Live Coverage from ISM 2019: Digitizing the Human Touch

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The Institute for Supply Management’s premier annual conference, ISM 2019, has kicked off in Houston with informational Q&As and breakout sessions. With a number of Spend Matters team members on the ground at the event, we’re pleased to bring you the opening dispatch tonight.

One highlight among the sessions so far has been Charlotte de Brabandt’s presentation Digitizing the Human Touch: Transforming Talent and Impact of Young Professionals. A Swiss native, Charlotte is the event’s Technology and Negotiation keynote speaker and winner of the 2018 Rising Supply Chain Star Megawatt Award.

At the crux of her talk were the major changes affecting the market nowadays. These disruptors will come as no surprise to those who follow the industry: mobile, changing demographics, contingent workforce/gig economy, contract labor, customer-demanded corporate responsibility and sustainability, etc. It’s the internet of things. By 2020, 22% of all global vehicles will be connected to the internet and by 2024, half of our homes will be connected to the internet as well.

Naturally, this has a profound impact on the modern supply chain.

When you think of digital disruption, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Whether it’s intelligent systems or humanoid robots, digital transformation is all around us. New tech opens up new frontiers and enables faster business decision-making. The pace of automation is rapidly increasing and it all comes down to intelligent systems impacting how we source and procure.

There are many factors to acknowledge, but one that stands out is the provisional workforce. Charlotte shared that millennials are expected to change jobs 25 times in their lives — that is eye-opening even to your millennial author. The new contingent workforce will impact two billion jobs, about 32 million in the United States alone.

The challenge for the Generation Xers in leadership roles? Retaining millennials and Gen Z in the workforce.

It’s about several things:

  • Flexibility. Move from the 9-5 mentality to greater workplace flexibility. Encourage it. It’s not about face-time anymore but about being able to trust each other and communicate over tech devices.
  • Clarity. Be clear in your messaging, expectations and feedback. Offer more guidelines — a process does not suffice. Don’t expect them to read the whole playbook either.
  • Being Instant. Offer advice and feedback immediately, on a daily basis if necessary.
  • Leading vs. Managing. They need to learn from you, what the company is striving for and how they can contribute – in an authentic way. Adopt flexibility while embracing clarity and a sharing mindset.

Stay tuned for more coverage from ISM2019. In the meantime, check out our hot-off-the-press lists of "50 Providers to Know" and "50 Providers to Watch" for 2019.

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