In 2015, many supply chain trends came to the forefront. Logistics collaboration, omnichannel services, and the trucker shortage all became relevant topics of discussion. So the questions is, what can we expect in 2016? New supply chain trends are emerging quickly. Although there are many answers, we will be taking a look at a few trends that are already causing firms to rethink their strategy.
Online and Offline Fusion
With the number of digital buyers increasing every year, there is no doubt that firms need to adapt. As a result, omnichannel will likely remain in the spotlight. Online buyers want a seamless experience between their online and offline worlds. They want to know where their products are and be able to reserve them in stores or for next day delivery.
What does this mean for supply chains? It means distribution centers (DCs) will become smaller and pop up in more locations closer to consumers. To shorten the transportation, large retail locations could even begin to double as DCs. We can’t deny the surge in online demand, Instead, now is the time to reshape your supply chain to meet it. This online and offline fusion will be vital in 2016.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Recently, companies are making big changes to improve the corporate image of their supply chains. For example, in the food industry with the cage free movement or the findings in the Thai shrimp industry. Customers want quality but they also want it made the “right way.” Having a socially responsible supply chain is no longer something that is “nice to do.” For one reason or another, it is becoming necessary in most business models.
Companies are taking steps to increase visibility in their supply chain. Special attention is on their supplier operations. Customers are setting standards and companies have to ensure they are being met. As consumers adapt, firms need to follow. Doing thorough research into suppliers before setting up contracts is only the first step. More frequent monitoring is now highly demanded of firms. So much so that supply chain monitoring as a service is emerging. As a result, you need to start taking steps to be responsible in your supply chain.
Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been a hot topic for many years. When it first emerged everyone thought it was going to take right away. However, the high cost of early RFID items made many hesitant to adopt the tech. The initial benefits remain, and further benefits are only now becoming more apparent as companies experiment with the technology. RFID adoption is expected to grow at a rate just over 20% for the next few years. With more and more companies taking it on, an industry standard has begun to form. Although it was a slow start, RFID is starting to take off. RFID can greatly help increase visibility, provide real-time updates, and help gather more data.
How should you prepare for this trend in your own organization? First, do your research. Get an in-depth understanding of the techand the benefits it can provide to you. Next, consider launching a pilot of RFID adoption to see what your ROI will be. RFID is going to be making (radio) waves in 2016.
In past years, we have already seen the effects of these trends on supply chains. This will only continue to grow as we head into the New Year. It is important to stay on top of these trends and adapt your operations accordingly.