Thought Leadership

Supply chain, sustainability, and workforce drive 2023 disruption

By Conor Peick

The industries of the world face a year of uncertainty and potential in 2023, encapsulated in three major trends: supply chain disruption, sustainability, and workforce turnover. Today, however, digitalization offers a natural foundation on which companies can embrace some of the most exciting technologies available: additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), cloud and service-based software and the industrial metaverse. Each of these technologies has benefits and capabilities that can help companies develop solutions to the challenges of supply chain disruption, sustainability, and changes in the workforce. With new solutions, companies can overcome the challenges of 2023 to grasp the opportunities that exist. In this blog, I will briefly summarize some thoughts and expectations I have for 2023.

Disruptions cause supply chain uncertainty

Despite the growing complexity and breadth of supply chains around the world, many companies continue to rely on relatively simple means of tracking and managing these processes. One of the key deficiencies of today’s most common solutions for supply chain management is an inability to provide context or situational awareness across an entire supply chain. A comprehensive supply chain digital twin hosted in the industrial metaverse can be used to create intuitive visualizations that are easier to digest than numbers in a table or points on a chart. The industrial metaverse enables companies to harness the power of large-scale computing and in-depth visualizations to analyze and interrogate the digital twin and provide business leaders with a higher level of situational awareness on a global scale, dependent on the availability of huge amounts of data.

The industrial metaverse can create intuitive information displays that can help business leaders gain a more complete understanding of complex global supply chains.

Technology enables new sustainability solutions

By adopting advanced digitalization technologies, companies can facilitate the analysis and characterization of current practices and improve their ability to develop sustainable solutions. These sustainability programs can benefit greatly from the power of AI and ML. For example, an AI/ML engine can help automate the aggregation of all the information a company needs to generate collective intelligence without over-taxing employees with tedious information retrieval. This collective intelligence will then help a company make objective assessments about their sustainability performance and create solutions to address deficiencies.

Digital solutions aid workforce development

Finally, many companies will be managing a transition in their workforce as 2023 will see a continuance of recent trends in the employment market. The most experienced employees at many companies are reaching retirement, taking with them valuable knowledge and experience that, unless captured, will be lost. Simultaneously, there is a shift in demand toward employees with skills in advanced software and electronics, driven by the changing nature of products. This is creating a skills gap in many industries.

Addressing this dynamic workforce market will require a nuanced approach. Simply investing in the digitalization of processes without intention or strategy risks leaving employees behind. It will be important for companies to strike a balance between modernizing for the sake of attracting new talent and not alienating current employees. Technology that is intuitive and easy to learn will help both new and current employees come up to speed more quickly.

Digitalization overcomes uncertainty in 2023

Supply chain disruptions, a continued push for sustainable innovation, and a changing workforce are three trends that will continue to cause disruption in 2023. Yet, modern digital technologies can help companies to foster collaboration, gather and leverage data, and explore innovative solutions while saving time and money. With the benefits facilitated by these powerful tools, companies in all industries will be ready to seize the opportunities of tomorrow.

You can read more of my thoughts on the ways that new technologies will help companies overcome the challenges of 2023 in an article recently published on Digital Engineering.

Siemens Xcelerator, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software and services from Siemens Digital Industries Software, helps companies of all sizes create and leverage a comprehensive digital twin that provides organizations with new insights, opportunities and levels of automation to drive innovation.

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