Millennials are changing the workforce. Is your technology ready?


At ProMat 2019, Ryan Zelnis, principal consultant at Blue Horseshoe, presented How Cutting-Edge Technology Appeals to an Increasingly Younger Workforce. 

His presentation shared key points about who Millennials are, why they are important to the supply chain industry, and how to attract and retain Millennial talent.


Understanding Millennials

Millennials are a highly connected, technologically savvy, and socially motivated generation. As of 2016, they represent the largest generation in the workforce. They are attracted to flexible, innovative companies that use technology to speed up processes and eliminate outdated practices.

90% of Millennials cite connection and community as their greatest need in the workplace. When these needs are not met, Millennials tend to bounce to a new company within 3 years.

Replacing these individuals is costing up to $25,000 per hire. So how do you attract and retain Millennials?

Millennials in the Workplace

Millennials are driving change in the workforce. They grew up with devices in their hands and they know how to use technology efficiently.

In the distribution center, your company may always perform a process a certain way, but Millennial workers want to explore how to use technology to make the process faster and potentially more accurate.

Daily interaction with smartphones, social media, Amazon, video games, drones, and robots keeps Millennials connected with one another. Some may consider Millennials lazy, but the truth is, they like to work smarter, not harder. Technology has evolved to make our everyday lives easier and the same goes for supply chain.

How Does this Effect Supply Chain?

Leading manufacturers are taking notice that Millennials are looking for attractive, cutting-edge tech positions. This challenges warehouse and distribution facilities to recruit top technology talent to work on systems that may seem ordinary when many are looking to work on the hottest apps and video games.

How does the warehouse and distribution center compete to win top talent? By leveraging the mindset that Millennials bring into the industry, you see how robotics and automation makes a difference in your Supply Chain. New technology improves both your processes and the amount of top talent applying to work for your company.

Here’s an example in action at an organization that turned to Blue Horseshoe to help implement new sortation technology.

Before implementing new technology, the picking and shipping processes had a significant amount of touch points. Processes such as picking, order consolidation, and quality assurance were all being done manually.

After evaluating the supply chain processes, Blue Horseshoe concluded that automation equipment, such as LED indicators and order consolidation robots, would be an ideal solution. While the primary goal of this implementation was to increase the efficiency and accuracy of the sorting process, it also had unexpected, positive results.

An intern, studying industrial technology at his local university, was part of the project team. He was able to experience the manual processes of the 20-year-old environment and the transition into the highly automated, robotic new environment. This type of solution greatly appealed to the intern. It opened his eyes to the possibilities that could be achieved when technology is implemented into the supply. Upon graduation, he the intern chose to work in the supply chain industry over the other places he had interned with.

The Future

As demand grows for skilled supply chain talent with degrees in industrial technology, robotics, supply chain, and more, these highly-advanced environments create a familiar feel for Millennials in the workplace. Technology is the difference between top talent choosing your company versus someone else. With automation and technology rapidly advancing, you need Millennials with tech experience to operate your business.

 Have questions about your supply chain and workforce? Contact us. 

Ryan Zelnis guides businesses through process evaluations, implementations, and the future. As a Supply Chain Strategy Consulting Manager at Blue Horseshoe, Ryan leverages industry best practices and the latest trends in automation and technology to guide clients through process improvement, facility design, material handling equipment selection, and implementations.

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