Digital Supply Chain Trends

Digital Supply Chain Trends

There are several new and emerging trends in the digital supply chain sector. The tools and technology available to run today’s supply chains are ever-advancing and helping companies optimize their operations. They allow for better use of assets and intelligence, help supply chains tackle challenges, and, ultimately, drive growth. In fact, most supply chain IT budgets are spent trying to help shippers work faster and more efficiently—something that’s essential in an age of regular disruptions.

How to allocate your digital supply chain budget can prove challenging; however, it’s no longer a “nice-to-do”; it’s now a “must-do.” Manual operations are not going to allow you to remain competitive. If you aren’t already exploring tools like AI, IoT, blockchain, and other technology, you’re already falling behind. Digital supply chain management is necessary, and there’s no going back.

4 Digital Supply Chain Trends

Pay attention to several emerging trends in the digital supply chain realm if you want to stay in the game. Software and hardware makers are producing advanced tools to help with your tasks, and you should take advantage of what they have to offer. While many of the old, stalwart software makers are still around and introducing new versions of their products, many new players are emerging. These companies offer improved visibility into your entire supply chain, and it’s worth exploring their tools. Their platforms are built with the future in mind and integrate seamlessly with sensors, real-time location systems, and cloud-based networks. The result is real-time visibility that goes well beyond more traditional tools like EDI.

Another trend worth considering is the ongoing migration to software as a service (SaaS) and robots as a service (RaaS). These options allow companies to enter the digital supply chain without the initial big investment associated with the technology. This not only allows you to test the waters but also to continuously update your tools at a much lower price tag. Your IT departments get a break, too, because the providers maintain and upgrade the technology. This makes the equation much more affordable and flexible as you inevitably make changes to operations and your software/robotics along with it.

Hand in hand with advancing technology, however, is the focus on sustainability. Shippers are asking their vendors, partners, and suppliers to comply with sustainability requirements. Measurements are in place, and partners will come and go depending on their ability to score well. If you don’t have a sustainability plan yet, developing one will become essential for working with some partners.

Finally, there’s still room in supply chain management for humans despite all the technological advancements. While technology can replace some labor, there continues to be a need for employees who can handle more complex tasks and oversight. Right now, humans and robots work alongside each other, but in the future, that scenario may lean more heavily toward the machine, especially as the labor shortage lingers and younger generations eschew traditional manual labor. OPS design can help you to implement supply chain software, mechanization, automation, and robotics options.