Find out how these next-gen technologies are impacting the supply chain of today

Businesses with well-designed supply chain practices undoubtedly tend to meet consumer needs faster and in a timely manner, thereby strengthening their customer relationship and loyalty. All of this, in turn, boosts revenue. However, certain supply chain strategies are influenced by key forces of change such as the widespread adoption of technology across the value chain, shifting consumer demands, changing market demographics, government regulatory changes, global climate change, and resource scarcity.

To tackle these challenges, businesses must anticipate how these key forces of change impact supply chains and evolve their supply chain management (SCM) approach to build a sustainable supply chain. Adopting and investing in emerging technologies is the best way to gain a competitive edge in today’s technology-centric industry.

Let us delve deeper into supply chain trends that can give businesses a competitive advantage:

  • Big Data and Advanced Analytics : A significant 66% of the supply chain leaders agree that advanced supply chain analytics are critically important to supply chain operations in the next two to three years. Many can see the value of having big data and advanced analytics that can scale across the entire supplier network. Whether it is optimizing transportation performance, improving forecast accuracy, analyzing product returns, or improving product tracking and traceability, the greater the complexity, the better is the potential for advanced analytics to revolutionize supply chain operations.
  • IoT : The Internet of Things (IoT) brings in the right kind of transparency to enhance operational efficiencies as well as revenue opportunities. The new-age IoT will allow a supply chain to execute decisions, control the external environment, and communicate data that can process the workflow to optimize business performance. Businesses can leverage this computing and restructure their supply chain to distribute supplies evenly across the value chain. This, in turn, will improve their speed to market, besides yielding real-time product tracking, distribution, and warehouse management.
  • Automation : An important evolutionary step is automation, which can lead to a more convenient and efficient way of managing a supply chain. All different sections across the value chain can be managed in tandem by automating the entire supply chain end to end. Software robotics can be used to manage outbound as well as inbound strategies and processes, thereby providing the right tools and resources that can reduce the time to market.
  • Mobile Robots : Autonomous robots used in warehouses have one goal in common – to save labor costs and drive efficiency. These machines reduce human movement and waste to save massive costs in labor. Moreover, logistics and e-commerce companies can solve the challenge of labor shortages and higher customer demand with autonomous mobile robots. Apart from being increasingly effective, the machines are also flexible and affordable and can be scaled and adopted in any warehouse environment.
  • Blockchain : The blockchain is a game changer as it can enable superior supply chain efficiency. From tracking inventory to conducting payment and audits, all the documentation across the supply chain provides enhanced transparency across the network, increases trust, and eliminates the prejudice found in today’s supply chains. A constantly refreshed digital ledger with true origin and touchpoints of the supply chain network can save effort, time, and money on several fronts, practically redefining how you do business.
  • Immersive Technologies : Immersive technologies such as AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) have the potential to enhance productivity in transport and warehousing by optimizing all processes across the supply chain. This includes greater maintenance and repair abilities in warehouse management systems, better procuring choices, engineering or leveraging store design, or product conception and arrangement.

The future of supply chain evokes a world full of innovative technologies from blockchain to artificial intelligence, all intertwined within the SCM operations and strategies. And as innovative digital technologies are becoming more prevalent in the basic supply chain operations, SCM is well on its way to becoming more technology-centric. As the explosion of new devices continues to be rooted in supply chains, businesses must embrace and leverage these trends to significantly improve their business outcome.

Meet the Author

Rajendran headshot

Rajendran Nair

Chief Marketing Officer
Rajendran has over two decades in enterprise software in roles ranging from development to product management to marketing. He was most recently at Rootstock, the leading ERP for Manufacturing on the Salesforce platform. At Rootstock, he was responsible for driving topline, streamlining sales and marketing operations, and substantially increasing market awareness including favorable positioning in four major analyst reports.