The process of production and distribution of products and services from the initial to the final stages is a very important aspect of businesses. Companies have put in place networks to ensure raw materials are converted into final products used by the final consumers.
When we talk of a supply chain and the strategies involved, what do we mean? Let’s dig dip into the supply chains and the trends we can look forward to in 2021.
What is a Supply Chain?
A supply chain is a system that connects companies and their suppliers for the production and distribution of specific products to buyers. The interaction between companies and their suppliers involves various things ranging from activities, personnel, information, resources, and entities such as warehouses, vendors, distributors, and retailers.
Additionally, the supply chain also deals with the steps and processes involved for a product or service to be generated from its original state to the state acceptable to the final consumer. Such steps range from how the raw materials are moved and transformed into finished products, the transportation, and distribution to the consumer.
What is a Supply Chain Strategy?
Every company has a strategy in the business to help figure out how they can compete in the market and increase their profitability. Such strategies are made even in the companies’ supply chains to enable them to organize resources and grow in the business.
Therefore, what is a supply chain strategy? A supply chain strategy is a plan on how the supply chain of a company will operate and function in the business market to meet the goals and expectations of the company or organization. Whenever a strategy is mentioned, even in a business, the process in question is considered vital and is given the needed attention and importance. No doubt then that a company needs a supply chain strategy to help it figure out how to compete.
Supply Chain Trends in 2021
A supply chain is an integral part of any company. With the supply chain strategy and an effective supply chain in place, a company can be ready and confident in the competitive business environment. Furthermore, the right supply chain can increase the profitability of a company.
Therefore, with the constant development of technology, and the effects of the global pandemic felt in the industry, the future of the supply chain is a concern. The following are the trends that a company or a supply chain team needs to know, watch out for, and incorporate in 2021;
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Industries are continually adopting automation and since there is success in the attempts, the trend is more likely to grow even stronger. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has not been left behind in the supply chain industry. With the incorporation of AI, a supply chain can get the basic operations performed automatically to save on time.
Moreover, the adoption of AI minimizes errors that can be experienced in the course of operations. Furthermore, a supply chain can use AI technology to forecast what can take place in the future such as the demand for products. In 2021, many companies can adopt this trend for their supply chain operations.
Having same-day delivery of goods and services can be said to be every customer’s dream. However, this is not easily achievable with logistics. Therefore, a company can adopt blockchain technology to help solve the problem and have less disruption when offering services to their customers.
With blockchain, products do not go through the intermediaries. On the contrary, they are delivered to the customer directly. Moreover, the system of blockchain technology ensures security and transparency in the distribution of digital data. Besides, blockchain technology is not only safe but also fast and cost-effective. Therefore, a business can adopt this in their online payment sites for safe transactions
Internet of Things (IoT)
Businesses have to manage their data and inventories properly. The good news is that there is an automatic way that can be used to get this done in the entire system of the supply chain. Employing an IoT system will help collect data into one central system from which they will be analyzed. When a sensor is fitted in a company’s warehouse, for example, it helps in inventory management since visibility is improved.
Moreover, IoT technology enhances transparency in the supply chain. Before the distribution of goods to the consumer, a company can fit GPS sensors in the modes of transportation used to track the location. Companies that use IoT increase their efficiency and gauge demand thereby responding to it before it occurs.
Thanks to technology, there is the application of robots in various companies. Reports show that many companies have adopted this technology in their supply chain since it plays an important role. It is not surprising to see various companies and organizations using drones to get their operations such as the delivery of products done.
Also, other companies have incorporated the use of driverless vehicles in their logistics. This reduces costs and enhances efficiency in service delivery to customers. Moreover, there are lesser chances of errors occurring. With constant robotic automation, it is expected that there are many advancements to be made, therefore, supply chain industries should take advantage.
The environment is a great factor to consider whenever a company manages its production activities. Therefore, it is becoming very important for supply chain businesses to practice eco-friendly activities to help save the environment and minimize costs.
Additionally, if an organization focuses on green logistics, the benefits are experienced by everyone, including the consumers. In this way, the company’s brand grows, and the clients become loyal to your business. Furthermore, f your company ensures cost-effectiveness and prioritizes sustainability, it is more likely to grow faster than one which does not.
Producing a product from its raw material to distributing the result to the final consumer requires an established supply chain. With a supply chain and a supply chain strategy, a company can compete and increase its profitability. Additionally, some trends can be incorporated into the operations of a supply chain to enhance efficiency and reduce cost.