Many, if not the majority, of businesses rely on a fully operational and reliable supply chain. If all components of a supply chain are operating effectively then it means that your business can receive deliveries on time and in turn offer your customers the product or service they have come to expect efficiently and on time.
As we know customer demands are ever changing, especially in a post COVID world, therefore staying on top of the latest information and upcoming trends can be a key part of staying ahead of competition and any unseen threats or issues. In the past 18 months we have all learnt that the ability to adapt is most likely to become the backbone of any emerging modern business.
Sustainability is a hot topic, with consumers taking more responsibility in being environmentally friendly and living more sustainable lifestyles this has a knock on effect to businesses who feel the pressure to implement more sustainable practices.
The two biggest contributors in the supply chain which negatively impact the environment are transportation (fuel, emissions) and electricity and energy consumption in warehousing. As consumers become more aware of their own environmental impact, where they source products and services from will become a more conscious decision.
The past year has shown more than ever that supply chains must be responsive and flexible in their operations in order to deal with market fluctuations and unforeseen outside influences. Elastic logistics allows the supply chain to expand or reduce depending on the current market demand.
An important factor in successful elastic logistics is AI technologies which give supply chains the information needed in order to adjust and optimise operations.
Despite the fears for the welfare of our planet, consumers continue to purchase at a rate of knots, meaning the supply chain must adapt in order to become more efficient and offer faster services. The future could mean offering different supply chains to accommodate the life cycles of different products.
One way supply chains will continue to optimise efficiency in the coming years is through the use of robotics and automated processes and technologies. More and more companies are using drones and automated vehicles to streamline logistics processes.
Autonomous robots are also prevalent in warehousing as they increase the speed in which the more labour intensive tasks can be completed. Paired with other relevant technologies and integrations, robots can significantly increase productivity.
The internet of things (IoT) is a fast growing area within supply chain management. The use of sensors and data exchange can only seek to improve efficiencies and highlight areas whereby improvements should be made to provide a more seamless supply chain operation. In particular planes, trucks and other modes of transport can be fitted with sensors, sharing data or live tracking on delivery updates, fuel consumption and much more.
Supply chain management is certainly not what it used to be, there are complexities in providing an efficient process with outside influence from consumers to consider such as changing demand and the desire for a more sustainable lifestyle.
Staying ahead of trends can help to keep any disruptions at bay, we have all learnt a lot from the sudden and abrupt changes of COVID-19 and flexibility is certainly a top priority moving into the next year in supply chain management.