For every industry sector, from pharmaceuticals and groceries to technology and fashion, the supply chain has evolved to be a business differentiator rather than a cost center. Supply chain has a seat at the strategic table in forward-thinking organizations. Combined with this is the reality of the quickly evolving pace of business coupled with increasing demands from the end customers.
The infographic below, from IGD Supply Chain Analysis Research, looks at some of the emerging trends in the supply chain from last year and makes some predictions for the coming year. The company focuses on the grocery supply chain, yet the same trends hold true in the high-tech electronics sector.
Technologies, including blockchain, machine learning, and Internet of Things (IoT), are bringing better capabilities to most organizations, but finding the right talent is tough and getting tougher. “There is no doubt that deploying innovative technology can improve efficiency and customer service, and can help raise maturity and transform supply chains,” said C. Dwight Klappich, research vice president at Gartner. “For example, 90% of companies operating at stages four or five maturity levels outperform their peers, and many are considered industry leaders.” Risk management and resiliency are high on the to-do list of most organizations.
In the coming year, the customer will be the main focus in many ways. Cost to serve, multi-channel, and omnichannel will continue to be big buzzwords as companies strive to meet the evolving demands of the end customers. The “sharing economy,” pioneered by the likes of AirBnB, TaskRabbit, and others, offers potential new business models to the supply chain. Cybersecurity efforts will be critical as businesses try to reduce business risk.
Where will your supply chain be putting its focus this year? Let us know in the comments section below.
— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN