In 2021, companies are increasingly depending on their supply chain infrastructure to gain market share. As a resukt, the spending in this sector is on the up-swing. E-commerce players are opening distribution centers in tier 2/3 cities and some are even partnering with traditional logistics companies to augment the reach of their supply chain. Another key aspect that is gaining more traction within the industry is the increasing use of new-age technologies.
Technology upgrades at modern companies show that supply chain excellence is more widely accepted as an element of overall business strategy and is necessary, especially after the pandemic.
The supply chain continues to evolve rapidly, keeping pace with the technological advancements of the modern era. Though it can be challenging to stay on top of these changes, it’s crucial to do so to maintain the supply chain. It’s vital to get ahead of the trends that are shaping the future of supply chain management. Companies keeping up with emerging trends and seizing opportunities will be at the forefront of competition.
Incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The use of AI and automation is on the rise in supply chain management globally. In a world where speed and precision are crucial for success, AI is a precious way to speed up your supply chain and remain competitive in your niche. There are countless ways to incorporate AI into your organization’s workflow, from making improvements to your assembly line to powering digital twin technology.
The key is finding tasks and processes that will help you save time or energy; often, the best tasks are time-consuming, complicated, or extremely rote. By turning these tasks over to AI, your team can spend more time on human-centric projects generating a better ROI.
Shifting to Cloud
While many organizations still rely on locally-stored supply chain software, the future is in the cloud. Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are becoming the foundations of supply chain cloud computing.
This allows more flexibility, scalability, and a global reach while doing away with the need to maintain extensive, expensive on-premise computing infrastructure. According to a recent report, cloud-specific spending in supply chain will grow six times faster than any other IT expenditure.
Focus on Sustainability
As consumers globally prioritize the environment, businesses have increased their sustainability efforts, which are now seeping into the supply chain. Because there are so many different opportunities to focus on sustainability, you’ll need to tailor your efforts to suit your organization’s unique needs.
This can be overwhelming and difficult to keep up with. It’s best to start with something small, such as updating your packaging design. By making managed changes, you can increase your organization’s long-term commitment to sustainability.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical objects powered by sensors and software connected to the internet. IoT already plays a significant role in supply chain management, particularly in logistics, but with increasingly diverse applications, it will likely continue to grow in importance.
IoT can improve warehouse management, fleet tracking, inventory control, and even technical and mechanical maintenance. IoT could even be used to create entirely smart warehouses and fleets, increasing the efficiency and accuracy of your supply chain.
In an increasingly volatile and unpredictable world, the supply chain is constantly at risk of disruption. You cannot control the weather, predict political events, or foresee the effects of an unprecedented pandemic — but you can control how your supply chain prepares for and responds to these threats.
For instance, if you source raw materials from a geographically risky area, you could look into sourcing that material from another more stable area. If anything goes wrong, you can quickly minimize the impact of that disruption.
Circular Supply Chain
Linear supply chains will soon be replaced by circular supply chains, where manufacturers refurbish discarded products for resale. To deal with the rising costs of raw materials and their volatile availability, many companies are trying to break down their products and turn them back into raw materials.
With a circular supply chain, companies can spend less on raw materials and, in turn, enjoy a reduced risk of price volatility. A circular supply chain helps manage waste and allows companies to reduce their impact on the environment.
Big Data Analytics
Companies today have access to enormous amounts of data and are using this to generate business intelligence ranging from understanding past performances to predicting future trends. Using Big Data, it’s possible to determine customer preferences and market trends, as well as redefine supply chain management. Big data is mainly being used in sales intelligence to move faster than the market and get ahead of trends.
Service Provider Opportunities
Digitization in supply chain management and full-fledged process automation is creating demand for emerging technologies service providers can catch hold to.
The key technologies service providers can target include:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Big Data
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
- Machine Learning (ML)
- Data Analytics
Investments are pouring into the above technologies as industry stakeholders recognize them as the key drivers empowering supply chain transformations. Service providers operating in these areas can benefit from the emerging opportunities in this market.
By using Sales Intelligence platforms such as Draup, service providers can identify niche opportunities before they become mainstream. Draup leverages data from over 4000+ sources which is then fed to our custom machine learning models that extract actionable insights for sales leaders across domains.