Top 10 signs you’ve been working in supply chain too long

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Boomers, millennial leadership and supply chain management jokes. Is it time for the older generation to move on?

It’s no secret supply chain talent has been top of mind for many executives for some time. Research firm Gartner even has it listed as a hot topic for its Supply Chain Executive Conference in Phoenix, May 14–17. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is the aging population. A number of reports from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Pew Research Center state 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day. It’s easy to speculate there would be some supply chain talent retiring. The question is: How do you replace the knowledge gap created by those retirements? Secondly, there are more millennials entering the supply chain workforce. While millennials are often given a bad rap for being hypersensitive, they certainly bring another level of leadership to supply chain management. Is it time for boomers to make way for millennial leadership? If you have any doubts, check out this list of the top 10 signs you’ve been in supply chain too long.

Top 10 signs you’ve been in supply chain too long:

  1. The mission statement at your first inventory management job was, “If they can build it, we can store it.”
  2. When you first started your career, your supply chain started at the front door and ended at the back door.
  3. You know all your planners’ names… and the names of their children… and grandchildren.
  4. The early days of capacity planning consisted of calling Joe in operations to see if his team could produce a few more units.
  5. The young gun on your planning team only has 15 years of experience.
  6. Your first mentor was Henry Ford.
  7. Globalization used to mean ordering Chinese for the office lunch.
  8. When you asked your demand planner about the forecast, he or she would give you the chance of rain.
  9. You have a new boss—a millennial—who also happens to be best friends with your children.
  10. You don’t find this or any other supply chain top 10 list amusing.

Supply chain management jokes aside, we hope to see all supply chain millennials and millennials-at-heart at the Kinaxis booth at the Gartner Executive Supply Chain Conference. Stop by and say hello!


Stuart Rosenberg
- April 08, 2018 at 6:03am
I am a 'late' baby boomer. While I enjoy a good laugh, even at my own expense, I have been in supply chain for a long time. This would not have happened if I constantly did not update my education with the latest proccesses, methodologies and other tools. Presently I teach modern supply chain at two colleges and have just published a book on the modern supply chain and it's impact on businesses. So much for being long in the tooth in supply chain.

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