2021 Supply Chain trends to watch

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8 Supply Chain technology trends for 2021

The Supply Chain industry is constantly evolving, at a quicker rate than expected. With the introduction of trends such as ‘Blockchain’, ‘Big Data’ and ‘Internet of Things’, we can expect to see an influx of new trends during 2021.

We’ve identified the top 8 supply chain technology trends that could vastly improve businesses within the supply chain industry over the coming year.

1. Blockchain:
With the ability to improve supply chain management by increasing efficiency and transparency, Blockchain technology can completely change the game for supply chain.

The core logic of blockchains means that no piece of inventory can exist in the same place twice. Move a product from finished goods to in-transit, and that transaction status will be updated for everyone, everywhere, within minutes, with full traceability back to the point of origin.

2. Artificial Intelligence:
AI has the ability to enhance, and possibly automate, decision making, reinvent business models and ecosystems.

AI is intelligence exhibited by machines, or when machines mimic or can replace intelligent human behaviour, such as problem solving or learning. Machines are making decisions whether that is demanding which chess piece to move where, or how to adjust an order forecast based on changing demand.

3. Robotic Process Automation:
RPA implementation easily simplifies complex supply chains through the ability to handle skill-based, non-standardised interactions which previously depended on human intervention.

However, RPA can only be successful with the right human intervention at the outset, with a deep understanding of the processes to be automated and with the correct rules and boundaries in place.

4. Micro Segmentation:
Achieving higher levels of granularisation by increasing the number of data target “groupings” – represents one of the most important assets analytics can provide.

Segmenting is necessary to create optimal supply chain segments with clear attributes, by defining focus and competitiveness in terms of flexibility, cost, quality, and time.

5. Software-as-a-Service:
Although not a new concept, it is one that isn’t used to its full potential within supply chain. SaaS can help trading partners synchronise their product information in accordance with the global standards, including offering some advanced shipping notices.

SaaS apps are more accessible, meaning supply chain and logistics professionals can access critical data and applications both on the road and in the office, from any connected device.

6. Globalisation:
The process by which businesses or other organisations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale. It’s the free movement of goods, services and people across the world.

Globalisation has dramatically changed how manufacturers operate, offering an opportunity to reach new customers in new markets while at the same time exposing firms to greater competition.

7. Big Data:
The use of Big Data can predominately influence the marketing, logistics, operations, and sourcing sectors of supply chain.

Big Data is a phenomenon that companies must adopt in order to survive and develop.

8. Internet of Things:
The adoption of IoT is happening for certain supply chain domains, however there seems to be a lack of it for the complete end-to-end supply chain process (except for the air and defence industry).

IoT continues to connect and enable our world to create efficient and easier modes of communication, operations and production.

Which technology trends do you think are going to have a real impact for supply chain in 2021?

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