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Top 3 of the Top 10 Supply Chain Trends for the Next 10 years

My top 3 from the article “10 Supply Chain Trends for the Next 10 Years” published last year on SupplyChain247 by Sumatra Sengupta. Why these 3, one may ask? Simple reason. Because these 3 will impact us and most likely be the areas where we, in turn, can make the most impact. So here goes:

  1. Service Chains will become more important than product chains.
    Service Chains in some sense is just an extension of the product chain, the latter responsible for the flow (forward and reverse) of products and the former for flow of services (mostly forward). The primary difference being that the product flow stops at the point of sale and the service flow can extend beyond. Product Chains can usually be well supported using your traditional enterprise applications like ERP, MRP, MES and Planning while Service Chains will require some of the newer applications like Supplier and Customer Relations Management, Event Management, Planning for Spares/ Repair Services etc.  Most of these applications work on a reactive mode taking inputs or interrupts from the user and to some extent on a predictive mode with the help of planning and heuristics. But the real future lies in making them work on a fully predictive –auto pilot model i.e. building planning capabilities inside the applications, making sense of social media trends and big data, integrating with RFID, NFC and the Industrial Internet.
  2. Companies will need to fully report corporate externalities.
    Financials Audits alone will be a thing of the past. Enterprises are coming under increased pressure to report on Foreign Trade and Sustainability data like Country of Origin/Assembly, Carbon Foot Print, Fair Trade Practices etc. Not only will these be made regulatory by law but mandatory by the marketplace, as Geo Economic considerations are becoming increasingly relevant in customers buying patterns. Along these lines, software to manage Global Trade, Sustainability and even Batch Traceability will become mainstream after having spent nearly a decade as a ‘novelty’ item.
  3. Technology to support SCM will primarily be “on tap”.
    I will take this one step further: “All software will be on tap”. It has to be that way. Internet speeds, cloud computing, SaaS, Internet of Things etc. lead to one conclusion.  Your hardware will not be on premise – will be hosted on cloud; your users will not be on premise ( at least not all of them) and will work via mobile devices; your data will be all over the place. So why will your software alone be on premise? It most certainly will NOT!!It will be pulled down from the cloud only when needed and charged on a subscription model; will be platform/device independent like a Force.Com app working with ECC Data on an iOS device. This would mean that some areas where traditional services are offered, like hardware/software maintenance, patches, and version updates etc. will make way for newer offerings like hosting services, Mobile Device Management etc.

– Sujan Muraleeswaran, Senior Manager, Bristlecone

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