As customers increasingly demand quick services, instant communication, and personalized experiences, the supply chain for a variety of businesses has grown more complex. According to Accenture, 76% of supply chain managers see customization of services and products and faster fulfillment of orders as the two top-most consumer demands in the coming years. As long as the business is coupled with other factors such as stiff competition, volatile markets, and new revolutionary technologies, it must keep improving their supply chains to meet the needs of their customers quickly and more conveniently.
To keep your customers happy, reduce operating costs, and stay ahead of the competition, here are some top trends in supply chain and logistics that you should stay on top of in 2020:
Many of the emerging trends we see today will be widely adopted in 2020 and the years to come. Many of these trends will disrupt IT systems, people, and businesses. Top on the list are:
Recent advancements in AI technology, including natural language processing and machine learning, mean that AI can be implemented in a variety of processes in the supply chain. Artificial intelligence will be used to predict shifts in demand as well as potentially disruptive events through the analysis of massive data sets. The application of AI in the supply chain will also mean large scale automation of various supply chain processes. According to a 2019 Garner survey, 37% of organizations have implemented AI (a 270% increase from 4 years ago). Companies using AI in the supply chain see improved supplier selection process, inventory management, production planning, worker productivity, and customer experience.
With the implementation of the internet of things, businesses can manage their inventory and follow up on stock movement easily and automatically. This process is done through the installation of sensory devices on products that can track their movement from the factory up to the retail store. The impact of these IoT trends in the supply chain is reduced costs and improved service delivery. The data is collected in a central system and can then be analyzed to derive valuable insights. The application of big data in supply chain management can help you improve operations, products, services, hiring processes, marketing strategies, and many more.
Wearable devices, together with cloud technology, can allow workers to input and access data in real-time. Warehouse managers can leverage this tech to collect correct inventory data quickly as well as keep track of products manufactured, stored, and transported at any given time. These devices can also help companies to detect health issues in their workers as such promote their wellbeing.
Today’s customers expect a simple and convenient shopping experience, whether they are doing it on a mobile application, on the web, or in a brick and mortar store. Businesses must implement convenient omnichannel services to provide a smooth shopping experience with minimal order cancellations or complaints.
Robotic Process Automation, otherwise known as RPA, involves automation of manual processes using the software. In other words, it's a software robot that is programmed to mimic human actions. As such, RPA will be used to automate most of the repetitive warehouse tasks and fasten the process of order fulfillment.
A recent report by the Conference Board predicts an acute shortage of blue-collar labor in several industries in the coming years. Among the hardest-hit areas will be transportation. As the demand for delivery drivers grows and the supply of labor declines, businesses will be forced to turn to alternatives such as autonomous vehicles. Though driverless trucks are a long-term solution, we can already see high-tech driving powered by artificial intelligence in supply chain management. The benefits of AI-assisted driving include lower fuel consumption, improved efficiency, and increased safety.
We’ve seen AR and VR being used on the retail end of businesses to enhance the customer shopping experience. But these technologies are also useful in other supply chain processes. For example, they are increasing worker productivity by allowing efficient multitasking. Companies can also use augmented reality to envision how material, product, or process will work in reality before implementation.
Recent technological breakthroughs such as Big Data, AR & VR, RPA, IoT, and AI have brought about viable solutions for common challenges in logistics, transportation, and supply chain. By keeping up with the trends and investing in the technologies that are fit for your business, you can increase operation efficiency, reduce your costs of production, and deliver better experiences to your customers. If you are interested in staying on top of the competition, contact inVerita to create a supply chain management solution.