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ProMat panel addresses challenging perceptions of an industry in transition

By Josh Bond, Contributing Editor
January 24, 2013

Wednesday’s” title=“ProMat”>ProMat keynote was all about perceptions. Are mentors necessarily older and more experienced? Is a collection of expensive luggage more valuable than a backpack? Was there ever a recession in the last five years?

Titled “The Future of Material Handling, Logistics and Supply Chain,” the keynote began with a presentation from Edie Weiner, president of futurist consulting firm Weiner, Edrich, Brown. She challenged the audience to take business advice directly from 15-year-olds, consider employing those older than 60 and younger than 25, and be prepared for “exponential, exponential change.”

“I did not repeat that word by accident,” said Weiner. “Change is not the whole story. It’s the speed of that change.”

Weiner warned of what she calls “educated incapacity,” the tendency for professionals to remember when they might do better to forget. When new events test old frameworks, it is often best to embrace the new, said Weiner. In addition to 3D printing, nanotechnology, cyber security and augmented reality, Weiner said the future would include an emphasis on learning instead of education.

“There was never a recession, there isn’t any double-dip, and there’s no recovery,” said Weiner. “What happened was a fundamental global economic transformation.” As with the agricultural, industrial, and technological revolutions, the duration of time between these disruptive events decreases exponentially.

Weiner was then joined by a panel consisting of George Prest, CEO of MHI; Rick Blasgen, president and CEO of CSCMP, Michael Mikitka, CEO of WERC, and Liz Richards, VP of MHEDA. The panel discussed ongoing shifts in “the industry hidden in plain sight,” including the integration of soft and hard metrics, the Internet of things, and the proximity of food production to population centers.

About the Author

Josh Bond
Contributing Editor

Josh Bond is a contributing editor to Modern. In addition to working on Modern’s annual Casebook and being a member of the Show Daily team, Josh covers lift trucks for the magazine.

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