5 Supply Chain and Logistics Trends to Watch: 2016

Our previous article depicted a ground breaking development where IoT laid the ground for new matrix territories that will change consumption as we the consumers know it, for good. A digital upgrade to the commerce platform where electronic shifts to programmatic, yet, advancing optimization with even more convenience and creative new windows of opportunities for businesses keeping in step with the Tech frontier. Logistics, nonetheless, is advancing along the e-optimization, as well, thus, this article sets out to explore just that; breaking grounds in Supply Chain dynamics. Many factors emerged in 2015 as industrial influencers. Namely foremost, yet again, were the Social Media. 

Social medial found a new productive channel among users and become the ultimate platform for engaging with primary sources of information, staying informed and knowledge sharing. New Supply Chain dynamics developed along last year, where we saw numerous news articles, clips, videos, information, and words of mouths went viral in the matrix in 2015, including Twitter’s “#supplychain” Hashtag. The Supply Chain group in LinkedIn saw a member increase to 3,000 at year end. As oppose to the hitherto facebook era where viewers would have to visit one news hub at a time while weeding through the massive contents, now days viewers can receive news feed from hundreds, and should you care to – thousands, of credential news hubs that at any minute shares breaking news and interesting discoveries for free (of course, they do hope you sign up eventually, and many do, just for the love and gratitude of having such a quality of life around).

The subsequent phenomenon was innovation in Logistics where the two logistics giants like Amazon and Uberled by example with industry-level evolutions. Aside from with Amazon’s PrimeNow and Uber’s New Sharing Economy concept, innovation stemmed from smaller retailers, such as Doorman’s Package Delivery & Return Shipping that promises zero delays, Roadie the first on-the-way carpooling delivery network, or Deliveroo’s Restaurant Food Delivery, to name a few that all of which allowed customers to interact through App Store Apps. Hire a developer with pricey quotes, or, thank App venders like Mobincube and create your own with affordable quotes. Last but not least, Transparency and Corporate Social Responsibility in business operations where the attitude transitioned from Should to Must, thereby, fine-tuning itself to the new found oversight and inspection standards. Thus, the three adjustments collective lay the foundation for outlooks going forward.

1. Fast, Faster, Now: Now-Delivery:The Same-Day Delivery pitch has dominated marketing estates for quite some time. Now, a trendier phase is taking over – the era of “Now-Delivery”. If you guessed it right, as the giant online retailer fires out packages to door steps at the speed of light and pinpoint accuracy, IoT takes your order through handheld devices, locates the closest provider, and delivers within one hour of submitting the order – with flying drones.

2. Augmented reality (AR) in Logistics:Unlike virtual reality, AR combines reality with created images and information, thus making it a “totally artificial environment”. AR became a reality in 2015 when Germany launched the Smart Glass prototype which is now used to optimize the picking and processing through Volkswagen’s pick-by-vision. Smart Glass’s intelligent application of Augmented Reality can handle storage operations through digital data analysis which enhances logistics implementation.  Smart Factory and Smart Warehouse that employs robotic applications and automated processies that tandems man’s creative power, thus, reduces required human resources and idle time are also fetching reality that should see concrete results in the later part of 2016.

Note : AR is a technology that fetches and adds functional data pertaining to an object, structure or location in a view, as well as particular sounds, GPS locators, and so on. The system then creates additional information to the original attributes that provides the viewer with interactive qualitative insights. A good example of AR application is the Wikitude’s World Browser (www.wikitude.com) which is creative and fun and opens up to new discoveries by simply positioning the mobile camera to major attractions around the viewer. Interactive information with descriptions pops out for you to explore and engage with. In summary, AR superimposes a mixed reality of the real world and the virtual world with overlapping three-dimensional multi-layer images onto the original plain-eye view.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) enters the next phase:AI is not just a product of imagination in the movies anymore. It has become multi-billion dollar investment instead. By 2020 10 million unmanned units, Self-driving Cars or Autonomous Vehicles are expected to be on the road all over the world, while manufacturing goes through intensive advancement to the Industry 4.0 model which combines AI with robots to perform various complex processes at unheard of speed, raising production potential to the new era of Smart Factories.

4. Agile is the new lean:Lean Management use to be the catch phrase for efficient organizational structure and operation. But when Lean Management no longer has an answer to rapidly changing economic and IoT dynamics, customers start to look for more adaptive solutions. When the entire operating platform alters, optimization of obsolete legacy systems go out the window and a new focus on long-term survivability takes center stage. 2016 going forward, businesses that are well adapted to cheap-clean energy, reduced footprints, sharing concepts, informative labeling, Big Data, and last but perhaps most importantly, the shift in overall consumption attitude, will be best equipped to do just that – survive, and therefore, have a better shot at glory when the storm settles. Between present and future, processes must be flexible and interactive (Agility), yet, maintaining the capacity to ensure the highest quality delivery possible.Note : Agile management, therefore, is ability to cope with unforeseen events, weather the storm as they come as well as adjust to the new directions after, through accurate and well informed decision making.

5. Not just a silent companion:Logistics and Supply Chain management must have the ability to analyze trends qualitatively and horizontally to accurately decide. The ability to embrace, improvise and invent as well as walk the teamwork tightrope will become a Core Competency to effectively coordinate all fronts involved and optimize an adaptive platform for successful operations. Human Resource Competency, nevertheless, has never been a more crucial a success factor. Sufficient applicable and on-going training for Human Resource is therefore a necessary investment for any organization that wishes to compete into the horizon.

As we learn of the existing trends for the year that businesses must adapt to and identify windows of opportunities from, news trends are already forming. How do we cope with them? Stay tuned – SCG Logistics Blog will keep you in the loop.

Compiled by  BLOG.SCGLogistics
Reference and Picture  inventory-and-supplychain-blog.com, sipaedumarket.wordpress.com

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