Preparing for the future of the supply chain

////Preparing for the future of the supply chain

The supply chain is something that must always be monitored and tracked, but there is a new level of an organization's ability to do this today when compared to just five or 10 years ago. Shipping professional Craig Simon wrote on Supply Chain Digital that everything will become faster, less expensive and safer in the future, so organizations should be looking out for industry trends to see where they can revamp their supply chain with tools such as tracking systems and time trackers to run more efficiently.

"Today, many larger companies already have teams charged with managing 'control towers' to monitor disruptions in the supply chain, whether from a weather event, a mechanical breakdown or, for that matter, civil unrest," he said. "[Twenty] years from now ever more advanced algorithms will constantly compute speed versus cost ratios for each one of us, generating global options to re-route a shipment, or speed it up, or to slow it down."

With a more data and information than ever before, organizations that properly take advantage of new and innovative tools that are available should be able to get a better level of security throughout the supply chain, Simon said. This will help companies determine the status of a shipment, its location and when it will arrive at its destination. With this will come improved customer satisfaction, more trust and better revenue.

Outside of software, the litany of new shipping and consolidation options from knowing new data should help organizations better serve customers as well. Simon said that sustainability in this industry will be essential and quoted Dr. Edgar Blanco of MIT who spoke about some other ways efficiency and technology improvements will help the supply chain.

"We've been great at getting something to you," Blanco said. "What we haven't been so great at is getting that thing that we gave you back. Trying to extract more value either as materials that you can recover, recycle, or maybe even to give that same product to other people after you're done with it."

Getting the most out of new data
Lora Cecere of Supply Chain Insights wrote on Data Informed that there are many areas where supply chain executives should look to utilize big data within their solutions. While it is still early, she said business leaders must be involved and organizations should look to get ahead of competitors to ensure they are in complete control.

Some steps she suggested include:
Build a team across the company that will focus on the end to end supply chain process
– Don't get caught up in arguments on what the supply chain is or should entail, simply move forward
– Start small with the solution and build up to something bigger and better
– Give money for innovations to make sure the process can grow well and organically

Cecere also said businesses should consolidate data management and business intelligence efforts with business goals to ensure they are getting the best results.