It can be easy to dismiss trends as just that – trends. However, some of the supply chain trends that were just catching on five to ten years ago are now common place, such as the use of digital technology. It’s important to take note because the last thing you want is to not miss a trend that can help bolster productivity and could become vital to all supply chain. The following are a few of the supply trends you should keep an eye on this year:
- Warehouses will begin using augmented reality – If you’ve watched a football game in recent years, then you’ve seen an example of augmented reality in action. We’re referring to the yellow first down marker that appears on the field that only people watching at home can see. There’s no doubt that pickers will soon have access to such augmented reality to help increase accuracy and convenience. For example, they’ll be able to wear glasses that will help them recognize items immediately in addition to scanning items automatically.
- More supply chains will move to the cloud – It’s estimated that by 2020, 75 percent of warehouse management systems will be using the cloud. This is because the cloud has become the safest place for data. On-premise systems simply have too many security flaws compared to the cloud. Supply chains are expected to be 100 percent reliable with as close to perfect uptime as possible. Dealing with data security risks that delay operations for hours are no longer tolerated within the supply chain industry.
- There will be an increased focus on e-commerce – In 2013, it was reported that millions of packages were delivered late during the holiday season. Retailers and shippers simply weren’t prepared for the amount of e-commerce orders. Every year, a larger percentage of the orders will not only come through the web, but also on mobile devices. Many shippers are taking a closer look at their logistics to ensure that they can handle their e-commerce orders, especially those that will come in during the holiday season. Several large companies have even begun investing in last mile delivery vans, drones and even crowd sourcing solutions.
- More supply chains will be investing in analytics – Analytics can help to accurately predict consumer demand. In fact, forecast models are becoming more accurate due to the ability to collect web search data with location tracking as well as buyer sentiment. This kind of data will allow you to build optimized inventory levels at every point of their supply chain.
- There will be a heavier reliance on instant information – Real time information isn’t just data for a select few. More warehouses will implement real time information accessible to all of their employees, from customer representatives to dock workers. They’ll be able to access this data through graphical dashboards on their mobile devices or even on large screens displayed throughout the warehouse.
- There will be more mobile flexibility – Mobile operating systems will no longer have limited hardware options. New operating systems will allow you to mix and match mobile hardware, from smartphones and tablets to wedge scanners and ring scanners.
Keeping up with the advancements being made throughout the supply chain industry is extremely important. These are just a few of the supply chain trends that are predicted to take off in 2017. Hang on!