Supply chains are the core of most businesses today. It is essential to keep all supply chain elements running as smoothly as possible to ensure on-time delivery of products and services. It is important to keep up with the latest supply chain statistics and it is equally significant to stay up-to-date with the latest supply chain trends. This blog post outlines the top forecasts for supply chains. By being ahead of supply chain trends and issues, companies ensure supply chain agility.
- Supply Chain Sustainability
More and more supply chains are now taking actions to be more environment friendly. This is mainly due to issues such as climate change, electricity and transportation which hugely contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in the US. This is why green logistics are rapidly gaining traction among many companies today.
In fact, green logistics is only one of the trends affecting warehousing. For example: eco-friendly warehouses feature advanced energy management systems that use timers and gauges to monitor the usage of electricity, heat, water, and gas all over facilities. Besides, electric and solar-powered vehicles are also seeing more use in supply chains; these vehicles help reduce the overall carbon footprint of supply chains.
Additionally, climate-smart supply chain planning is expected to play a more significant role in SCM in the next year and beyond. The main concern is about climate change affecting the availability of materials and resources, posing potential disruptions to supply chains. As a result, companies will have to consider these issues and look for other resources if needed.
Surveys have shown that more than 60% of customers don’t mind paying a premium for sustainable products. Green consumerism is certainly taking the lead and more companies are expected to implement eco-friendly supply chain processes in the future.
- Better Transparency in the Supply Chain
Nowadays, companies have started providing some transparency, concerning sustainability of their supply chains and their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. However, more visibility is required on the impact of the supply chain on other aspects of society.
For example, companies will soon have to look into providing reports on the impact of their supply chains on jobs created, sourcing practices, as well as types of labor and modes of transportation used. By revealing information about these features of their supply chain, s if necessacompanies can boost their brand image among consumers and prepare for compliance with regulatory requirementry.
- Blockchain Tools to Handle Information
There is no doubt that supply chain visibility remains one of the priorities for most companies today. This will lead to the integration of blockchain technology into supply chains. Through Blockchain technology, the entire supply chain will be more transparent. This will reduce disruptions and improve customer service. With the use of blockchain, all components of the supply chain can be combined into a single platform.
In this way, carriers, shipping lines, forwarders, and logistics providers can use the same platform to update companies and customers of the product journey. In addition to that, invoicing and payments can be made from the same system, too. Such technology streamlines the entire supply chain and helps supply chain managers to recognize issues before they occur. Not to forget that blockchain also offers unparalleled protection for information, as the technology’s decentralization methodology protects data from being edited.
- Adoption of IoT
IoT devices are also increasingly being implemented to enhance the visibility of supply chains. For instance, sensors can be fitted in modes of transportation which provide live tracking updates on shipping and delivery. With the IoT technology in warehouses and retail outlets, there is more visibility in production, inventory management, and predictive maintenance.
Such real-time information can be very helpful for companies to proactively service customer demands, minimize downtime, and increase the supply chain’s overall efficiency. Due to increased visibility across the supply chain, IoT devices can also help businesses optimize their assets and ROI.
- Robotic Automation of the Supply Chain
Robotics have already started transforming supply chains. In 2019, North American companies spent $869 million on more than 16, 400 robots.
Today, many organizations are using drones and driverless vehicles to streamline logistics operations. For instance, consumers can expect drones to become fully capable of making deliveries of small goods. Moreover, self-driving cars are also likely to be more advanced by 2020, with capabilities to make automated traffic decisions.
As far as warehouses are concerned, autonomous mobile robots will see more use in speeding up labor-intensive tasks. Together with efficient warehouse management software, robots can radically improve the supply chain’s productivity.
However, robots are not meant to replace human jobs. The technology is expected to enhance human efforts by speeding up simple, repetitive tasks. In this way, human workers can focus on higher-value tasks that have a more direct effect on business growth and customer experience.
- Automation Through AI, AR, and VR
Artificial intelligence (AI) is now becoming more prevalent in the Supply Chain world. It’s main function is to automate procedures using algorithms based on data from previous processes. Supply chains are more likely to become more efficient with automation by eliminating human errors.
Another advantage of AI is to identify patterns in the supply chain. In this way, companies can leverage this technology to predict purchasing demands and manage inventory.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been proven to improve the effectiveness of supply chains. For example, AR devices allow employees to multitask more efficiently. Organizations can also use these devices to boost product development efforts by forecasting potential product uses in a realistic setting.
- More Agile Supply Chains
Apart from the climate change issue, new tariffs and global trade issues require companies to be more agile in terms of supply chain planning. To guarantee stability and maintain a good service, companies must ensure that their supply chains are agile enough to cope with natural disasters and the shifting availability and costs of raw materials. Supply chain managers can take advantage of supply chain modeling solutions to predict scenarios and identify potential problems. In this way, there will be a better panning for the best responses to disruptions.
There is no doubt that nowadays, heightened customer expectations influence every part of the supply chain. Besides, modern delivery and logistics management solutions are making global supply chains smarter, faster, more customer centric, and sustainable. Being ahead of these supply chain trends can also ensure that supply chain disruptions have minimal effect on your business.