The modernization and digitization of the supply chain have become crucial for organizations to earn a competitive edge in the market. The supply chain has become an opportunity center for retailers and business holders to improve the performance of their organizations. The advancement in the supply chain can result in better business performance. AI, IoT, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Advanced analytics, etc are some of the overriding trends.
The supply chain managers first need to analyze the weak points in the supply chain to choose the trends to implement. Below, eight key emerging trends are discussed that are expected to play a strategic role in the future supply chain.
1. Digital Twin
Owing to larger business networks, diverse products, and a greater number of customers, the supply chain for the logistics process has evolved from a simpler structure to a much more complex system. Handling big businesses is hard. Moreover, with the increased competitiveness in the market, the days of depending on the defensive mechanism are over. To succeed, the organizations must take preemptive measures to tackle the challenges they might face in the supply chain. In order to attain real-time data related to customer demand and production, a digital twin of the supply chain can play an important role. With the help of a digital twin, a theoretical model can be developed and the companies can gain a sense of the future of their supply chain. Then they can plan accordingly to meet the predicted variations in the customer demands. The digital twin will likely alleviate the supply chain risks by providing the data of the what-if scenarios in the multilayered supply chains.
2. Chatbots and Voice Bots
Using voice bots and chatbots have taken the interaction to a much-advanced level. Modern chatbots have the ability to comprehend and communicate in multiple languages enabling better services in handling payments, ensuring speedy deliveries, and offering better customer service.
Digital advancement is becoming the number one priority for the logistics business holders to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the supply chain such that the global carbon emission level in the atmosphere is also minimized. To deal with climate change challenges, sustainability is becoming a top emerging trend in the modern supply chain.
Companies are working on ways to cover up the loss of the empty miles to attain sustainability. While transporting goods, the vacant spaces and empty containers result in the wastage of fuel, more carbon emission, and loss of money.
Increased use of electronic equipment in the supply chain is expected to bring sustainability to the supply chain model. The warehouse automation along with the automation of transportation is expected to solve a number of climate problems. The automated trucks will reduce fuel consumption, lead to better tracking, and will speed up the whole process.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Possessing the ability to revolutionize the supply chain, AI can automate decision-making and enhance the working of the supply chain. AI helps analyze the sales pattern in the supply chain and to improve decision-making by predicting future challenges.
Human Mind Model
Efforts are being made to develop artificial intelligence on the human mind model. To advance machine learning and to make it more perceptive, the human mind is being researched. In the future, this will lead to a better understanding of the complexities related to the supply chain.
Less Human Involvement
The supply chain is continuously undergoing change. Some of the older measures regarding quality and productivity are still intact but a digital transformation is taking over changing the very structure of the supply chain. Automation will result in less human involvement and fewer chances of error. The emerging AI technology will have the ability to self-correct and will reduce the hurdles in the supply chain.
Possessing the ability to revolutionize the supply chain, AI can automate decision-making and enhance the working of the supply chain. AI helps analyze the sales pattern in the supply chain and improve decision-making by predicting future challenges.
With increased global interaction, it is becoming important for business holders to have a better connection with their overseas customers and partners. Visibility, free flow of data, and transparency are crucial to dealing with future challenges. The global supply chain is continuously adapting the latest technology of AI, ML, IoT, Automation, and Robotics to increase the efficiency and working of the supply chain. The investment in AI and ML will boost better productivity results. The technology will be integrated to increase business value and bring productivity improvement.
Use of Cloud
Cloud technology is increasingly being adopted by companies for better security and functioning of the supply chain. The market for cloud-based technology is expected to reach 7.03 billion dollars in three years.
IoT can help make predictions about supply chain operations and improve visibility.
Micro application extension will be one of the most prioritized technologies in the supply chain by manufacturers and retailers.
5G is definitely going to impact the speed of the delivery and interconnectivity between people, machines, and processes.
3D Technology Use
Owing to technological advancement, people are more connected than ever and a secure and speedy movement of products across the four corners of the world is more important than ever. 3D technology will likely take hold of the supply chain in speeding up the process. This technology will solve a great number of manufacturing problems. The instant design development and product build-up will provide speedy deliveries achieving better customer relationships and business benefits.
Automation will result in less human involvement and fewer chances of error. The emerging AI technology will have the ability to self-correct and will reduce the hurdles in the supply chain. Automation can basically be targeted at assets, products, and services. Autonomous robots and vehicles are becoming the norm in the logistics industry.
For automation of certain tasks, the technology is being developed to make self-learning for machines possible for better inventory and shipment management.
The companies will collect real-time data with the help of the latest software. The retailers will have automated analysis thus increasing productivity and reducing the labor cost.
The advanced analytics would help take proactive measures with its predictive and perspective features which outsmart human judgment in many ways. Real-time data analytics will help keep an eye on the price variations and deal better with the availability challenges.
Robots have already been playing an important role in warehouse operations. More work is being done for further automation to eliminate errors and build better links and speed up the process.
The use of robotics in warehouses will likely be increased in the future. Software like WMS and RFID will help achieve data analytics to optimize the storage capacity and reduce the time of order processing. Warehousing will offer flexible services in the future. This will help deal with the challenges imposed by seasonal changes and the automation will also support temperature-sensitive storage.
Any small disruption in the supply chain can cause a ripple effect on the whole logistics process badly impacting the revenues, cost, sales, customer relationship, speed of manufacturing and distribution, creating problems for the freight forwarders and the supply chain managers who supervise the whole logistics process by managing and coordinating the movement of goods from one place to another by sea, air, road, and rail. Retailers are looking for ways to increase visibility, and transparency in the supply chain to improve its efficiency. Blockchain with its decentralized data system can help organize and store larger volumes of unstructured data. To increase the visibility, transparency, and immutability of the supply chain, blockchain is expected to become a norm in the future.
8. Diverse Supply Chain
Companies are looking for more than single sourcing and seek alternatives to diversify their supply chain. With multiple manufacturing options, organizations would have an opportunity to keep the business working amid uncertain situations like trade wars, pandemic outbreaks, etc.