Buzz-word technologies like “cloud” and “mobile” have dominated top Supply Chain trend lists from organizations like Gartner, Forbes and DC Velocity for 5 years. Today, those trends are a reality. The digital supply chain is making logistics faster, more accurate, more efficient, and much cheaper. Breakthroughs in cloud, digital and mobile technology have spurred a new set of trends that will have a deep effect on the supply chain industry for years to come.
- Integrated Companies Will Grow The Fastest
Third-party integration tools have become more sophisticated and pushed down the cost and timeline of integration. Reports now show that fully integrated companies outpace the non-integrated companies by at least 20%. Connecting all of your enterprise and best-of-breed systems is much easier.
Enterprises-wide system integration has produced gold in the form of business intelligence
Organizations are growing faster because all of their employees have better access to their data. Information is easily available and automatically distributed, removing the hassle of searching within systems or having colleagues distributed reports.
- Limitless Mobile Options
The rules of mobility are always changing. Warehouse management systems are no longer constrained by mobile operating system offering limited hardware options. From iPhones and ring scanners to compact 2D barcode scanners, warehouses now have unlimited potential for mixing and matching mobile hardware. Outside of cost, user preference like ease-of-use and ergonomics need will be the most important factor in buying hardware.
- Need For Better Data Security Will Drive People To The Cloud
No doubt, cloud is the safest place for one’s data. Having a fully reliable supply chain with near perfect uptime is now an expectation. Organizations will no longer tolerate the data security risks that may ground their operations for sometimes- hours or days. The security shortcomings of fragmented patches within on-premise systems will drive more CIOs to embrace the cloud for their most sensitive data.
- Not Just Bigger Data, Upper Data
The big data revolution has put real-time information in the hands of all employees, from dock workers to customer care representatives to the CEOs. This small sample of business intelligence is driving a huge need for much more granular data. Employees will look to act on this data in easily consumable ways, from graphical dashboards displaying real-time operational information on mobile devices to labor production statistics displayed prominently on large screens throughout the facility.
- Predictive Analytics Start Producing
As per the Harvard Business Review, significant investments in predictive analytics are dramatically improving forecasting accuracy in the area of consumer demand. By summing up the aggregate web-search data with buyer sentiment and location tracking, data scientists have started to draw much more accurate forecasts. This info will help build ultra-lean fulfilment organizations with optimized inventory levels at each point of their supply chain.
- Better Contingency Planning Eliminating Disruptions
Real time location tracking and comprehensive field analytics are assisting in minimizing the inevitable disruption causing by natural events. By integrating mobile sensor with the predictive analysis, companies will be able to react swiftly to changing condition as the situation unfolds. Companies will also seek to decrease their reliance on physical infrastructures so that they can maintain seamless operations in an emergency regardless of their physical locations.
- The Rise Of Augmented Reality
Just like the football games shown on TV in which a yellow first down marker is displayed which appears to be on the playing field but the line does not exist in actual. Thanks to sensor-driven technologies, this type of augmented reality will soon become common in warehouses. Pickers will wear glasses that recognize cartons and scans items automatically, taking picking accuracy to new heights.
Cerasis reports that augmented reality technologies are growing at a rate of 100% annually with an estimated $600 billion value
- Supply Chains Go-Cloud Only
The mass migration to cloud applications for the supply chain industry will probably begin early in this year only. More organizations will adopt cloud-first and cloud-only policies as the cost and timeline of implementations are decreased, and more pre-built system integrations become available. Supply chains that have lagged behind in upgrading to the cloud will reap the rewards of a quicker and less painful migration.
Three quarters of all Warehouses Management System are projected to be in the cloud by 2020
- EDI Transactions Increase
90% of the global supply chain relies on the EDI to share freight data with their Supply Chain Partners. Companies will increase their use of EDI to become even more tightly joined with their networks. The need for shipping data will drive even deeper use of EDI with existing partnerships as organizations that had three or four transaction set will to at least double that.
A recent SCM World Survey found that for every supply chain job lost in 2017, three jobs will be added. This, in result, will create an even greater strain on an already tight market. Finding good labour will be even harder and more expensive than it is today. This labour crisis will also drive larger investments and higher adoption rates of automated warehouse technologies.