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7 Supply Chain Trends Business Owners Need to Keep an Eye On

15 min read
7 Supply Chain Trends Business Owners Need to Keep an Eye On

You used to be able to get away with not staying up to date on the latest supply chain trends. But with how fast things change today, you can’t get away with that anymore.

You’re in the minority if you aren’t taking advantage of the changes that are happening around you. A survey found that 50% of people believed that advancements in supply chain technology would have a significant impact on their company.

But with things changing so fast these days, it’s hard to keep track of everything you need to know. This post will help with your problem. Keep reading to learn seven supply chain trends that you need to keep track of.

1. Automation

When you’re moving a lot of product, it takes a lot of human resources to keep things running smoothly. The problem is, people make mistakes. These issues lead to delivery delays and potential work hazards when things get busy.

With advances in AI, automation is coming in the future. Automation will be able to handle much of the repetitive tasks workers used to manage. This means that there will be fewer mistakes and lower workforce requirements.

Implementing automation will have a large upfront cost, but will save businesses money in the long run. It will do so by reducing the time it takes to ship products and providing insights into the supply chain process.

2. Blockchain

We were first introduced to blockchain technology with Bitcoin. It promised a transparent money system that was hard to manipulate. While it hasn’t become commonplace, it has introduced blockchain technology to other industries.

As time goes on, expect blockchain to make its way to supply chain technology. This is important because consumers are demanding more transparency in the manufacturing process. Nobody wants to buy products from companies that source from unethical partners.

With the added transparency that blockchain brings, you will need to find the right partner for your business. Focus on sourcing from companies that treat workers right and don’t harm the environment.

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3. Data Visualization

Let’s face it. Data is currency in today’s world. It seems like people are more than willing to give away information to get access to products that make their lives more enjoyable.

But this doesn’t only apply to social media sites. There is also more data available now in the supply chain industry. You can take advantage of this information to streamline your supply chain process.

You can use this data to generate reports that will let you know about everything that happens in your supply chain. This will help you make faster decisions, correct mistakes, and remove ineffective processes that slow down your shipping times.

4. IoT Integration

The smart home isn’t a pipe dream anymore. IoT has grown to become a significant player in consumer electronics. The good news is that it isn’t only for consumers anymore.

IoT in the future will allow businesses to get even more insight into what’s going on in their warehouses. Sensors will allow you to track assets, inventory, containers, and anything else you can think of.

Sensors will also be able to monitor equipment for problems. This information will allow repairs to be made before bad equipment causes more headaches down the line.

Once businesses fully implement these devices, companies will see fewer mistakes, higher performance, and higher customer satisfaction.

5. Augmented Reality

Google’s first attempt at introducing augmented reality into the world didn’t turn out very well. But that doesn’t mean that other businesses aren’t investing in this technology. As time goes on, expect augmented reality to play a significant role in the retail process.

As augmented reality continues to grow, customers won’t need to spend time going to the store to see products. They’ll be able to launch an app on their phone or other devices to see what they’re buying and how it looks in their home.

This trend means that businesses will need to change how much inventory is kept on-hand in the store. Companies will need to focus on increasing warehouse shipping times to keep up with increased online sales.

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6. 3D Printing

In the past, it made sense to source small parts overseas. It costs a lot to produce small quantities of individual components. Even if you didn’t need many parts, it made more sense to source a large batch of components overseas.

But since 3D printing has come around, it’s become much cheaper to print the parts you need yourself. 3D printing makes prototyping new products much more cost-effective for businesses to do.

As time goes on, expect this trend to continue to the entire manufacturing process. Changes to the printing process will allow companies to print products that have more than one material. This will save on material and construction costs.

7. Closer Distribution Hubs

Amazon has changed the way the shipping process happens. Customers used to not worry about needing to wait a week to get a package. But since Amazon has introduced two-day shipping, things have changed.

Customers demand fast shipping when they order products. This means that you can’t ship your products from far away and expect your customers to be satisfied. Companies need to focus on building out local distribution networks that can get products to their customers quickly.

This also opens the door to third-party distribution warehouses. Not everyone has the funds to build out an extensive warehouse system. Smaller businesses will be able to take advantage of these smaller warehouses to give fast and cheap shipping to their customers.

Pay Attention to These Supply Chain Trends

As technology continues to change, you will continue to see supply chain trends change over time. You can’t get away with the old ways of doing things anymore. Make sure you pay attention to what’s going on, so you can keep your business updated with the tools that allow you to keep your supply chain running smoothly.

Are you looking for more ways to optimize your business? Head back to our business section to read our latest tips and tricks.

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