Intersection of Talent and Technology

“Workforce challenges cannot be solved without building and maintaining a culture of innovation and technology within your organization. Talent and technology are fundamentally linked together in the success of future supply chains.”

George Prest, CEO of Material Handling Institute (MHI)

This quote encompasses how workers and technology go hand-in-hand in promoting company success rather than one serving as a replacement for the other. Companies are more rapidly embracing technology and digital innovation, but quality talent is crucial for leveraging the benefit that comes from these innovations.

As companies advance towards a digital supply chain model, they have experienced some worker shortages and skills gaps. A 2020 survey by MHI of manufacturing and supply chain professionals reveals the top challenges companies face in the figure below. The biggest challenge was hiring and retaining qualified workers, which 56% of respondents rated it as extremely or very challenging. This is because there is high competition for talent among organizations. Additionally, these organization need to offer adequate compensation and work-life balance through flexibility.


In regard to technology, manufacturing and supply chains are experiencing significant growth in this area. This increased adoption of technology allows for an influx of data – which is highly valuable. The data companies gather gives them further insight into core operations and workforce efficiency which they can then analyze to determine means for improvement. Examples include identifying how costs can be reduced, analyzing indicators of high performing workers, and using real-time data to make actionable decisions. Some key technology and digital trends which enable this and are in-use today as well as projected to grow considerably over the next five years are shown in the following chart.

 In-Use TodayProjected 5 Year Adoption Rate
Cloud Computing & Storage59%90%
Artificial Intelligence12%60%
Predictive Analytics28%82%
Internet of Things26%75%


Companies recognize the importance of digitizing, but they must also plan steps towards taking advantage of what these innovations have to offer. The figure below highlights some of the actions companies are taking to embrace technology as part of their core business.

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