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ASCM Insights

Predicting the Future of Supply Chain

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What do you think the Smithsonian ranks as “the single most important piece of 20th century futurism”? It’s not a famous painting or sculpture celebrating urban landscapes, fanciful technologies or the machine age. It’s not Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, which was such a revolutionary piece of music that it caused people to riot. It’s not even a book by H.G. Wells or Ray Bradbury. Any guesses?

Believe it or not, it’s “The Jetsons.” When it aired back in 1962, this American family cartoon was the first program broadcast in color on ABC. As the Smithsonian magazine points out,” Though it was ‘just a cartoon,’ with all the sight gags and parody you’d expect, it was based on very real expectations for the future.”

The time period depicted in the show was 2062, which means the utopia envisioned by its creators should be right around the corner for us today. In fact, as a recent article in The New York Post notes, many of the predicted technologies have already arrived: We make video calls to our friends and coworkers. We use robots to vacuum our homes. We have smartwatches, drones, cameras inside pills, holograms and even flying cars. And remember how the Jetsons would sit down together at the dinner table and choose which meal to have produced for them at the push of a button? Sounds a lot like 3D printing to me.

Some other technologies from “The Jetsons” exist in the prototype phase or are maturing rapidly. Self-driving cars are well on their way. Militaries are experimenting with jetpacks, although they’re still a bit clunky compared with those used by George and Jane.

Other aspects of the show are a bit harder to imagine. For example, George’s workday is maximum three hours, and he only works three days a week. In one episode he even comments: “Imagine putting your back on a four-day week. What does the boss think this is — the 20th century?” While some of today’s organizations are experimenting with four-day workweeks, three days is going to be a tough to sell.

Something you can do in just three days …

The three days of September 18-20 at the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference are chock full of expert supply chain content that will help us all build a better future together. Participants will access the latest supply chain tech in interactive Innovation Labs — a new immersive experience designed to stimulate creativity, collaboration and discussion. Plus, you can share your feedback with companies including o9 Solutions, Deloitte, PwC and StartGrid.

The conference’s Emerging Trends learning pillar will explore the latest in digital transformation, AI, industry 5.0 and much more. And the Sustainability pillar will empower you to become a force for corporate social responsibility and business integrity to protect the earth as we press toward the future.

In addition, ASCM’s Research, Innovation and Sensing Committee will present a sneak peek into its predictions for the Top 10 Trends of 2023. Register today to get the supply chain education you need to keep up with the pace of change. It’s only quickening, so grab your jetpack and meet us in Chicago!

 

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), the largest organization for supply chain and the global pacesetter of organizational transformation, talent development and supply chain innovation. During his tenure, ASCM has significantly expanded its services to corporations, individuals and communities. Its revenue has more than doubled, and the association successfully completed three mergers in response to both heightened industry awareness and the vast and ongoing global impact driven by supply chains. Previously, Eshkenazi was the managing director of the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. He may be contacted at abe@ascm.org.

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