Supply chain consultancy SCALA hosted its 10th annual debate last night as industry experts discussed the issues shaping the industry over the next decade.
The debate, held in Forest Arden, Warwickshire, saw delegates from Toyota, Waitrose and PepsiCo in attendance to discuss the future of the supply chain and logistics sectors with a series of speeches and audience interaction.
Working around a debate topic of “What will be the most significant development in Supply Chain & Logistics in the next ten years?”, issues ranging from skills shortages, changing consumer habits and advances in technology were discussed.
10 speeches were given from sectors including food & drink, cement and logistics companies all discussing issues faced by their companies with supply chains in the UK.
Delegates were allowed to have their say by voting on topics at the end of discussions, producing a mix of both close and emphatically one sided results.
One of the more eye opening results was the audience voting that soft skills (76%) will override technological changes (24%) in shaping supply chains
David Howorth, logistics director at General Mills, the world’s sixth largest food manufacturer, quoted Sainsbury CEO Justin King’s on the importance of values as well as value to the consumer.
Speaking to delegates, Mr Howorth said: “While there is a fixation on value in consumer behaviour, values are also critical in this day and age.”
The issue of skills shortages also displayed an industry consensus of the need to attract young talent, with Chris Clowes, logistics manager of Costa Enterprises, stating the need to “take the grey hair” out of logistics and make it a more accessible career path.
Since forming in 2001, SCALA has provided expertise in supply chain and logistics consulting for companies including Cadbury, DHL and Arco.
Italso announced its intention to set up in China by next year, where it plans to provide training and development across businesses and universities.