7 Supply Chain Trends to Watch in 2021
Trends show the vital role of technology in the supply chain, and how its use has grown beyond inventory management and logistics.
Supply chains make up an essential aspect of most businesses today, with 70 percent of industry professionals predicting that the supply chain will spearhead better customer service before the end of this year.
Some of these trends include adopting big data, AI, sustainability, and omnichannel marketing. The uses of such technology have grown beyond stock taking, order, and delivery. It has grown into other aspects like security and risk management, process automation, and customer service. Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at the seven best supply
1. More Agility
For supply chains to function at their best, there needs to be more flexibility and agility. As we have seen in recent times, unforeseen events do occur and companies need to cope with natural disasters or pandemics. An agile supply chain can also help you navigate scarcity and disruption. Supply chain managers can predict and identify potential problems and solutions. Thus, they can respond to disruptions in production, supply, and delivery more swiftly
2. Sustainability Is Becoming Essential
Another notable trend in supply chain management is the advancement of green logistics. Besides its benefit to us and our environment, it is cost-effective, promotes brand goodwill, and increases customer loyalty. Before now, we have seen bulky packages using several boxes during shipping. But in 2020, the packaging is shrinking. The minimal means of packaging is not only eco-friendly, but shippers can also reduce costs. Thus, more supply chain businesses need to check their carbon footprint. It will help them align better with the sustainability trend.
Customers love same-day delivery, but this can be difficult for logistics. Thus, blockchain technology in supply chain management comes in handy. By cutting out intermediaries, blockchain takes you straight to your customers. The blockchain technology system helps distribute digital data transparently and securely. Vendors, shipping lines, customers, and logistics firms can all collaborate using a single platform. Every added data or information is in the form of blocks stored in a single location. And they are kept secure using encryption and a time-stamp ledger linking new information to the existing chain. Besides being safe and limiting fraud, Blockchain systems are cost-effective, transparent, and fast.
4. IoT and Big Data
As IoT advances, businesses can automatically manage their inventory and stock movement better. The system works by collecting big data into a central system for analysis. From the outcome, supply chains can derive valuable insights. Big data application in the supply chain improves operations, hiring processes, or marketing strategies.
5. Omnichannel is the New Norm
Ultimate customer experience is what your customers expect. It entails providing them with a direct and convenient shopping experience. Whether they are shopping online or in-store, your business needs convenient omnichannel services. With simultaneous purchase and delivery, there’s a greater demand for logistics. But omnichannel supply chains enable your customers to have a smooth experience.
6. AI and Machine Learning
AI and ML technology has brought about several new processes in supply chains. Large scale automation is one of them. Machine learning can read, identify, and replicate complex content, patterns, and procedures. AI automated repetitive tasks, and removes human error by improving inventory management, staff productivity, supplier selection process, and customer experience.
7. The Spread of SCaaS
Several businesses handle their supply chain activities in-house. However, we are now seeing more companies adopt the Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS) business model. So, they now outsource activities like inventory management, logistics, and packing. Processes can become faster, smarter, customer-centric, and sustainable. To summarize, AI, blockchain, big data analytics, and IoT technologies will enable supply chains to automate and simplify operations and help minimize supply chain disruptions. All this enhances your business’s productivity and efficiency. NetSymm is poised to help you in your order automation journey.