Supply Chain Trends to Take Advantage of in 2016

As we closeout the year, we look forward to the refresh of the calendar year and all the excitement that comes with new goals and strategies for 2016. We’ve compiled a list of supply chain trends that are expected in the new year.

Investing in Technology Innovations

IDC anticipates that Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will be materially affecting the way that all companies manage their supply chains by 2020. Gartner predicts there will be 25 billion sensor devices connected to the IoT by 2020.

Additionally, Business Insider reported that 82% of businesses are planning to imple­ment IoT solutions by 2017 (Business Insider, Internet of Everything). As a result, we expect that supply chain companies will begin investing in technology innovations that leverage the power of IoT, big data, and analytics. Supply chains that invest in technologies that make sense of their raw data will have a competitive edge over other companies. With this type of data, companies are able to receive end-to-end supply chain visibility as well as insights to anticipate problems, forecast outcomes, prescribe solutions, and prevent costly disruptions.

Analytics solutions will provide all partners in a supply chain several key types of intelligence, such as true visibility and accurate estimated time of arrivals, risk identification and avoidance, predictive modeling to anticipate supply chain changes, and insight into improved operational processes.

Greater Focus on Logistics Efficiency and Accuracy

Major trends in transportation have changed little over the past few years, with many challenges still existing around supply chain logistics planning, such as cross-docking and accurate estimated time of arrivals (ETA). In continued efforts to address these challenges, we anticipate that transportation companies will augment traditional transportation management systems (TMS) with sensor analytics technologies. Sensor analytics technologies will provide companies better visibility and deeper knowledge of their supply chain performance based on the collection and analysis of real-time and historical data. This will allow companies to leverage existing data from TMS, GPS, and other sensor devices to accurately predict accurate ETAs and improve cross-docking initiatives.

Partnering to Improve the Supply Chain

We expect to see a continued focus on cost reductions through better cross docking and the use of multi-category distribution centers via partnering with other companies. Partnering provides a way to leverage the unique skills and expertise of each partner so that it mutually benefits both parties. Through partnerships, companies enable highly competitive supply chains that yield benefits such as: increased market share, improved cross docking, less inventory, more accurate delivery times, and overall better service to customers.