COVID-19, the global pandemic, rattled many businesses and supply chains all over the world and changed consumer behaviour. The pandemic has exposed a new urgency to fill in the gaps of minimizing risks, building resilience and connecting more deeply with the consumers. As the logistics industry is re-evaluating its offerings, processes, channels, systems and preparing for 2021, supply chain management trends are going to evolve quite a bit. Here are a few supply chain management trends and supply chain component we expect to see gaining momentum.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Advanced Algorithms
Visibility is more important than ever. The continued use of artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms to anticipate a potential problem and provide resolution has become a key trend permeating many industries. The global supply chain management ensuring automation and artificial intelligence has become essential for the ever-changing market. It has made supply chain operations more reliable, efficient, profitable and successful. You will see it as one of the supply chain management trends as you face the “new normal” in 2021.
Omnichannel is a multi-channel approach that provides a seamless customer experience whether the customer is shopping online from a mobile, laptop/desktop or in a store. The year 2020 demonstrated that to succeed, ensuring business continuity and maximizing resilience, companies need to maximize every available channel – online shopping (eCommerce), retailer, direct-to-consumer, distributors etc. So this way even if one channel is disrupted due to natural or human-made causes, the supply chains won’t be interrupted. They will need a supply chain platform to exponentially grow revenue, minimizing costs and maximizing service levels to consolidate demand across every channel. It will enable customers to have a smooth experience.
- Third-Party Logistics (3PL)
Companies of all sizes can focus on global supply chain management’s critical aspects by using third party logistics for outsourcing their shipping and logistics functions. It will enable companies to build their strengths and offer the best possible services to their customers. For the 2021 supply chain management trends, managers need to function among 3PLs, including implementing new technologies, continuous improvement and a strong focus on shipping efficiency.
Blockchain technology in global supply chain management takes you straight to your customers. It helps distribute digital data securely and transparently. The 2021 supply chain management trends will allow the supply chains to be more informed and transparent. Blockchain systems are cost-effective and fast. It also enables less disruption in customer service. It will help supply chain managers to detect issues before they occur. As it provides safe and swift transactions, many businesses are now adopting blockchain technology for online payment platforms.
- Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data
As IoT advances, it allows businesses to manage inventory and stock movement better. It ensures transparency in the supply chain networks from start to finish. It also improves supply chain operations, increases effectiveness, customer demands, minimizes downtime, addresses issues with accurate data and improves overall ROI.
- Information Lags
The hardest lesson of 2020 for companies was to know if there was any risk in the supply chain network. Too many companies could not respond when the pandemic hit due to lack of information and time lags. The 2021 supply chain management trends suggest that to improve collaboration in their supply chain networks companies need to install more real-time systems for information time lag to be zero.
- Machine Learning (ML)
Machine Learning has brought about several new processes in the supply chain. ML technology can identify, read and recreate complicated procedures, patterns and content. Businesses making ML have seen improvements including inventory management, staff productivity, customer experience and supplier selection process. Companies have a higher chance of efficiency since it eliminates human errors.
- Automatic Communication and Smart Contracts
Smart contracts are another 2021 supply chain management trend to improve supply chain managers’ value and efficiency. Automatic communication is the system set to send data automatically when specific criteria are met. This includes the automated submission of invoices or emails along the shipping timeline in the supply chain. The automation in global supply chain management is geared towards making it easier for the supply chain managers to keep everyone in the loop and save on time by automating tasks and functions.
- Cold Chain is Hot
The supply chain is rigid, and keeping the entire chain temperature-controlled and refrigerated is more challenging. With vaccines at the front, the cold chain will be more important to everyone in the coming year. Many temperature-sensitive products, including vaccines, food, medicines and some chemical products, require full monitoring. These companies’ “must-haves” include track-and-trace, tracking from order to delivery, all tiers of supply and distribution, ensuring all product requirements are met and are in compliance – a challenging yet essential for these companies.
- Prescriptive Analysis and Layered Technologies
As businesses respond to 2020, they will be making organizational changes in the “new normal.” Adopting many different technologies across the supply chain and logistics industry is one of the foremost 2021 supply chain management trends worth noting. With a greater focus around the prescriptive analysis and multiple technologies layering, supply chain companies will adopt these to boost resilience and competitiveness. Technology has become the backbone of the supply chain industry. Before entering 2021, global supply chain management must embrace automation, AI-assisted decision making and multiple technologies.
Grow Your Supply Chain With these 2021 Supply Chain Trends
Preparing now will help ensure success as the supply chain and logistics industry moves into 2021. To stay ahead in the business of logistics and supply chain-related sectors, IIM Udaipur’s supply chain MBA provides a solid foundation in management fundamentals and an intensive specialization in GSCM. The supply chain MBA imparts knowledge and builds leadership skills with a focus on supply chain and logistics management. It also offers an excellent opportunity and a rewarding career in companies across FMCG, eCommerce, manufacturing, retail and many more such domains.