Reimagining Supply Chains: The Power of Emerging Technologies

Every historical geo-political event has directly or indirectly disrupted supply chain management. If we try to list all the effects in one go, imagine a supply chain company struggling across all its sectors, such as operations, e-procurement, and workforce management.

Events like the COVID-19 outbreak, conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, and growing global tensions—have pushed the supply chain sector to adapt quickly. Businesses need to be more adaptable and to plan carefully for the future.

Here are the noteworthy upcoming trends and technologies in Supply Chain Management for companies.

Blockchain in Supply Chain Management

Blockchain technology marks a transformative era in supply chain management. It is poised to reach a market value of $1477.8 million by 2028, with a CAGR of 34.5%.

Key benefits include:

  • Enhanced traceability for compliance.
  • Real-time data sharing.
  • Smart contracts for automation.
  • Improved SMEs’ financing.
  • Strengthened defences against counterfeits.
  • Sustainable, ethical sourcing.

Utilizing Supply Chain Management Software

In 2024, Supply Chain Management (SCM) software trends can be utilized in:

  • Reshaping e-procurement through bulk buying efficiencies.
  • Enhancing transportation management through freight route optimization and payment handling.
  • Refining demand planning to align inventory managementwith future needs.
  • Central to strategic planning, analytics, and logistics management.

Implementation of Artificial Intelligence

IBM found that 88% of the best companies believe AI is crucial for their industry. AI helps manage data smoothly and automates tasks, making it easier for companies to make good decisions and work efficiently. Companies like Unilever and Siemens swiftly find alternative suppliers and analyze data from finances to sustainability scores through AI.

Moreover, Koch Industries optimizes procurement with AI, enhancing efficiency. Maersk and Walmart automate negotiations using AI to improve supplier management.

Also Read: How Procurement Digitization Enhances Strategic Decision-Making

Enabling Circular Economy Principles

A Gartner survey conducted in mid-2022, with 258 respondents, highlighted a strong belief among supply chain leaders in the profit-boosting potential of circular economy principles.

Notably, these principles, which focus on resource reuse, sustained material quality, and non-harmful disposal, have been applied to 16% of product portfolios on average for three years.

Benefits of economic principles:

  • Reduces environmental impact.
  • Streamlines supply chains.
  • Provides deeper customer insights.
  • Challenges include technology application, stakeholder collaboration, and performance measurement.

The Way Ahead

Supply management companies face numerous bottlenecks, necessitating expert solutions for current and future challenges. A prime example is Moglix’s achievement in consolidating 98% of vendors for a dominant adhesive manufacturer in India, which operates 70 plants and holds a 70% market share.

This initiative effectively tackled issues like inconsistent Incoterms, extensive purchase orders, low delivery visibility, and a dispersed supplier base, significantly boosting the efficiency of the company’s packaging operations.

Proactive consultation is essential as supply chain management deals with interruptions from geopolitical events and quick changes in technology. Seeking strategic advice on supply chain management from seasoned professionals to overcome obstacles and take advantage of new technologies like blockchain and AI should guarantee flexibility and future readiness.

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