Trends, Drivers and Opportunities of the Future Supply Chain Technology
After being exposed to supply chain disruptions like COVID-19, businesses struggle to revitalize their supply chain efficiency. Most companies that did not have any contingency plans fought the entire 2020 fighting supply chain risks to acquire new customers.
The year shook global business leaders and woke them up to the importance of efficient supply chains. This has led them to focus on supply chain risk management and enhance their resilience.
39% of our respondents have experienced an adverse risk event at some point in their supply chains over the past three years. A similar proportion—40%—say their exposure to supply chain risks has increased over the same period. By contrast, only a quarter of our Supply Chain Leaders report suffering a negative risk event, and 31% say their risk exposure has increased. -Oxford Economics, Surviving and thriving, How supply chain leaders can minimize risk and maximize opportunities 2020.
The increased supply chain risks that businesses face today are not just due to changes in consumer behavior. Instead, supply chain professionals intend to counter the supply chain disruptions but face issues in applying technology. This gap between intent and application calls for supply chain technology.
What’s most crucial is how the future of supply chain technology unfolds. To know the future of supply chain technology, businesses should be aware of its trends. Here are some of the drivers and trends of the future supply chain tech.
Express delivery expectations
Before Covid, consumers were already used to free and fast delivery from Amazon Prime. Since the pandemic, these expectations have intensified with same-day, next-day, and even same-hour deliveries.
With fast deliveries becoming the norm, businesses should reduce the distance between their warehouses and customers to enable faster shipping times. Therefore, in the coming years, it will be mission-critical for companies to minimize their overall last-mile logistics costs and maximize efficiency.
Many deliveries and logistics businesses turn people’s homes into micro-fulfillment centers to minimize last-mile delivery costs. In addition, they are leveraging fleet management software to improve their fleet utilization rates in that last-mile delivery.
Decentralized fulfillment is a new reality.
Earlier, businesses favored the centralized fulfillment model because it gave them greater bargaining power to reduce their overall storage costs. In addition, shipping bulk products to one location was much cheaper than shipping them to smaller warehouses.
As today’s consumers want their products quickly, the single central warehouse location has turned expensive. The savings gained from the operation of centralized logistics models are lesser than that of the customer churn costs from a slow delivery experience.
A decentralized fulfillment model has become the alternative for many businesses to speed up their deliveries. But the lack of capital to operate multiple warehouses makes it hard for them to execute decentralized business models.
Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS)
Before the 1990s, outsourced logistics was a rare option pursued by businesses. But today, handling own warehousing and fulfillment services is turning logistics operations expensive and inefficient. With companies of all sizes adopting outsourced logistics, Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS) is gaining momentum and popularity.
Many companies want to minimize their variable costs without large capital expenditures or ongoing maintenance fees. This goal has paved the way for the increased demand of partnering with 3PL (Third-Party Logistics) or 2PL (Second-Party Logistics) companies. This outsourcing logistics operation helps many D2C e-commerce retailers scale their delivery without any upfront investments. In addition, the decision to outsource logistics operations has led businesses to invest in proper logistics optimization software.
Increased demand for sustainability
Before the pandemic, luxury, fashion, and cosmetic brands faced counterfeiting invested in supply chain visibility. However, with high levels of social and ethical consciousness from customers, it has become crucial for businesses to maximize their supply chain transparency efforts.
The biggest challenge for many supply chain leaders is supply chain visibility. In countries like the US, new laws like FSMA (Food Safety and Modernization Act) Section 204 have called for enhanced tracing and tracking of food products across the entire supply chain ecosystem. In addition, new regulations have made investors rethink how companies can enable trust, transparency, and coordination.
The other vital concern for businesses is communicating transparency to their customers. Blockchain technology helps retailers minimize costly supply chain execution errors and improves accessibility to information along the value chain. In addition, businesses can rectify their supply chain errors before they arise by tracing activities along with the supply chain ledger.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the hidden supply chain issues for businesses globally. To solve these issues, companies should build a proper supply chain strategy.
Before building the supply chain strategy, it is essential to understand the issues and the potential solutions to counter them. A deeper understanding of the future of supply chain technology trends enables businesses to devise necessary strategies and counter these issues effectively.