Is the supply chain sexy?
Why “sexy” is a perfect fit for the supply chain.
Why do we apply the word “sexy” to things that are non-sexual, like, for example, the supply chain? Sexy is synonymous with the words exciting, appealing, fascinating, desirable, provocative. It’s a buzzword for something popular and attractive. When people think of the supply chain, do they think of the word “sexy”? Many might say no, but here’s an argument as to why it’s a perfect fit.
Are Apple products sexy? Are designer clothes sexy? Is the Audi A5 sexy? Are oysters sexy? Many people would answer yes. Substitute your favorite and most desired technology, clothes, cars, and food, and you will find that they are all products of the supply chain. Senior Vice President of Research at SCM World, Mark Davis, is leading the charge in pointing out the vibrancy, attractiveness, and desirability of the supply chain. A study conducted by SCM World shows how consumers view the supply chain. Here’s what they found:
- Very few people react to the supply chain in a negative or strongly negative way.
- People aged 16-25 view the supply chain as positive or strongly positive, which is more optimistic than any other age groups reported.
- People aged 56 and older reported the highest level of unfamiliarity with the supply chain, while people aged 16-25 reported being most familiar with the supply chain.
- People aged 16-25 were the least neutral compared to other ages in their reaction to the supply chain.
Given what we know about the Millennial generation, this makes sense, and it could be good news for the supply chain. Millennials are optimistic, achievement-oriented, social, collaborative, tech-savvy, and value-based. Their buying patterns are informing everything we do and it should be stressed that there are many of them. According to the New York Times, “there are more 23-year-olds — 4.7 million of them — than any other age, according to census data from June. The second most populous age group was 24, and the third was 22. There is no official age range for Millennials but the generation generally is defined as being born between the early 1980s and early 2000s. By 2020, they will account for one-third of the adult population.” We think of the Baby Boomer generation as the largest age group, but at 24% they are just surpassed by the Millennial generation at 26% of the population.
Often we equate what is sexy with youth. With the Millennial generation—our youth— poised to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020, the supply chain could harness their optimism and interest. According to Mark Davis, “we should all be highly optimistic about the future. Millennials are strongly positive about supply chain, which presents a unique opportunity for us to inspire them to choose it as a career. We have to keep them interested by sharing stories of how supply chain is innovating to solve the world’s three fundamental issues: health, hunger and environmental sustainability.”
Aside from being supported by Millennials, why else would we consider the supply chain “sexy”? Some of the most innovative work is being done in the supply chain, including enterprise resource planning, cloud-based computing, use of big data, and involvement in the Internet of Things. If the supply chain can continue to harness technology, make smart hires, and attract Millennials, the word “sexy” could apply for a long time.