Last night, several ASCM board members, key women team members and I joined 130 remarkable women, who were recognized at the annual Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Awards gala. The 100 honorees and 30 emerging leaders embody excellence from the factory floor to the C-suite and — perhaps most importantly — are committed to mentoring and supporting the next generation of female talent.
For years now, ASCM has been a proud sponsor of this initiative, which aims to empower women; champion diversity; and promote STEP (science, technology, engineering and production) careers to women, veterans and younger generations.
“Nothing sends a more powerful message than your example,” Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers and chair of The Manufacturing Institute, told attendees. “Just by sharing your story, you show us what is possible.”
Indeed, envisioning the possibilities is essential as we continue seeking new and innovative ways to tap into this vast and powerful talent pool. “Manufacturers have an urgent need for new workers to join us,” Timmons continued. “Women are underrepresented in the industry, so there’s an incredible opportunity before us, and STEP Ahead is helping us seize it.”
Research by the APICS Supply Chain Council, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute reveals that executives around the world rank talent as the top driver of manufacturing competitiveness. Yet six out of 10 positions are currently unfilled due to the skills gap. Here in the United States, women total about 47% of the US labor force; earn more than half of all associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees; and actively advance their careers, holding more than half of all managerial and professional positions. Yet they represent only 29% of the manufacturing workforce.
So, how can the global ASCM community engage, promote and retain women in supply chain? First, today is the final day to complete your application for the brand new ASCM Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Taskforce. This will be a platform to increase the awareness and importance of D&I at every level of supply chain. I encourage you to add your voice to this essential initiative.
The Women in Supply Chain Forum at ASCM 2019 later this year in Las Vegas is another exciting opportunity. Supply chain diversity trailblazers will share their unique perspectives on workforce and leadership trends, as well as the future of the field. I hope you will join us for this inspiring panel discussion. The forum is open to all, and we at ASCM truly value the participation of everyone who supports the continuing advancement of women in the field. Visit ascmconference.org to learn more and register today.