How do millennials impact the supply chain?

Society is always changing. New styles, slang, trends and laws come with each generation. This doesn't only apply to popular culture. As each age group enters the working world, fresh ideas accompany it. The younger crowd comes in with new expectations, goals and lifestyles, and this changes the way the workplace operates. Millennials just may have the largest impact on the supply chain compared to previous generations.

Millennials' views differ from baby boomers
Generation Y never knew a society without technology. Throughout their lifetimes thus far, they have always had some device. Because of this, they are constantly looking for the next best thing. It could be a method of accomplishing a task, an expectation from an employer or the definition of diversity. Millennials want to make a difference not only in their own lives, but in the lives of others around them.

This also applies to the workplace. According to Jamie Gutfreund of the Intelligence Group, approximately 86 million millennials are expected to be part of the professional world by 2020, Forbes magazine contributor Rob Asghar reported. Gen Yers don't have the same aspirations as their predecessors, which means they'll have the opportunity to make changes to the businesses they interact with. They want flexibility, independence, better benefits and faster advancement. However, they're also focused on how their actions will affect the planet and the rest of its inhabitants, Accounting Today explained. In the finance world and other industries, millennials have turned their attention to helping others and conserving the environment.

"They've aligned their values to mirror those of students," Jeff Phillips, CEO of Accountingfly, told the source. "Our own internal survey of students showed that it's appealing to them when employers demonstrate dedication to community service. I held a panel with millennials recently and one hire chose the Big Four [financial firms] just because of their dedication to service. All four have stepped up their game on this topic."

Supply chain needs reorganizing for Gen Y
This dedication translates into recent graduates searching for employment at companies who are dedicated to protecting and giving back to the community. According to various studies by the Intelligence Group, 64 percent of millennials want to contribute to society, which means their occupations need to reflect that desire.

To accommodate this, companies will need to examine their supply chains. While inexpensive options are appealing, they aren't the sole deciding factor for millennial consumers, employees and business owners, Wired contributor Mathieu Turpault explained. Rather, millennials want local companies that have ethical and moral obligations. Gen Yers may stick to their principles no matter the benefits of going in a different direction.

Because of this, these individuals expect the businesses they work at and the ones they buy from to share their values, which means companies will need to reevaluate their supply chains. Millennials wants to frequent businesses that care as much about changing the world for the better as they do. They expect companies' purchasing and manufacturing habits to be sustainable and consumer-friendly.

Apple, Starbucks, Coca Cola and Google are all taking steps toward becoming environmentally friendly corporations. They have realized that their old processes had negative impacts on their workers, the ecosystem, their suppliers and their consumers. As society switches its focus toward conservation and green habits, companies have had to restructure their supply chains to ensure these reflect that change.

In a few short years, millennials will outnumber baby boomers in the working world. Because of this, companies must be prepared to take on Gen Y's values and cater to their needs in order to succeed.

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