Supply chain and logistics are set to experience another fast-paced year of change in 2017. Best expressed by Prof. Dr Raimund Klinker at the 2016 International Logistics Congress in Berlin, “the digital transformation is no longer just a buzzword.”
In other words, supply chain management is becoming increasingly technologically orientated. It has never been more important for business stakeholders to be aware of these changes to predict future trends in supply chain management.
Read on to discover the latest supply chain trends to keep an eye out for in 2017.
Supply chains and robotics are a perfect match. Currently, the role of robotics in supply chain management is limited to workflow automation. However, robotics have the capacity to impact warehouse management on a larger scale.
Supply chain workers perform a number of simple and monotonous tasks such as moving stock from one area of a warehouse to another. The use of robotics could automate this, and also improve efficiency by reducing human error. For businesses, this will cut the cost of manual labour significantly.
Robotics are not only a possibility for large companies. Small to medium sized companies have purchased entry-level robots which are capable of working for thousands of hours. For example, the Baxter robot is priced at around $25,000 and has been noted to work for over 2000 hours consistently.
Automated trucks have been used in Western Australia’s mining industry for years, but they are yet to become a common feature on our roads. They are worth keeping an eye on in the years to come. Self-operating vehicles can slash the cost of freight by approximately 40% per kilometre.
Unfortunately, this trend is not something we are likely to see anytime soon as the technology is still being developed. However, driverless vehicles are set to eventually become one of the biggest future trends in supply chain management.
Incorporating Uber Strategies
Trucks have always been the easiest way of transporting freights from one point to another. As we are still a long way from having driverless trucks, companies have been experimenting with Uber-like apps to introduce ridesharing into their shipping operations.
Numerous apps such as LaneHoney, DashHaul, Transfix and Cargomatic have become the latest supply chain trends, helping shippers find trucks close to their location and giving them the option to book easily. These apps employ the use of GPS tracking to position and update the driver, and also provide exact arrival times. This eliminates lengthy paperwork and price haggling between businesses.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Many supply chain businesses have been affected by new legislation and public opinion formed around corporate social responsibility. However, corporate social responsibility should not simply be viewed as a regulation, it is also a change to increase your brand’s public appeal and revenue.
Many consumers are opting for products supplied by companies that treat their people and the planet ethically. Companies who donate a small portion of their profits are also gaining a better reputation in the public eye. Now is the right time for businesses to start developing sustainable and environmentally friendly procedures to reduce their carbon footprint.
Virtual Logistics Teams
Working remotely and with virtual teams has become a popular concept across many sectors, allowing companies to recruit talented professionals globally rather than locally and reduce the costs of travel and accommodation.
With the supply chain data transition to the cloud, 2017 could be a good year to consider the benefits of virtual staff in administration and support. Many companies have already made the shift to remote workers. With advancements in technological communication, local administration staff are no longer needed to schedule and plan large numbers of deliveries every day.
Online planning software and digital communication tools have made it easy for route planners to work from any place and still perform all of their expected duties. Virtual teams are well-placed to be future trends in supply chain management.
Keeping up with the latest in supply chain trends is crucial for business stakeholders. Continual professional training will assist you in staying up to date with the most effective strategies implemented in your industry.
To launch yourself into this exciting, fast-paced industry with the most current knowledge, the Diploma of Logistics is a great pathway to consider. A passionate career in an advancing industry could be just around the corner for you, so don’t hesitate!