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3 Trends Shaping Supply Chain Tech This Year

After working closely with some of the most successful supply chain and procurement executives in the world, I have become keenly aware of what is having the biggest impact on this industry, particularly in high tech. I'd like to share the three distinct themes that seem to repeat. 

Massive increase in hyper-distributed data environments

Gartner defines a “hyper-distributed data environment” as a large volume of data within an organization's environment and the vast array of locations in which that data exists.  

In almost every industry, there is data being created in places it never has been before. At the same time, according to our customers, the data is not the number one problem; connecting the data and trusting the data are even big challenges. It is increasingly difficult to reach good data, much less draw insight and enable a person to take action.

For example, all the data created by a supplier about the component they provide to an OEM's product is immensely beneficial, but it's all over the place. It resides within the systems of many entities: your suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, integrators and in many cases, the logistics supplier.

If the OEM's employee is empowered with verified insights while a product is being designed or manufactured they are better equipped at managing the challenges downstream in the product life cycle.

The major challenge of compiling data for a single harmonized view

Data is more complex, messy and in more formats than ever, largely due to hyper-distributed data environments. This continues to be a huge cost issue for almost any organization that does data integration manually.  

Luckily, solutions which are Software as a Service (SaaS)-based and provide predictive analytics can have a major impact on time and cost, all while providing verified insights and executable actions for supply chain improvement.

The benefits can be huge. One customer of ours, for example, a global pharmaceutical organization, improved data quality and reduced time and cost by 100 times what was previously required. The high-tech industry can expect similar returns.

The digital supply chain race is white hot.

You can't deny that adopting and deploying digital technologies and business models in supply chain is all the rage right now.

According to Gartner, “digitalization” is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business. 

The more a business is digitized, the more sources can be pulled for better and more accurate decision making. This point is crucial and a must to maintain competitive advantage. Gartner claims that four of the top 10 incumbents in each industry will be displaced by digital disruption in the next five years. 

There is hope. There are SaaS tools to assist companies in their journey through the digital disruption by bringing the data-first approach to bear on the bill of materials.  

What tech trends are you seeing as having the most impact on supply chain? Please share your comments below.

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