The Magic Conveyor Belt

Supply Chains, A.I., and the Future of Work

The societal and economic spasms of the early 2020s highlighted the crucial role of world-spanning supply chains in the modern global economy, as well as the growing role of digital technology, including A.I. and automation, in the future economy. In The Magic Conveyor Belt, MIT Professor Yossi Sheffi explains what supply chains are, how they operate, and how the integration of advanced technology with people and processes will be the hallmark of future supply chain management.

Professor Sheffi lays the foundation for understanding supply chains and the characteristics that make them complex. In Part 1 of the book “The Global Dance,” he delves into the often-hidden intrinsic structure of supply chains to ground the reader in the challenges of managing the mammoth networks involved.

Part 2, “Further Complexity and Challenges,” shows how the last 50 years have added even more complexity to supply chains. This part covers the rising demand for goods, as well as the increasing consumer expectations for fast, perfect delivery services.

The capabilities and future roles of automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence are changing and augmenting the jobs held by workers—covered in Parts 3 and 4. Elements of the book trace the implications of multiple trends in the operating environment for tomorrow’s global supply chains, as they change and augment the jobs held by workers.

While many of the new skills require technical knowhow, it is social skills, ironically, that may be a key for future human employment in an economy dominated by technology.


DPW Book Signing

Images captured by Michiel Ton at DPW 2023



















“Professor Sheffi brilliantly explains the arcane and vital supply chains that make the world work in this highly useful book for the average person and logistics professionals alike.”

 — Frederick W. Smith, Founder and Executive Chairman, FedEx Corporation


“The pandemic has brought to everyone’s attention the importance of supply chains. Professor Sheffi’s tour-de-force explains how these massive networks operate in a complex, ever-changing world. The book sheds lights on the use of modern technology in running these networks, and the cooperative roles of both people and technology in the future. A must-read.”

  — Hamid Moghadam, CEO, Prologis Inc.


“Professor Sheffi explains in clear language the complexities of global supply chains and their future in a technology-infused world. It is an essential read for anybody who wants to understand how just about everything we use reaches us, and how it will happen in the future. His explanation of the role of A.I. is illuminating – he explains why rather than replacing jobs, it will augment, change, and create new jobs in supply chains and elsewhere.” 

   Vincent Clerc, CEO, A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S


"Yossi does a masterful job of storytelling the present and future of supply chains so that the complex, highly interdependent, and globally connected processes to bring everyday items to the doorstep of the consumer are well understood. As only Yossi can, he carefully explains where supply chains exist today and bridges to a future harmonious blend of people, processes, and Artificial Intelligence that every supply chain professional needs to understand. This book is a must for anyone looking to “see” into the future of possibilities. The supply chains of today are transforming and Yossi’s “The Magic Conveyor Belt” demonstrates that the future is not just about any one thing but in fact, how all things must work together for the good of mankind…including human competency and capability!”

   Mark S. BaxaPresident & CEO, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)



Media Inquiries

Dr. Yossi Sheffi is available for interviews, Q&As, expert commentary and byline articles, author events, and other public speaking engagements. Please view The Magic Conveyor Belt Media Guide for more information and discussion topics. 

For all Media Inquiries, please reach out to the CTL Media Team at 


Book Reviews

Electronics weekly grpahic

Gadget Book: The Magic Conveyor Belt, Electronics Weekly, April 2023

Facilities Manager

The Bookshelf Jul/Aug 2023, Facilities Manager, Jul/Aug 2023


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SCM Movement Graphic

The 'big reveal' of the Magic Conveyor Belt, Supply Chain Movement, October 2023


Sloan Management Review Graphic

The top 10 MIT Sloan articles of 2023, Sloan Management Review, November 2023

Sloan Management Review Graphic

MIT Sloan reading list: 8 books from 2023, Sloan Management Review, November 2023


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