Supply chains are always changing. To stay ahead of the competition, you must be aware of the latest trends and supply chain visibility software. Here are 8 supply chain trends to watch in 2018. From blockchain to artificial intelligence, these technologies are poised to make a big impact this year. So what do you need to know? Keep reading to find out!
Write 8 Supply Chain Trends
1. Automation of Supply Chain Processes
The supply chain is a complex system that encompasses everything from raw materials procurement to finished goods delivery. In recent years, there has been a significant push to automate various supply chain processes to improve efficiency and effectiveness. This can be seen in the increasing use of supply chain analytics, which helps to identify inefficiencies and optimize key processes.
In addition, automated warehouses are becoming more common, as they offer several benefits over traditional warehouses. For example, computerised warehouses can significantly reduce labour costs and improve accuracy. Finally, RFID tracking systems are being used more frequently to manage goods in transit, as they provide real-time visibility into the whereabouts of shipments. As technology continues to evolve even more, supply chain processes will likely be automated.
2. Data-driven Decision Making
In the past, supply chain management was mostly based on intuition and guesstimates. However, with the advent of data analytics tools, companies can now leverage data to gain insights into various aspects of their supply chain strategy. This includes gathering insights from historical and real-time data points such as supplier performance, customer demand patterns, invoicing records, etc., to drive better decision-making across different stakeholders in the supply chain network.
This data-driven approach to supply chain management has led to increased visibility and improved decision-making. For instance, companies can now track each component in their supply chain network and identify potential problems early on. This allows them to take proactive measures to avoid or mitigate disruptions.
Data analytics also helps companies optimize their inventory levels and transportation routes, leading to reduced costs and improved efficiencies. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, data-driven decision-making has become essential for companies looking to stay ahead of the competition.
3. Increased Adoption of Sustainability Practices
Companies increasingly recognize the importance of sustainability in their operations, and many have started to incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices into their supply chain. This includes initiatives such as reducing carbon emissions through green supply chain management, setting up responsible sourcing programs for ethical labour practices, etc.
4. Expansion of Digital Logistics Platforms
Logistics were primarily used to move physical goods from point A to point B. However, with the rise of e-commerce, logistics have become much more complex. E-commerce platforms require companies to manage their supply chains more efficiently to meet customer demands.
This has led to the growth of digital logistics providers offering services such as last-mile delivery, warehouse optimization, dynamic routing systems, etc. These services have helped companies to streamline their logistics strategy and make their supply chains more efficient. As e-commerce grows, digital logistics providers will likely continue to grow.
5. Rise of Inventory Management Systems
In the past, companies used manual methods to track inventory levels. This time-consuming and often inaccurate process made it difficult to anticipate customer demand. However, with the advent of inventory management systems, companies can now monitor their stock levels in real-time.
This allows them to predict customer demand better and adjust their production and supply accordingly. In addition, inventory management systems help to streamline the supply chain management process by providing accurate and up-to-date information about stock levels. As a result, more and more companies are relying on these systems to manage their inventory.
6. Growing Use of Blockchain Technology
The term “blockchain technology” often conjures up images of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, blockchain is much more than that. Blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT) that allows for secure, transparent and tamper-proof record keeping. While blockchain was initially developed for use in the financial sector, its potential applications are far broader in end-to-end visibility. One area where blockchain is particularly well suited is supply chain management.
A key challenge in supply chain management is visibility – knowing where goods are at any given time and being able to track them as they move through the supply chain. This cannot be easy to achieve, especially if the supply chain spans multiple companies and countries.
Blockchain solves this problem by providing a shared, immutable record of all transactions. This gives all parties involved visibility into the entire supply chain process and helps to ensure accuracy and accountability.
In addition to enhanced visibility, blockchain also has the potential to automate various facets of supply chain management. For example, smart contracts could automatically release payments when goods are delivered, or certain milestones are reached. This would streamline the process and minimize the need for manual intervention.
7. Increased Focus on Cost Reduction Strategies
Achieving cost reductions is a constant challenge for businesses. In recent years, companies have turned to cost optimization strategies as a way to improve their bottom line. These strategies can involve reducing inventory levels, streamlining processes, and leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
By taking advantage of these cost-saving measures, dropshipping sellers can reduce expenses while maintaining the quality of their products and services. Companies that can successfully implement cost-reduction strategies in today’s competitive marketplace will be well-positioned to achieve long-term success.
8. Greater Supply Chain Visibility
Companies are now focused on gaining greater visibility across their supply chain network, allowing them to identify potential risks better and take proactive measures for supply chain risk assessment. This includes having detailed insights into the performance of dropshipping suppliers and partners and tracking goods in transit using various digital tools. These improvements in visibility help companies respond quickly to disruptions and reduce the overall cost of their operations.
By keeping up with the latest supply chain trends, companies can better ensure their operations remain competitive and cost-effective in ever-changing dropshipping suppliers. Companies should continuously innovate and invest in new technologies to stay ahead of the curve and optimize their supply chains.