What is our Innovation Lab and why is it a dynamic game changer for the Supply Industry?
Innovation is an essential part of any successful business, so in 2018, the national executive committee and thought leaders of the American SupplyAssociation set out to find visionary solutions for ongoing innovation and exciting new technologies for the distribution sector of our industry.
The goal was to address rapidly evolving customer expectations and turn that into innovative products, processes and solutions our members can leverage for their current and future success and viability. What came next was the beginning of the Distribution Next lab (D.NEXT).
This D.NEXT “innovation lab” is housed at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus in their Research Park. This area is home to more than 120 companies and serves as a corporate research and development technology “incubator”. Our student interns come from various academic disciplines and gain invaluable experiential learning and work participation while making real contributions to the lab. This D.NEXT lab provides comprehensive resources that enable our members to invest in innovations that deliver customer-value solutions.
Beth Ladd, VP of Innovation for the American Supply Association explains that her goal is to move the needle for distributors using human-centered design, rapid ideation, primary & secondary research and prototyping to explore the roles, practices, perceptions, trends and technologies that power todays supply chain. D.NEXT interns may develop solutions to re-architect operating models or inform to transform interactions from transactional to experiential.
“My goal is to build awareness, communicate the importance of our distributors and manufacturer partners, and contribute information and solutions to address industry challenges simultaneously.”
The Innovation Lab has been designed to be a next generation incubator for the industry and therefore for our member companies. The lab is about maintaining a competitive edge with new ideas, processes and improved supply chain methodologies. With improved distribution technologies for hundreds of thousands of products, our member companies can increase efficiencies, profitability and service to their customers. This means growth and stability for careers across our whole industry.