Monday, January 12, 2015

Trends that will change how supply chains work

The next few years are going to be game changing insofar as managing supply networks is concerned. Among other factors, the current economic and environmental landscape will drive such changes. Startups have mustered enough confidence to expand their boundaries, and big-ticket firms have been finding ways to keep up with growing demands in their worldwide consumer base, while advocacy groups echo a louder call to adapt environmentally sound business practices to address climate issues.

In response to the factors mentioned, expect the following trends to shape supply chain optimization:

1. Modes and forces of production go greener.

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Sustainability has been the buzzword of the decade; soon, it will be the norm rather than the exception. Green-born companies have shattered the belief that creative and ethical sourcing will not translate to financial success. On the other hand, Coca Cola leads the pack of multinationals that are set on improving its image among communities through improvements as drastic as reducing the weight of its plastic, aluminum and glass containers by more than 30 percent.

2. The cloud will further bring in heavenly prospects.

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According to Forbes, an explosive slew of upgrades in facilitating a smarter supplier network is expected to roll out in the next five years as investors inject billions in capital to bankroll research and development for supply chain analytics. Angel investors, private equity holders, and big tech firms like Oracle and IBM are expected to plow investments in software as a service (SaaS) platforms that enhance the technological capability of big and small enterprises to monitor and take control the supply process from the ground up.

3. Robots gain bigger control of the supply chain process.

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Like SaaS systems, automated guided equipment will further optimize the procurement and delivery of goods and services as this technology heads mainstream. Logistics providers and in-house supply chain systems will use artificial intelligence to pick, tow, and forklift even loads as massive as airplane wings with astonishing ease and precision.

Tom Wolters has decades of expertise in innovating the supply networks of leading companies such as ConAgra Foods. Subscribe to this blog for relevant financial information and insight on supply chain management.

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