Last year was turbulent, to say the least. And it doesn’t look like disruptions to supply chains are about to diminish. That’s why we have to keep an eye on the risks. The following top 10 supply chain trends offer a guideline to mapping out your strategy for the next 12 months.
Every year, the Association for Supply Chain Management maps out the most important developments in the supply chain landscape. As a Premier Elite Channel Partner of ASCM, we are happy to share the insights of this leading supply chain institute.
The major disruptions of recent years have certainly made companies think about how they organize their supply chain. This has translated into optimizations aimed at greater operational efficiency, initiatives to reduce risk, and a search for ways to become more competitive. But companies face numerous challenges on the road to achieving these goals. Just think of the tight labor market, the pressure to digitize, and the need for smart sourcing.
By focusing on the top 10 supply chain trends of 2022, supply chain managers can proactively optimize their supply chain and build a successful, sustainable future.
1. ACCELERATION IN ADVANCED ANALYTICS AND AUTOMATION
Advanced analytics will gain momentum, helping to mitigate risks within a digital and agile network. ASCM expects the implementation of predictive and prescriptive analytics to have a huge impact, as will the further development of big data, algorithms, and robotics. Companies that succeed in optimally deploying these technologies will benefit from greater visibility and data-driven decision-making. That, in turn, will lead to increased efficiency, predictability, and profitability.
2. BATTLE FOR SUPPLY CHAIN TALENT
Having sufficient supply chain talent in-house is crucial to properly supporting future developments. Employees at all supply chain levels must embrace the new way of working. This must be accompanied by the necessary training and appropriate rewards. It’s also important to attract new talent with strong data analytics skills. Companies will need to be creative if they are to attract and retain enough talent to continue to meet their supply chain needs.
3. ACHIEVING FULL VISIBILITY
To continue to meet the sky-high demands of customers, far-reaching visibility within the chain is essential. Fortunately, people are increasingly willing to pay for socially responsible business processes. This can provide the impetus to invest in supporting technologies. For example, customers increasingly expect to be able to check where products have been sourced from. Through the Internet of Things, real-time visibility will become a reality. Also, companies need to seek out new business models and partnerships that will help them to increase transparency.
4. FURTHER ADVANCE OF E-COMMERCE
The steep rise of e-commerce perhaps best illustrates the enormous impact of current developments on supply chains. Warehouses all over the world are jam-packed. In the future, e-commerce and omnichannel fulfillment will continue to drive organizations’ priorities. On the one hand, they will continue to challenge companies, in terms of network efficiency, for example; on the other, they open up opportunities to create a competitive advantage.
5. NEED FOR RESILIENT SUPPLY CHAINS
More than ever, there is a need for resilient supply chains. These require data expertise, innovative solutions, and strong collaboration within complex global networks. Go for a good risk spread in terms of suppliers, production capacity, and transportation solutions. Also look at what alternative materials and less obvious partnerships can do for you. A resilient supply chain design is also critical to mitigate unexpected events faster than the competition, helping you to deliver better customer service and grow your market share.
6. SUPPLY CHAIN AGILITY IS BECOMING ESSENTIAL
A high level of supply chain agility is crucial to achieving flexible networks, which are in turn essential to responding effectively to changing customer demand and growing uncertainty. The supply chain of the future will be able to react quickly to changes, delays, and unexpected events. The message, therefore, is to continue to proactively search - through variable cost structures — for ways to increase responsiveness. Innovation culture is also important to drive the search for the right solutions for your organization.
7. DIGITAL SUPPLY CHAINS PUSH FORWARD
Digital supply chains will enable greater visibility, resilience, and agility. Digitized networks use technology to enrich workflow and data collection. This digitization impacts both the data infrastructure and the workforce. Successful digitized supply chains involve large-scale implementation of sensors through the Internet of Things. They also rely on cloud-based networks and process automation. Furthermore, the adoption of tools such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and machine learning allows for better decision making.
8. CYBERSECURITY IS BECOMING CRITICAL WITHIN DIGITAL NETWORKS
Globally, cyberattacks pose a huge threat. With the advent of digital supply chains, cybersecurity is becoming even more important. After all, the explosion of data and data-driven processes creates more vulnerabilities within organizations. As supply chain partners become more connected, they may inadvertently expose each other and their customers to privacy breaches, identity theft, or worse. As a result, we can expect to see more collaboration on network, device, and solution security. We expect companies to increasingly invest in redundancy, firewalls, advanced anti-hacking technologies, and cybersecurity training.
9. CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY COMES TO THE FOREFRONT
Customer-centricity is paramount today among supply chain professionals across the globe. Customer expectations continue to rise and, as mentioned earlier, people are increasingly insisting that companies’ business practices are ethical and sustainable. To achieve this level of customer-centricity, we must ensure that employees master even more cross-functional and analytical skills. The winners will be the supply chains that can meet their customers’ ever-increasing expectations at the lowest cost.
10. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND MACHINE LEARNING AS KEY COMPONENTS
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are key components of numerous trends on this list. They are often foundational to the integration of people, processes, and systems into operational environments. The technology-driven evolution to Industry 5.0 will also require more and more collaboration between people and machines. This will have a major impact on supply chain functions such as demand planning, and fulfillment. The more machines learn, the better the insights and the greater the transformation, progress, and competitive advantage will be.
Do you have any questions about these emerging trends, or would you like to learn more? Please contact us.