The holiday season is fast approaching, bringing with it a new wave of demands that has businesses scrambling to get a slice of the holiday-spending pie. Disruptive technologies, increasing trade regulations, and the breakneck speed of customer demand are pushing companies to rethink their processes and technology for the holidays and beyond.
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Companies seeking to stay on the forefront of supply chain management must embrace advances that give them an edge. A recent Aberdeen Group survey* of respondents across the supply chain industry examined how global trade management (GTM) has evolved from a collection of standalone supply chain and enterprise applications into today's integrated digital approach that ties everything together. The survey also reveals what the future holds as new technologies, such as blockchain, enter the space.
Inside the pressure cooker
Every company’s global supply chains face the same pressures. Reducing supply chain costs is a concern topping the list, and the new retail dynamic of empowered consumers means a higher demand for faster and more frequent deliveries according to survey respondents – 27% of them are finding this the number one stressor. This puts tremendous pressure on global supply chains to speed up their processes while minimizing inventories.
The pressure isn’t affecting just the retailers; it’s also pushed onto manufacturers and distributors who must support their partners with direct-to-consumer shipments. This means that any process inefficiencies are high on the list of improvements necessary at every level to improve global supply chain responsiveness.
The past still lingers
Previous GTM functions were characterized by silos of information with little collaboration across companies. Many of the processes were manual with limited automation, making integration challenging across departments and locations. The islands of expertise seldom shared information because of system limitations and manual process shortcomings.
Some early adopters attempted to develop homegrown systems, before commercial best-of-breed solutions were readily available. These systems were sufficient to serve the past, but today’s ever-increasing speed of business is driving rapid changes and innovation in global trade. The pressure is on to move beyond silos and home-grown systems and break out of past practices to keep up.
Aberdeen’s survey shows that 28% of all companies still use manual processes, even though they are recognized as antiquated. Add to that cumbersome process a lack of sharing up-to-date information, challenges sharing regulatory knowledge, and poor communication among stakeholders, and it’s a recipe for failure if not eliminated.