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Their top core competencies include:

  • Workforce of tomorrow
  • Planning and optimization
  • Collaboration
  • E-commerce
  • Infrastructure
  • Technology and automation
  • Sustainability
  • Supply chain visibility
  • Risk management
  • High-speed fulfillment

Copyright © 2015 | RESOURCE Supply Chain Solutions, Inc.   

California’s  Inland Empire takes first step in developing local Supply Chain Roadmap

Inspired by the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics’ view of the disruptors contributing to the unbridled pace of changes impacting  supply chains—and by the core competencies that businesses must develop in order to adapt and thrive through the ensuing turbulence—several regions have launched local Roadmap initiatives.

Among them is California’s Inland Empire. Located in the southern part of the state and due east of the Los Angeles metro area (encompassing Riverside and San Bernadino counties), the 4,850-square-mile area is a critical national supply chain hub. Thanks to its proximity to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which receive 40% of all U.S. cargo container imports, nearly 75% of the goods arriving via those ports subsequently pass through Inland Empire distribution centers (DCs) before routing to destinations throughout the west and Midwest. Because of the area’s importance to the U.S. supply chain, the region’s local organization of logistics and supply chain professionals—the Distribution Management Association (DMA)—gathered 14 key players to begin the process of building out a local Roadmap to 2025. The group met in late April at Target’s 1.6 million square foot DC in the area.

Facilitating the gathering were DMA members Steve Harrington, Industry Liaison for the National Center for Supply Chain Technology Education, and Carlos Vega, President of RESOURCE Supply Chain Solutions, Inc. Together, the two invited a variety of material handling and logistics practitioners, suppliers, government, associations and academics to the meeting (the same groups represented in the national Roadmap’s community of thought leaders). Attendees included people from Southwest Material Handling, the APICS Inland Empire Chapter, the Riverside County Workforce Development Center, the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, McLane Foodservice and FuturePorts.

“The session kicked off with an overview of the U.S. Roadmap, including the top ten disruptors and ten core competencies,” recalls Harrington. “We then broke up into two groups, making sure that at least one representative from each community—academics, government and so on—was in each.” The two groups debated the U.S. Roadmap’s disruptors and core competencies, as well as their degrees of relevance to the Inland Empire’s logistics landscape. One common theme that resonated with the group was the challenges associated with attracting, training and retaining a skilled workforce to the region. “The importance of people and the shortage of the talent pool in every arena rose to the top of both of our lists,” he says. What’s interesting, says Vega, is that many of the Inland Empire’s disruptors and core competencies are the same. “The elements that give our area its greatest potential for success also represent some of our greatest challenges,” he notes.

After an afternoon of deliberation, the group’s key disruptors were:

  • Changing workforce

  • Sustainability

  • E-commerce

  • Robotics and automation

  • Big data

  • Government regulations

  • Security

  • Infrastructure

  • Relentless competition

  • Urbanization

“Our location’s proximity to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the rail and highway infrastructure which connects this region to the rest of the U.S., and the jobs our industry creates are all tremendous assets,” Vega explains. “But the supply chain industry continues to be challenged by the longshoreman strikes and government regulations, as well as a lack of understanding about the contributions the industry provides to the local economy.”

For those reasons, says Vega, it’s critical for all the parties to work together to identify the challenges and build a game plan to expand opportunities for the region. To that end, a larger  gathering is planned for the fall to revisit those lists and solicit additional data to form the basis of an initial draft of the Inland Empire Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics, says Harrington.