One thing is clear: Distributors are suffering from a talent gap. In ID’s “2015 Survey of Distributor Operations,” nearly one-third of distributor respondents told us that “finding more qualified people” was currently a primary concern.
According to a recent report by PwC, Millennials make up 25 percent of the workforce in the U.S., and should account for 50 percent as soon as 2020. With this in mind, whether or not businesses have the Millennial set in their crosshairs is irrelevant; they’re truly the future of any business.
The term Millennials generally refers to the generation of people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s.
“In their 2007 book, authors Junco and Mastrodicasa expanded on the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe to include research-based information about the personality profiles of Millennials, especially as it relates to higher education. They conducted a large-sample (7,705) research study of college students. They found that Next Generation college students, born between 1983–1992, …… they used technology at higher rates than people from other generations. In their survey, they found that 97% of these students owned a computer, 94% owned a mobile phone, and 56% owned an MP3 player.
Other findings in the Junco and Mastrodicasa survey revealed 76% of students used instant messaging, 92% of those reported multitasking while instant messaging, 40% of them used television to get most of their news, and 34% of students surveyed used the Internet as their primary news source.”
Millennials are identified as “digital natives” by the Pew Research Center which conducted a survey titled Millennials in Adulthood.
Is it any surprise that with the labor market changing so drastically distributors will have no choice but to do the same with their software?
Consider a millennial:
- Has never seen a TV tube
- Has never seen a dial channel changer – let alone gotten up to change the channel
- Has never seen a rabbit ears antenna
- Cars have always been fuel injected
- The Internet has always existed
- Cannot fathom a market without eCommerce
- Social media is how you stay in touch
- And so much more….
I am feeling dated right now so I will move on.
Since by the year 2020, a mere 4 years from now, 50% of the workforce will consist of Millennials. Companies will have no choice but to move forward with new software systems in order to attract but also to ensure they keep up with other companies as they change due to their hiring of the new workforce.
Millennials will not be interested in working with outdated technologically or legacy software systems. Consider the results of a job interview with a highly touted and sought after candidate. You are competing with a Modern Distributor but you have not updated your software for over 15 years. How do you think a candidate would rate this opportunity? If the candidate has more than one opportunity and you are technologically outdated – no ecommerce, no social media, outdated web site, old software systems – which offer will the candidate be most likely to accept?
This does not only apply to IT candidates. This applies to all applicants/candidates. Imagine having to manually manage a global supply chain, reviewing customer orders manually to ensure correct pricing, prepare thousands of vendor support invoices and not have the matching information automated, and much more.
You cannot count on finding and hiring the most attractive candidates based on luck or persistence. Millennials will do their homework and learn all there is to learn about your company. They will be interviewing you and will base their decision on their preference.
- Home grown software systems will not interest them.
- Highly modified 15-year-old technology systems will not interest them.
- Companies that are not digital will not interest them.
How will millennials change your company?
When you hire Millennials they will change your company in ways you may or may not have intended to. They will make you digital, they will require new technology, they will require technical/digital collaboration with vendors and customers but even more so internal digital and immediate communication within the company itself.
Work flow to advise of next steps, Twitter accounts for forwarding of breaking and important news, social media for advertising and so much more.
Millennials will bring the digital revolution to you. To a Millennial the term digital revolution has no meaning as for them this is a way of life (born into it) and therefore not a revolution. They will make this a way of life for your company as well.
Understand that you have no choice!
You will retire and the Millennials will replace you. With them comes technology and new technical methods that will be used to manage your business.
Enjoy the ride as it will be exciting!
Dominic Telaro CFPIM, CIRM
Vice President Industry Solutions, SBS Group
Dominic Telaro brings over 35 years of Manufacturing, Distribution, Software and Consulting experience. Half of his professional career has been in Manufacturing and Distribution from shop floor and warehousing positions to management. During this time he implemented ERP, DRP and Logistics solutions as internal Project Leader. The second half of his career has been in consulting, product management, product development and both consulting and software sales. He has held positions as VP Of Industry Solutions, VP of Product Development, VP of Sales and Marketing and Global Practice Leader for companies like IBIS Inc., IBM, Janis Group, Metamor, Marcam Corp. and more. Presently he is responsible for Industry Product Vision for multiple ERP solutions at SBS Group USA.
APICS Fellow and Certified in Integrated Resource Management, Instructor at Universite de Montreal, Vanier College and Granby CEGEP for APICS certification; Lead instructor for internal APICS training at Bell Helicopter, Avon, Le Groupe Hamelin