Manufacturing Must Consider the Supply Chain Most Influential Supply Chain Journalist By Thomas R. Cutler Having served the manufacturing and industrial sectors as part of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program in both Arizona and Florida, it became clear there was no concrete resource to reach the media covering the industrial sector. Out of necessity the Manufacturing Media Consortium was created. Now 8000+ members and 23 years later we are known worldwide. The recognition as the leading supply chain journalist is an honor. Not only has Manufacturing Media Consortium experienced exponential growth, but I have also personally authored more than 8000 feature articles. The veracious appetite for content creation shows no sign of slowing. What has changed materially is the length and modality in which information is consumed. No longer are deep-dive whitepapers, case studies, or probative essays possible. Nearly three-fourths of all content read on a phone and very little is consumed organically (read consistently or bookmarked). All media must be cross-promoted with aggressive public relations campaigns. Capturing print coverage is not sufficient; push marketing drip campaigns required. Telling the supply chain story Supply chain is not a catch phrase and speaks to the dynamic challenges companies face daily and are mercurial at best. Fluidity, flexibility, and paying close attention to trends requires copious reading, conversations, interviews, and understanding the issues facing companies. Removing bias and listening are the top skills in effective reporting. Understanding the supply chain during COVID did not alter how manufacturers must articulate a unique value proposition. The basic rule must be listening to the VoC (Voice of the Customer). Assume nothing; ask about the pain points being experienced and then craft a unique value proposition. Never force a solution into a problem that does not exist. Perception is reality. The customers’ perception of value is all that matters. Continuous process improvement by definition is on-going. A static value proposition is hackneyed in no time. Gen Z and the supply chain TR Cutler, Inc. recently established a new Gen Z division because most manufacturers are run by Baby Boomers or Millennials. They do not understand the layers of communication Gen Zer’s require via telephone. They expect to be hired by telephone, trained by telephone, acknowledged by telephone. They use Instagram and TikTok, not Facebook and YouTube. They are dynamic and expect the companies for which they work to respect them, acknowledge them, reward them. They expect manufacturers to be both tolerant and inclusive. They are keenly aware of their power as decision-influencers, many with millions of followers. Failing to recognize their modality of communication, videos preferred, and short attention span (less than 2 minutes max) means manufacturers will fail to reach this audience of potential employees and future customers. Celebrating diversity and welcoming the Gen Z perspective is a forward-looking necessity to create a comprehensive supply chain. Africa and the supply chain Recently, TR Cutler, Inc. also established an African division because exponential growth in the continent over the next decade is predicted. With more than 50% of the population under 30, there will be an extraordinary transformation of intralogistics, manufacturing, and supply chain elements which will transverse the continent. Monitoring industry trends Too often, operating from crisis mode, manufacturers fail to read. Knowledge is accessible…it must be sought. Because we work with editors, clients, associations, podcast hosts, and more, the ability to track and spot trends is exceptional. Jun21343 About TR Cutler Inc.: TR Cutler, Inc. is the largest global manufacturing and marketing firm worldwide. Founded 23 years ago by Thomas R. Cutler, the company has become the authoritative resource in the industrial sector including manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, and supply chains. Cutler founded the 8000+ member Manufacturing Media Consortium and works with editors, journalists, thought leaders, economists, and trendsetters.