Supply chains are under incredible pressure today and being influenced by a very broad range of different factors. From advances in technology to changing shipping regulations, global tensions and trade wars and the impact of COVID-19 there are many different variables to consider. As a result, these are the top 10 supply chain trends that we’re expecting to see this year.
- Integrating AI. Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Intelligence are now impacting on a very wide range of different industries. Where supply chains are concerned this could mean change everywhere, from automated last mile delivery to intelligent transportation, route planning, and demand planning, as well as applying AI automation and human intelligence to key tasks such as customer service.
- Greater use of real time data. Technology now enables greater supply chain visibility by integrating real time data – such as traffic or weather patterns – to improve efficiency and optimise operations.
- Improving the use of data generally. From the introduction of new benchmarks on data standardisation to reducing data silos within organisations, many supply chain businesses are beginning to improve the way data is handled and used. Ultimately this will lead to greater efficiency and make it easier to digitise operations.
- The use of digital twins. This technology effectively blends the physical and digital worlds into one. It has many potential uses, including testing to increase efficiency in logistics hubs and using it for 3D modelling in warehouses to experiment with change.
- Greater investment in logistics. Venture capital has been pouring into the logistics sector, especially into start-up businesses. This looks set to continue for the foreseeable future and be supplemented by the resources of major logistics businesses too.
- Blockchain. Although it still has its mysteries for a lot of people blockchain is growing as a supply chain trend and has many uses. For example, this transparent open ledger of transactions could make the sharing of sensitive data between partners much easier and more secure.
- Start-ups. New supply chain businesses are changing the landscape, introducing fresh business models and setting new standards when it comes to transparency, speed and the use of advanced technologies such as robotics.
- Autonomous Vehicles (AVs). From trucks to forklifts to drones, AVs have many advantages, including improved efficiency, reduced maintenance costs and greater oversight. Their increased use is a major supply chain trend for 2020.
- Climate-aware technology. The impact of businesses along the supply chain on the environment has been a big talking point in recent times. Last mile delivery, for example, can be especially energy consuming. A big trend this year is in developing sustainable logistics technology that allows the industry to be more climate-aware and focused.
- The use of robotics. Integrating robotics into warehouses has many advantages and, as a result, the use of this technology has exponentially increased in recent years. From multifunctional robots to wearable tech this trend is likely to grow further in 2020.
The world is changing at a fast pace and this is impacting heavily on supply chains across the globe – these trends indicate some of the ways in which businesses within the industry are going to keep up.