Industrial Strength Supply Chains and Millennials

I’ve attended a lot of presentations and webinars that talk about what Millennials value, how they want to be treated, and what they want to achieve. What I’ve come away is that, with a couple of exceptions, they are no different than any other generation’s 20-35 year olds. We all wanted to change the world, we all wish we had mentors, we all had career aspirations.

So what is different? In a bit, you’ll get to tell me specifically where there is disconnect between Millennial performance and your corporate needs, but below is my insight that’s contrary to what I usually read and hear about Millennials.

They want to see rapid ROI on their investments of time and money. If they don’t get it where they are currently at, they don’t have to have one-on-one sessions at the water cooler to state their dissatisfaction, they announce their displeasure on SM for instant broadcast. By reading what their opinions are, and separating the wheat from the chaff – just like had to be done with water cooler talk – you can get great insight into your company from a different point of view – probably one many of your customer’s share. Look for the systemic problems underlying what is being said.

If a company is not furthering Millennials’ careers and networks in a way that benefits them, they leave more quickly than we used to. This doesn’t mean they want to be VP’s next Friday. It does mean they need to see progress.

Why should they stay around in a job that doesn’t make ends meet and doesn’t provide them with a viable, meaningful career path?

Millennials are often saddled with very huge debts and often very small wages. Other generations were told be glad you have a job. Parents taught Millennials that they add value and should be treated as such.

Remember, they still have those huge debts to pay.

By the way, wasn’t job hopping the “in” way for their parents to advance their careers not so long ago?

So what does this have to do with Supply Chain?

What executive doesn’t value rapid ROI? Millennials calculate it in terms of meaningful value. Meaningful value includes money but isn’t driven by it. ROI is second nature to them; they talk and evaluate things using the terminology and methodology. How many other generations had to be taught these lessons later in their careers?

They understand their value.

Is it the full value of a highly experienced industry veteran? No, but they want to develop into that.

Is it a bit over inflated at times? Yes, but so was ours. We often see today’s college graduates in entry level, brainless jobs. Is that a job that fits their value?

Can they save the world staying in these positions? No, so they move to advance their careers and add meaningful value. What executive doesn’t want people who have spent time moving throughout the business/industry viewing evaluating corporate cultures based on the value they bring to consumers and employees?

By the way, use your Millennials as an early warning. If you can’t seem to keep them employed, you need to take a look your company culture because Millennials can be the early warning that more of your employees are thinking about leaving – they just have more to hold them back – like mortgages.

Does this mean Millennials are perfect? No. In some instances they are beginners looking for a chance to excel, contribute, and have a supporting culture to do it in. In other instances they are in early management positions looking for mentoring so they can excel, contribute, and be part of a supporting culture.

How far are the Millennials in your supply chain from where you need them to be in your company?

I’m asking for your insights. Tell me specifically what disconnects exist in your company:

  • What part of supply chain, processes, concepts, methodologies, interpersonal interactions, and even corporate politics they don’t know, understand, have experience in, aren’t able to manage effectively, etc.

I want to help, but I need your insight on this 1 question survey:

If you are or know supply chain Millennials, have them share their insights on this subject at:

I’ll be comparing the results and working your solution set.

Key words and concepts: Millennials, supply chain, ROI, value, culture, survey, Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky, Process & Strategy Solutions

About the author: Cynthia Kalina-Kaminsky with Process & Strategy consults with and provides training for organizations eager to increase their competitive value by helping enable growth, align performance, make and move product (even when the product is a serving of electrons). She has been invited to teach SCOR (Supply Chain Operations Reference model) in Baton Rouge this October. SCOR is the framework Fortune 500 companies use to increase their agility.


Comments are closed.