Conference Updates

BARCELONA, Spain, June 6, 2023

Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo EMEA: Day 2 Summary

We are bringing you news and announcements from the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo in Barcelona, Spain. Below is a collection of key announcements and insights coming out of the conference.

On Day 2 of the conference we are highlighting sessions on how logistics leaders can make use of smart robots, why DEI efforts are complementary to a broader people management strategy and how to select winning products for the circular economy. 

Key Announcements

Intralogistics Smart Robots: What’s Your Flavor of the Day?

Presented by Dwight Klappich, VP Analyst, Gartner

With 96% of companies planning to or already using robotics in their operations, ubiquitous cyber-physical automation is not a matter of “if,” but “when” and “what kind?” In this session, Dwight Klappich, VP Analyst with Gartner, charted the coming exponential growth in intralogistics smart robot deployments and demystified the key criteria for logistics leaders in selecting the right types of robotics from dozens of different categories and use cases.

Key Takeaways

  • “The two greatest obstacles to achieving organizations’ supply chain objectives are labor and controlling costs; a lack of labor availability is the key motivator for initiating or expanding intralogistics smart robot fleets.” 

  • “Intralogistics smart robots are the class of smart robots that orchestrate and perform work within the four walls of a site and can be mobile or stationary, operating autonomously or collaboratively with humans or other robots.”

  • “By 2026, 75% of large enterprises will have adopted some form of intralogistics smart robots in their warehouse operations.” 

  • “Gartner is tracking around 34 different categories and subcategories of intralogistics robots. However, there are six categories most important to know from a logistics perspective: Transport, Collaborative Picking, Goods-to-Person, Sortation, Robotic Picking and Engineered Robotic Systems.” 

  • “Categories such as collaborative picking and mobile goods-to-person robotics highlight how robotics will complement and augment human work, not replace it.” 


How DEI is The Secret Sauce in Your Supply Chain People Strategy

Presented by Dana Stiffler, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) objectives are increasingly supportive of a broad and effective overall people management strategy. In this session, Dana Stiffler, Distinguished VP Analyst with Gartner, shared the three main ingredients that make DEI the secret sauce of a good supply chain people management strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • “To achieve DEI objectives and build a solid people strategy, focus on three complementary elements: hybrid work, ensuring accountability, and emphasizing communication.” 

  • “Hybrid work arrangements are an opportunity to advance DEI objectives: borderless hiring practices can improve diversity, equitable work arrangements improve visibility and reduce biases, while focusing extra engagement efforts on remote workers helps ensure an inclusive environment.” 

  • “Human-centric hybrid work design improves both DEI and overall employee well-being; 94% of all employees want more flexible work arrangements.” 

  • “Supply Chain has a DEI “do/say gap” characterized by lofty ambitions that are not always matched with concrete plans; only 27% of supply chain organizations have formal goals on management scorecards.” 

  • “Involve more leaders in designing DEI aiming points, encourage peer-to-peer transparency and elevate DEI outcomes to the same level as other business objectives.”

Strategies to Select Winning Products for the Circular Economy

Presented by Sarah Watt, VP Analyst, Gartner 

Applying conventional supply chain wisdom, which relies on linear thinking, has been counterproductive in circular ecosystems. In this session, Sarah Watt, VP Analyst with Gartner, shared three mental models for leaders to shift their thinking on to find success in the circular economy. 

Key Takeaways

  • “76% of leaders expect circular economy practices to drive an increase in profitability between now and 2025.” 

  • “When assessing potential products for the circular economy, supply chain leaders need to challenge three mental models. First, they need to challenge the perception of value, second they need to address concerns around cannibalization of market share, and third they need to proactively manage circular product environmental impact.” 

  • “Circular product strategies can enable benefits such as: increasing customer loyalty and enhancing raw materials security.” 

  • “Clarity is needed around channels, markets, and consumers that circular products will be sold to. If this activity is undertaken poorly, there is a real risk that circular products will cannibalize market share.” 

  • “Supply chain leaders need to proactively minimize environmental impacts arising from circular product and material flows.” 

  • “52% of leaders have already realized a reduction of negative environmental impacts from applying circular economy practices today.”

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