There is no doubt that technology is now fully embedded in supply chain management. Judging by market trends, 2018 will continue to bring heavy innovations, and experimental concepts, in the industry.
Think blockchain, robots, IoT, and more: the following hot trends shaping supply chain announce an exciting year, according to the publication Supply Chain Digital.
1. Blockchain Solutions that Benefit the Supply Chain
Whether blockchain is a hype or reality, it’s still on, with an already promising disruptive technology in the financial industry namely cryptocurrencies. So how can it work in other industries such as the supply chain field?
This year we can expect a few viable blockchain concepts to emerge. While IT vendors get excited at the numerous possibilities, start-ups rush to come up with cool concepts that can be integrated into the supply chain network.
Although more likely at an experimental stage, blockchain technology has the potential to influence the way supply chains are configured in the future.
2. IOT Surge in Mobile-enabled Machinery and Appliances
The Internet of Things (IoT) is taking over factory machinery, vehicles, home appliances, and devices. The supply chain industry has already started to shift to the new status quo, and this evolution is going to be even more pronounced in 2018.
New machines are already transmitting status and performance parameters to central control tower systems for monitoring purposes in real-time.
The exponential growth of data, captured and monitored, will pose challenges for the IT department, but also lead to more exciting avenues in the industry – a win-win situation.
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3. Disruptive Logistics Solutions in the Sharing Economy
Logistics are the next point of disruption in the sharing economy. Companies like Uber and Airbnb have already enforced new models in the transportation and accommodation industries…and guess who’s next?
As the third-party logistics (3PL) movement increases, we can anticipate the buzz around personal vehicles and trucks delivering packaging – from small to heavier loads – to consumers and businesses worldwide. Traditional shipping companies will start to feel the impact.
The innovations are likely to consist of improved mobile apps, tracking apps and off the shelf sensors, and will focus on better visibility and control over the supply chain.
4. Supply Chain Visibility (SCV) Evolvement
End-to-end supply chain visibility is highlighting the critical aspects of capabilities, maturity, networks and supply chain solutions, and becomes more critical in an organisation handling multiple supply chains and complex partner networks.
Visibility in the supply chain industry has been an integral part of enterprise resource planning (ERP), transportation management systems (TSM), or supply chain execution (SCE) systems – to name a few.
Supply Chain Visibility is going to get a lot more traction in 2018, with Gartner already indicating a more distinctive approach of SCV as a separate framework.
It could mean that SCV will have its own place in the supply chain framework and its category intensely monitored and covered by analysts.
5. The Amazon Effect: Better and Faster Supply Chains
There is no surprise here, Amazon’s constant supply chain technological innovation and fast services, e.g. same-day delivery, has prompted many industries, from high-tech to FMCG, to learn from them and take action.
The Amazon effect will continue to impact supply chains beyond retail and will push organisation to improve their processes to better service demanding marketplaces.
Large organisations can still have the upper-hand in the market by combining years of experience with new technologies to adapt to the changing landscape.
2018 will strive towards supply chain excellence: better and faster supply chains. Organisations should heavily invest in technology and build innovative DNA in their supply chain infrastructure. To do the opposite will surely mean to get out of the game.
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