As we march towards the third quarter results of 2018, it is heartening to see global trade continuing its accelerated run in terms of complexity and volumes.
It is equally encouraging to go through WTO’s recent trade forecast that points towards improved growth and higher profits for world merchandise trading volumes. If you have been following market trends, then you are probably aware of how the grim and stagnating trade scenarios have taken an upturn across most major global economies this year.
Here is a quick rundown of some important supply chain trends impacting global businesses in 2018.
1. Omnichannel Flow Paths in Revenue Management
Online shopping giants like Amazon, eBay, Snapdeal, etc. are paving the path for other retail business houses to take up omnichannel initiatives. This is for increasing their sales and market share, as well as improving upon customer loyalty. If you have been driving unprofitable sales, then it’s time to take a long, harsh look at your true costs and margins right away. If you are a B2B company, you also need to bring about changes in your multichannel capabilities to keep in step with the current supply chain trends.
2. Labour Shortages, Logistics Workers and Automation
The driver shortage existing in the supply chain industry is becoming a big talking point. Even though new drivers can be attracted by raising wages, carriers are showing reluctance in embracing this tactic. In the given scenario, discussions regarding autonomous vehicles becoming a solution to this shortage is gaining momentum.
However, as the technical challenges to enable this cause are quite daunting, autonomous vehicles will not set to happen soon. Also, the impact of omnichannel, automation and ecommerce has led to increased picking and therefore a need for more warehouse workers in 2018.
3. Tariffs and Supply Chain Networks Globally
There are strong moves to install global tariffs and reinstate production back to the USA. This has led to critical scenario analyses by supply chain market watchers, globally. There is a strong and growing need for understanding, designing, and implementing the needed changes on a pre-emptive basis.
Under the circumstances, multinational companies are designing their supply chains after taking factors like fully landed costs, tariffs, lead times, supplier quality, reliability and regulatory issues into consideration.
4. Hype Related to Digital Technologies to Continue
Emerging technologies like blockchain, IoT, 3D printing, machine learning, autonomous mobile robots and other technologies will continue to be in the limelight in 2018. These emerging technologies are finding themselves at different points on the global supply chain maturity graphs. The autonomous mobile robots are approaching maturity rapidly and are impacting SCM processes in numerous ways.
5. Enterprise Mobility Penetration
Enterprise mobility and its penetration into supply chains are trending in a big way. Consumer-grade tablets, smartphones and other technology-enabled devices are replacing rugged, big budget mobile devices to provide the same capabilities—but at far lower cost tags.
Supply Chain Trends to Watch for in 2018
The other supply chain trends worth looking out for in 2018 include drones, sensor-equipped applications, IoT in SCM, etc. Though these technologies are not mature enough to cause serious disruptions in the industry before 2019 sets in, they will continue generating interest and experimentation.