September 01, 2017

Supply Chain Trends to Watch

Technological disruption in today’s world is transforming most industries and functions. For example, Amazon has rendered traditional bookstores obsolete, Uber has altered the transport industry, and video stores are no longer found thanks to Netflix.  If you look at functional areas such as marketing and finance, there are new disruptions and pivots almost every other day. Supply chain and procurement is also being impacted by new technologies. Here are some of the biggest supply chain trends to watch out for.

Big Data

“Big Data” has become somewhat of a buzzword, but it still has significant implications for supply chain, presenting both opportunities and challenges. The volumes of supply-chain related data available is huge, and it requires unique approaches to analyze and quantify. There is enormous scope for the application of big data within logistics and supply chain. For example, retailers can use big data to forecast and understand customer sentiment, and manufacturers can advise customers of delivery time notifications and availability based on historic and current data.


New technologies and service providers are making it possible for companies to convert their supply chains into end-to-end business operating strategies. Through cloud computing that enables real-time collaboration, organizations are able to redefine their traditional supply by incorporating enhanced responsiveness to supply chain disruptions. Some examples of benefits include real-time visibility, collaboration, actionable insights, organizational flexibility, enhanced responsiveness, and proactive prevention.

3D Printing

Today 3D printing is being used in various industries. It’s being used to make medical implants, parts for cars, solid state batteries, jewelry and more. A potential application that impact supply chain is providing vendor managed 3D printers at customer sites by providing the software design for products which customers can purchase on-demand as a license or pay-per-print basis. 3D printing has the ability to provide benefits such as reducing lead time and increasing on-time delivery, simplifying supply chain networks, reducing space requirements in warehouses, faster prototyping and samples, and supporting greater customization.