Leveraging Millennials for Distribution Success

Feb. 3, 2016 – by Brad Struck, SIOR President of Industrial Services

More than one-in-three American workers today are millennials (born between 1984 and 2004), and have now surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce. This is definitely a generation worthy of consideration in the commercial real estate market. According to a recent report written by Deloitte University, millennials will comprise 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. The youngest generational population segment is now the largest, and is accustomed to working and thinking differently than older generations within their scope of work. Understanding their work and personal behaviors is essential to organizational success.

According to the report, the young professionals of this generation are more concerned with cognitive diversity, also known as the diversity of thoughts, ideas, and philosophies, which involves solving business problems through a culture of collaboration. This workforce, 71 percent of millennials, is more likely to focus on teamwork compared with 28 percent of non-millennials.


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Companies will have to recognize and adapt to this group that desires an always-on connection to multimedia. Organizations are trying to help with effective technologies, mobile and remote working and other tactics becoming conducive to their unique, day-to-day regimens. Recently, the Council of Supply Management Professionals offered a seminar on how to manage millennials. Companies who learn how to hire, train, and manage millennials will be a step ahead as it evolves into the dominant workforce. Within their inclusion ideal, the millennials’ relationship between innovation and business success are well established, allowing diversity to enhance the way organizations operate.

Millennials are a very digitally connected and socially minded group who rarely shop in a store but prefer online purchases. By 2020, millennials will account for almost 30 percent of total consumer product dollars spent. This digitally driven generation will order online and expect their packages very quickly. As your company selects optimal distribution center locations, it might be wise to consider where the majority of millennials live (view the included map). To adapt to the e-commerce behaviors of millennial consumers, it will be prudent for businesses to have distribution centers located in these fast-growing areas.

E Smith specializes in distribution site selection with regards to real estate, labor, transportation and incentives. For more information and assistance with distribution site selection, contact Brad Struck, president of industrial services.