opportunities – not only in the supply chain, but in every other industry as well.
Renee Dubiel is the director of business development at Centerboard, a transportation management provider.