ASCM members from around the world came together this week for three inspiring and informative days of supply chain education. ASCM CONNECT 2023: North America was packed with thought-provoking content, covering a broad scope of topics, from resilience to sustainability to leadership and beyond. We presented three keynotes this year featuring truly impressive speakers, who shared their insights on critical supply chain challenges and opportunities.
Day 1 kicked off with expert commentary from Elliott Harris, chief economist at the United Nations, and former U.S. Ambassador John J. Sullivan. They explored supply chains from a global perspective, delving into the megatrends of climate action and environmental policy, raw material shortages, trade tensions, deglobalization, and emerging technologies.
All of these issues are made even more challenging by today’s escalating velocity of change. As Sullivan said, “The increasing speed puts a burden on all of the people working within supply chains.”
The two made it crystal-clear that this velocity requires supply chains to adapt and expertly manage risk and disruption, such as the rise of protectionism and national security concerns, environmental impact, and the constant wave of new technologies — in particular, artificial intelligence (AI).
In fact, AI was everywhere you looked at the conference, whether an educational session, a TECHTalk or innovation lab — and definitely the Day 2 keynote. Yossi Sheffi, Ph.D., MIT professor and director of the university’s Center for Transportation and Logistics, spoke about the future of tech, highlighting many of the amazing innovations that supply chains have at their disposal. But he also underscored the key human qualities that AI lacks: understanding of context, respecting moral codes and values, negotiation, collaboration, and managing unexpected situations.
The bottom line is that the 5th industrial revolution is an incredible opportunity for machines and people to work together in order to amplify human creativity. Of course, this requires supply chain organizations to be thoughtful and intentional about their digital journeys.
Fortunately, a very straightforward and relatable Day 3 keynote explained exactly how to do that. Frankie Mossman, chief commercial officer at Dropit, offered strategies for defining a supply chain’s current state along the path to digital transformation, overcoming obstacles and course correcting when necessary. She was also very passionate about the need for integrated approaches and focusing beyond the functional levels to include the entire ecosystem.
How we get there
ASCM CONNECT 2023: North America proved the need to reprioritize and reinvest in not just supply chain transformation, but talent transformation. Emerging technologies are only going to get more innovative, more complex and more disruptive. The only way forward is to be 100% certain that your teams are trained up and ready to execute.
As always, ASCM is here with world-class learning and development: the brand-new Supply Chain Knowledge Center; essential certifications and credentials; plus certificates, including the Supply Chain Technology Certificate. And of course, don’t miss top conferences and events like ASCM CONNECT. Speaking of which, be sure to mark your calendar for next year in Austin, September 9-11. I look forward to seeing you there as we advance the supply chain talent transformation together!