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The SC is the force driving the consumer-goods industry, invariably developing to encounter conditions of ever-changing markets, especially in the current-global-health crisis.

Supply Chains (SCs) are not as resilient as we thought, due to global lockdown and social distancing measures which brought light on severe- weak-aspect of SCs, triggering massive delays and disruptions, impacting our everyday lives.

Lesson learned to overcome the pandemic

Enhance Visibility – Find out who your suppliers are; are they subcontracting? If so, learn who your supplier’s providers are to find ways to monitor the risks they might encounter; thus, you can measure the latent disruptions underlying your SC, re-design processes to take advantage of data to better respond to emergencies.

Build resilient SCs – Make clear to your company the effects these disruptions have on your network to make flexible decisions whilst making real assessments of your skills to face risks. Invest beforehand to build robust resilience, visibility, and automation processes to place your company at the upfront.

Get better Agility – Visibility is essential to have an agile SC to cope with circumstances ever-changing. For SC to perform at its best, you need to be more flexible and agile to prove that organisations can cope with unpredictable demands, pandemics, or natural disasters, whilst supporting you in times of scarcity and disruption.

Increased Sustainability – The advancement of Green Logistics will bring significant benefits to your company; it is cost-saving and enhances customer’s loyalty, whilst elevating your brand’s friendliness. Creating companies responsible for avoiding carbon footprint will get shorter-more Circular SCs, a hopeful scenario for coming years. Transportation is the most significant contributor to prevent air pollution and CO2 emissions; however, we are far from establishing a sustainable culture through Circular SC processes.

Cognitive Technologies – Advanced technologies are crucial parts of current SCs, as they can fast-track the digital transformation your business need: main edge-technologies would impact SCs in the coming year:

– Artificial Intelligence (AI). By using past-operations data, AI algorithms can perform basic operations automatically. It saves time and eliminates possible human error, thus, carrying on operations more efficiently whilst reading the human resources to achieve more complicated tasks.

AI can also distinguish patterns in data and produce functional understandings when predicting possible extra demands coming. AI will help operations within SC to become more resourceful and accurate.

– Connectivity. This crisis demonstrated that keeping up an inflexible SC with no variety of partners, suppliers, or marketing channels leads your company to breakdown. Therefore, 2021 will demand collaboration and the expansion of networks.

Change your current model for a network one because SC management will be mostly interconnected and circular. It will be essential to count on a wide-ranging network of suppliers and make the most of every single marketing channel, from retailers and distributors to online and direct selling.

The IoT represents the outmost of the Connectivity picture, as it boosts transparency crosswise SCs. For instance, GPS sensors, fitted in different means of transportation like trucks, present live-location tracking. When used in warehouses, sensors better visibility in inventory management, while those in retail outlets help determine demand. You can easily use them from top to bottom in your SC to improve efficiency, reduce interruption, proactively meet customer’s orders, and ultimately build up ROI.

– Big Data – The force of a digital SC is data. An organisation furnished with the correct data and the technology to examine such data can achieve digital transformation to manage its SCs. Designing a Digital Twin strategy you get near real-time visibility of alternative sources, foster collaboration among suppliers via electronic-data transactions and value-added networks, and build control-towers for getting an end-to-end view of potential risks, inventory, and shipments.

– Digital Twin tech performs as a virtual interpretation of a business’ SC; organisations can shape a wide range of possibilities to warrant what they can measure and get ready for whichever disruption they experience.

– Blockchain – Although Blockchain is in its early phases, several analysts believe it will finally get a place in SC processes, reaching its full oncoming years. The transparency Blockchain offers the central element in any SC. It also brings an incorruptible-digital ledger impossible to forfeit; once stored in, nobody can manipulate it.

The Focus on Omnichannel Operations

2020 demonstrated that to be successful, boost resilience and guarantee business’s stability, companies must capitalise on each existing channel — eCommerce, direct-to-consumer, retail, distributors. If disruptions occur due to human-made reasons or natural causes, processes should go on.

Consolidate demands within all channels, and check every phase of supply, even containers on ships, so you can boost service levels, grow revenues, and reduce costs.

It results in supplying them through a direct-convenient-shopping experience. Whether consumers are shopping in-store or online, your business demands for appropriate-omnichannel services.

There is a greater demand for Logistics when purchasing and delivering happen simultaneously. An assortment of e-commerce fulfillment models encompassing pickups-at-store and home-direct delivery requires quicker synchronisation among manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers.

Further comments: despite how 2021 evolves, the SC will play a central role in its outcomes. Omnichannel and collaboration stand for the future of SCs; both support your customers’ shopping preference and experience when adding digital skills.

Is your business changing accordingly?

Dave Food

Prophetic Technology M: +44 7775 861863


Photo credit: Prophetic Technology

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