10 Supply Chain Trends in the Future of Supply Chain Management

If a business wants to be able to ensure on-time delivery of their products and services, they need to make sure their supply chain is as efficient as it can be. However, the supply chain management of a business is not exactly the same today as it was 5, or 10 years ago.

Supply chain trends constantly change and evolve, and businesses need to be able to stay-up-to date with the new technologies and strategies that can help them improve the efficiency of their operations.

Here are 10 supply chain trends that could define the future of supply chain management:

Trend #1: More agile supply chains

Global trade issues, new tariffs and climatic disasters require businesses to plan and establish more agile supply chains. This is becoming one of the most prevalent supply chain trends in the near future.

The availability and the costs of raw materials are always changing, so businesses must be able to predict potential issues, and be able to adapt to them. Finding the solutions that will allow them to stay efficient, and to provide quality services to their customers, will become more and more important.

Trend #2: Circular supply chains

Supply chains used to be linear, but circular supply chains will slowly replace them. This supply chain trend will help businesses cut down on their costs and see significant positive changes in their freight audit and payments.

In a circular supply chain, products that reach the end of their lifecycles are being refurbished by their manufacturers, who can reuse their raw materials instead of buying new supplies. Businesses that recycle their products could also get incentives from the government.

Trend #3: Greener supply chains

Environmentalism is gaining popularity in supply chain trends. More and more companies are expected to go green with their supply chains, which makes sense with the efforts of their customers to be good to the environment.

Green logistics, eco-friendly warehouses, and electric or solar-powered vehicles will help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and cut down on waste, while gaining the admiration and the loyalty of consumers who care about the environment and want to purchase sustainable products.

Trend #4: Globalization of the workforce

More and more businesses are expected to have to outsource different jobs related to their supply chains, which will increase the globalization of their workforce.

When workers in their own country lack the knowledge to perform certain tasks, or when supply chain management simply doesn’t interest them, businesses have to recruit workers in other countries. Trying to make supply chain related jobs more attractive is a challenge, and this challenge must be faced.

Trend #5: Elastic logistics

Businesses need more agile supply chains, but they also need to develop elastic logistics. The fluctuations of the market should bring businesses to become more flexible when it comes to their manufacturing and shipping operations.

Thanks to elastic logistics and to technologies such as artificial intelligence, supply chains will be able to shrink and to expand, depending on the market.

Trend #6: Robotic automation of supply chains

Robotic automation of a supply chain can greatly improve the productivity and efficiency of a company. Robots are not going to replace human workers anytime soon, but they are now able to handle repetitive tasks, which allows humans to focus on more important ones.

Robotic automation can be implemented in warehouses, but it can also take care of delivering products thanks to drones and self-driving vehicles.

Trend #7: Integrating more components into the supply chain

Integrating more third-party services to the supply chain can allow businesses to reduce their costs, and to improve the quality of their customer service. Relying on a combination of both sea and land transportation can make a difference.

By integrating more components to their supply chains, businesses can streamline their operations, reduce their freight costs, and benefit from different technologies and solutions brought by their partners.

Trend #8: More transparency in the supply chain

Businesses who go green with their supply chains will be more than willing to let their customers know all about their efforts.

However, more and more businesses will become more transparent about the impacts of their supply chains. Letting consumers know about their sourcing practices, the jobs they create and the modes of transportation they use can help improve their brand image.

Trend #9: SCaaS and SCM support

When it comes to outsourcing different operations, businesses can turn to providers of Supply Chain as a Service, or SCaaS. Manufacturing, logistics, and inventory management will increasingly be outsourced.

When it comes to Supply Chain Management support, it will also be increasingly outsourced, and available whenever the in-house management team needs it.

Trend #10: Dealing with the shorter lifecycles of products

Finally, the shorter lifecycles of products mean that businesses will have to innovate so they can remain efficient and profitable.

When a product’s lifecycle is shorter, consumers will keep demanding new products, and businesses will have to be able to deliver these products when they are needed. Supply chains will have to become faster and more efficient, and different products with different lifecycles could even require different supply chains. Businesses that can’t keep up with the demands will struggle.