The year 2007 has already gone down in history as a watershed. That year saw the birth of a visually simple yet dizzyingly complex device that is now an ever-present part of the daily lives of most every human on this planet.
When Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at the MacWorld conference on January 9, 2007, he unveiled a device that, among other things, functioned as a telephone, a music player, a video streaming screen, and a personal computer (more or less), all in one tidy little handset. When it officially went on sale in June of that year, the iPhone quickly became deeply engrained in our business and social culture.
In the 10 years that have followed that historic launch, a steady stream of new and disruptive technologies has emerged and gained traction, not just in consumer markets, but also in logistics and supply chain. From artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, and autonomous vehicles, to robotics, "big data" capture and analysis, and the Internet of Things (IoT), the pace at which these breakthroughs have come at us has been dizzying. And yet, we have just scratched the surface in terms of what kinds of new business tools will be available to us.
In my Q1 column in CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly, I suggested that 2017 would be "the year of living disruptively." After a decade of hearing about how new technologies will disrupt our businesses (hopefully in a positive and profitable way) in the future, the future has arrived, and we are now adopting those technologies at a previously unimaginable pace.
Appropriately, the Q1 issue focused on technology and innovation. The feature articles offered some intriguing looks at how to embrace, adopt, and thrive by using these and other new technologies. That edition, in fact, exemplifies The Quarterly's role and mission. Like the iPhone, it was launched in 2007. And, like the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the association this publication serves, its mission is to provide a platform for supply chain thought leaders and subject-matter experts to share their knowledge, ideas, and innovations with CSCMP members as well as thousands of other supply chain and logistics executives around the world.
Both the association and its magazine speak to the criticality of ongoing education and professional development. While it has always been important to be a lifelong learner, the onrushing development and adoption of new and disruptive technologies means that for logistics and supply chain professionals, it is more important than ever before—and that importance will only grow in the future.