The Director of the Master in Supply Chain Management, Miquel Serracanta, recently took part in the 2019 Community Leadership Summit of the CSCMP, a global conference of the Roundtable Management teams and Presidents, held each year in the USA.
You recently took part in the global conference of Roundtable Management teams and Presidents at the Community Leadership Summit of the CSCMP. What were the most interesting conclusions of the 2019 edition?
The fundamental conclusion has been that we need to develop talent in the Supply Chain to be able to tackle the immediate technological challenges posed by the emergence of Artificial Intelligence in many forms in the Supply Chain (driverless vehicles, robots, etc.). Secondly, I would highlight the role that this global association (CSCMP) of interconnected professionals plays in the latest trends and our access to the best practices, benchmarking and future research. The third and final aspect I would mention is the way that globalization has eliminated all borders, which requires the maximum capacity to consider the world as a single scenario.
You were on a discussion panel entitled “Powering Your Supply Chain Network”. What contributions did you make the forum?
This was the first time I have participated in a local event organized by a North American Roundtable (Chapter) of the CSCMP, specifically the San Francisco Silicon Valley chapter, alongside Terri Griffith, an acclaimed local expert in the field of network management and the impact of human interaction in supply chains. My contributions focused on the critical need for excellent professional networking management, both at an individual and company level, to ensure the supply chain is efficient in terms of the service and cost to the customers/consumers.
The CSCMP is one of EAE’s Partners on Supply Chain programs. What benefits and advantages do EAE students get from this partnership?
The students on EAE’s Masters directly receive an annual student membership, which gives them 12 months’ access to top-level educational contents, both in terms of virtual learning and attendance at local events in Spain and other countries around the world, with preferential conditions. Moreover, it gives them the option to set the examination for SCPRO Level 1 certification in English from the CSCMP, which accredits professionals who register for and successfully gain Supply Chain certification, with an additional, globally, recognized qualification from the association.
You also visited an AMAZON GO store and the Apple Campus in Cupertino. What surprised you most?
The visit to the Amazon Go store in downtown San Francisco was my first ever experience in a physical store in which you go into like you were boarding an aeroplane, scanning a QR code at the entrance. You go around the store, looking at the products (in this case, a small supermarket with food and basic items), pick up whatever you want and carry it out of the door in your hand or in a bag, without having to show any person, camera or scanner. When you leave, the application itself sends a receipt for the items you have bought and paid for with your card. It is really spectacular in terms of speed and comfort for the customer. It is incredible to see for yourself in situ how the technology now available means that the future of retail is already here.
You also took part in the Silicon Valley Executive Summit. Tell us about the experiences or lessons you acquired there.
This event brought together dozens of executives from Silicon Valley interested in innovation and transformation associated with new technologies, covering topics as interesting as the continuous evolution of robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, driverless vehicles and the joint impact of all these aspects on the new needs for human talent, as well as more sensitive issues, such as personal data protection and use. The most surprising thing was to see for myself the evolution that is taking place in robotics, which enable the robots themselves to learn gradually on their own. This means that, in the very near future, the human race will have to decide how best to control these machines and the potential impact of the use of these technologies, which are able to learn and self-improve by themselves.
How does Spain rank in this respect, compared to other countries?
The two superpowers at a technological level, in terms of both quality and quantity, the USA & China, compete against each other for global leadership in all areas and innovation is a fundamental feature of their strategies for the future. Other Asian and European countries are onlookers to this constant battle. Spain forms part of the large competitive block of the EU-28, within which it continues learning in order to jump on the innovation bandwagon. The global world is highly competitive and demanding. Unfortunately, at the moment, Spain has lots of internal problems that prevent it from focusing on improving its external competitive position as it needs to do.
What are the future challenges in the field of Supply Chain? And in the short term?
In my opinion, there are basically three future challenges for global supply chains: firstly, human interaction with artificial intelligence and determining each of their roles; secondly, synchronizing improvements in all the global operation processes to achieve permanent efficiency and sustainability in the use of the planet’s resources; and thirdly, finding the right design for education in the future, so that it enables our transition to these new scenarios with a certain guarantee of success.
In the shorter term, the critical challenge to tackle immediately is improving the education (training, learning and coaching) of the incremental talent required in all companies and public authorities in order to confidently tackle the large current challenges in relation to global supply chains, which have an impact both in terms of the planet’s sustainability and the way of life that we are used to.
What professional opportunities are there for EAE students in relation to the Supply Chain?
In my opinion, all of them. Their future is really bright, as the market need more talent in Supply Chain and professionals equipped to transform global supply chains. There are loads of opportunities for all of them in lots of sectors in every country. They can take advantage of this time to contribute their individual commitment and the competences they have acquired to jointly tackle the exciting challenges that lay ahead in the immediate future.
Miquel Serracanta will go back to the United States at the end of the summer to take part in the CSCMP Annual Conference to be held in Anaheim, California.