Companies should use the coming years to invest in the future – by engaging with digitalisation, the environment and apprenticeships.
It is time to take stock and consider what 2020 and beyond will bring. And three issues are worthy of examining; digitalisation, productivity and the green agenda.
The key challenge for many companies is to standardise processes within supply chains to facilitate digitalisation. Once this has happened many can become ’low touch’ or ‘no touch’ processes with little human intervention.
Routine, low productivity, and low value-added activities that supply chain professionals have historically engaged in will be a thing of the past, freeing them to engage in higher value-added activities such as supply chain analytics, optimising supply chain design and managing relationships.
As a result, Supply chain professionals will increasingly be called to enhance and develop their capabilities with a greater emphasis on analytical and relationship building capabilities, for example.
A resolution of the Brexit situation will help to reduce uncertainty and hopefully encourage UK firms to increase their investment, which should help productivity. However, this will only happen if the skills of our labour force are enhanced. For that to happen we need to increase our workforce training and education.
I would urge those organisations who are contributing to the ‘apprenticeship levy’ to ensure that their contributions are drawn down and the funds used to pay for higher quality, productivity-enhancing training and education.
That means collaborating with training agents, colleges and universities to demand that the training provided is of the highest quality. The combination of increased capital investment, increased investment in training and increased digitalisation, sustained over a number of years, has to be the answer to the UK’s productivity problem.
In 2019 I have had the pleasure of working with companies from the global logistics industry, automotive, industrial and domestic cleaning, airlines industry and government, to name a few. The one topic common to discussions in all is ‘the environment’ and how that is directly impacting the operations, innovative focus and future product/service portfolio of the organisations.
Organisations must directly address the green agenda and be clear about the impact it will have on their business today and in the very near future. Those who respond are finding a new set of consumers with a strong preference for environmentally sound goods and services – with some prepared to pay a premium.