Will Quinn, director of industry solutions and strategy at Infor, outlines the technology needed to deal with the labor shortage and other issues faced by distributors.
Every day, more and more baby boomers retire, and there simply aren’t enough people in succeeding generations to replace them, Quinn says. “By 2025,” he says, more than 60% of the workforce is going to be composed of Millennials and Gen Xers.”
The difficulty recruiting and retaining workers, whether skilled or not, is expected to continue. But that shortage is hardly the only challenge that distributors face. To combat competitiveness from whatever source, distributors need to make their relationship with their customers “sticky,” Quinn says. “They can do that by providing value-added services, things like vendor-managed inventory. And having the expertise — being the experts in the particular items they're providing, that they’re selling, also helps make that relationship sticky.”
Moving to the cloud helps enormously, Quinn says. “It really opens up possibilities that you can't do efficiently and effectively with on-premise solutions. So with the cloud, you can take all of your disparate solutions and move all of the data into a data lake. That allows you to utilize emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to make your operations more efficient and effective.”
Quinn cautions that every industry vertical has its own special needs and requirements. Solutions that managers implement should have industry best practices built into them that are specific to the company’s operations. “That gives you a faster time to value,” Quinn says.
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