2018 has been an interesting year for local supply chains, perhaps most notably due to the impact of escalating costs, and the resultant adoption of advancing technologies. The volatile fuel prices in both crude oil and diesel have had an immense effect on the cost of doing business, and have therefore increased the need for more creative business models to remain profitable. One tactic being adopted is that of manufacturers shifting closer to their customer base, resulting in more diverse business locations and progressively flexible supply chains that allow companies to be more customer-centric to service client needs better and faster.
The drive towards customer centricity has become increasingly complex due to a more empowered customer, with expectations of instant gratification, faster delivery, and better quality at a lower cost, which has led to an emerging trend of collaboration and a need for industries to work closer with government in order to optimise supply chains and wrestle spiralling costs. The traditional siloed approach to doing business is fast becoming a thing of the past, and cross-industry collaboration, together with open channels of communication will likely yield results of innovative customer solutions in the years to come.
Technology plays a significant role in easing the process of collaboration and supply chain digitisation continues to be a notable trend impacting how organisations collaborate, source, manufacture, and distribute their goods and services to market.
The burgeoning demand for customisation and quicker delivery has led to the following technology trends being prevalent in 2018:
Data-driven supply chains
Data will continue to be a driver in the supply chain industry, the correct analysis of data allows logisticians to anticipate demand more precisely and thereby modify capacity to meet it. Supply chain companies are becoming increasingly reliant on data visualisation tools, analytics and algorithms in order to provide quicker, more cost-efficient services to customers.
Blockchain & Artificial Intelligence
Blockchain is a dynamic technology which allows supply chains to increase their transparency enabling seamless ease of collaboration along the value chain, without the fear of compromised information. Blockchain works hand in hand with Artificial Intelligence which has made a big impact on various areas of the supply chain, from dark warehouses that operate through robotics picking and packing to driverless trucks which saw prototypes on the road in the USA in early 2018 and are set to begin full operation in 2019.
Transportation Management Systems (TMS)
2018 saw a rapid increase in the use of TMS application, with this trend is set to continue well into 2019. With modern TMS systems being cloud-based, integration is seamlessly making it easier to optimise supply chain processes while being less reliant on paper-based documentation.
The current business environment demands quality, transparency, safety, ethical sourcing, and speed of delivery. With the challenges of 2018 almost part of history, and with emerging technologies set to make 2019 even more fascinating, organisations would be well advised to pause and rapidly review their supply chain objectives and partnerships in order to ensure they are well poised to not only adapt to but to lead the solutions needed in a changing marketplace.
To get INSIGHTS like these delivered to your inbox, subscribe by clicking the button below.