Supply Chain Influencers

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Supply Chain Influencers

Global supply chain trends vary based on technology trends, management trends, and other types of trends. Some trends in the global supply chain industry relating to data analytics, robotics, sustainability, blockchain, and supply chain visibility have been detailed below.

1. Data Analytics

  • Data in the supply chain and logistics industry has been known to be kept however the company wants and wherever the company wants. This trend is about to change as the industry is set to see standardization in the use of data and companies will have to follow those standards.
  • Apart from standardization, the industry will also witness data analysis as a rising trend. In that vein, many startups are already focusing their efforts on developing advanced analytics platforms.
  • According to survey results, data analysis tops the list of technologies that are becoming a priority in the supply chain industry with 41% votes.
  • Qantas Airlines recently went through a supply chain transformation program and delivered unprecedented financial performance. The multi-step program included "working on continuous improvement to increase [their] operational efficiency, planning capability, and visibility of data," which helped them in achieving such promising results.

2. Robotics

  • In recent times, robotics has been playing an increasingly important role in optimizing warehouse operations in the supply chain industry. As per the Global Customer Report 2019, the industry has seen an 18% increase in robotics testing as compared to the previous year.
  • According to survey results, robotics is on the list of technologies that are becoming a priority in the supply chain industry with 22% votes.
  • Robotics in the warehouse improves productivity by eliminating sequencing and throughput constraints.
  • "Extreme accuracy and easy traceability", thanks to the use of sensors and machine learning technologies, are factors that are driving the uptick of this trend in the industry.
  • The earliest uses of robotics were seen by Amazon, which employed MUAVs (Minuscule Unmanned Air Vehicles) for the fast delivery of goods.

3. Sustainability

  • Sustainability has been a leading trend in all industries including supply chain and logistics. The industry has seen the use of AI-based software for the calculation of delivery routes with the lowest emissions and the use of electric vehicles with the same intention.
  • Termed as Green Logistics, the trend is predicted "not only help the environment, but also it will enhance corporate reputations, lower supply chain costs and most importantly increase customer loyalty. "
  • Many large corporates including Amazon, Deutsche Post, and Maersk have taken initiatives to work towards sustainable business strategies.

4. Blockchain

  • Despite the complex nature of the blockchain technology, because of which the industry has remained at a distance from this technology, some initiatives are surfacing in the industry and it may well be moving towards widespread use of the technology.
  • CargoX and TradeLens are blockchain-based initiatives in the supply chain industry that offer innovative solutions for large-scale operations.
  • The advantage of blockchain technology in the supply chain industry is that it "could make it much easier for different carriers or shippers to share sensitive data; and companies could create trade finance and supply chain solutions."
  • UPS and BNSF Railway are examples of companies that have shown interest in blockchain technology in the supply chain industry by joining the Blockchain in Transport Alliance.

5. Supply Chain Visibility

  • Supply chain visibility has been a hot topic in the industry and the future belongs to real-time visibility, which will enable companies to be able to track logistics in real-time. SCV is flourishing in the industry because of great demand from customers and carriers alike.
  • Data that enables real-time visibility "includes traffic patterns, weather, or road and port conditions which are used to take action and reshape demand or redirect supply and optimize routes."
  • The extent of supply chain visibility varies among organizations with 62% having limited visibility, 17% having extended visibility, and 15% having only production visibility.
  • Hapag-Lloyd recently "chose IoT startup Globe Tracker to power its new real-time container monitoring system."

Other Trends

Other trends in the global supply chain industry include outsourcing and globalization.
  • Companies are now considering outsourcing all or parts of their supply chains to reap its benefits. Increasing employment in the industry has further backed this trend.
  • Globalization is impacting more and more industries with the advent of connected technologies and supply chain is no exception. This trend is impacting every aspect of business, even on local levels.

Research Strategy

We have identified some trends in the supply chain industry by leveraging credible news and media websites as well as industry resources. We have identified trends that appear across multiple publications and then performed some more digging in to supplement those trends with additional details. We have made sure that the trends are not localized to a specific region and are truly global trends.
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