Supply chain management is an industry in a state of constant flux. As technological improvements and logistics as a whole become more efficient and effective at moving products around, companies will continue to innovate and expand their services. In 2018 we already saw a vast improvement in the visibility of supply chains and the communication structures that surround and inform them.
As we close out the end of 2018 and enjoy the holidays, it’s time to start looking at what changes will be coming to the industry in 2019. To help prepare you for what’s coming next in the industry, we’ve isolated three major supply chain trends that we think will make a big impact in 2019, as well as inform you as to why they should be on your radar.
Supply Chain Trends: The Ascent of Big Data
Big data is coming whether we like it or not. In 2018 we saw more and more companies embrace big data analytics as part of their logistics, and in 2019 more will follow. When it comes to optimizing resource allocation and tracking goods, the impact that the technology will have will be absolutely revolutionary.
But it’s not just about blindly embracing technology. The key is to trust in time-tested processes and years of experience while also using the analytic insights of big data to dig deeper into problem areas in your supply chain. In a culture of constant improvement, you can make these logistical changes smoothly and effortlessly, without any major disruption in the chain.
Supply Chain Trends: Increased use of Blockchain Technology
Blockchain has been a newsworthy item for the past few years even though many people still don’t truly understand its capabilities. In 2019 we can expect blockchain technology to make a big impact on the supply chain industry. Blockchain’s value as a distributed digital ledger could help simplify an overly complicated global supply chain and add much-needed efficiency and transparency.
With a shared, unalterable ledger in the hands of each player in the supply chain, the possible changes seem endless. Payment will be easier and more secure when paying through blockchain since it doesn’t require a traditional bank. Knowledge and insight into details like food sources will be available since blockchain can record each step of
the supply chain. With more widespread use of blockchain in 2019, the global supply chain will be more transparent than ever before.
Supply Chain Trends: Industry Consolidation Will Continue
Over the last few years we’ve seen an increase in the amount of consolidation in the logistics industry. Current signs point to this trend continuing into 2019, with fewer companies overall but major ones growing as they acquire and merge with other providers. Some worry that this could lead to higher service rates, though others argue it could also lead to better customer service and an increase in the “one-stop-shop” logistics model.
One big case of consolidation is in the area of ocean shipping, which has seen the emergence of several giant shipping alliances that dominate the industry. The case on land and in the air looks similar, with major players like UPS and FedEx continuing to acquire smaller companies and other third-party logistics providers merging to stay competitive.
In a nutshell, 2019 is shaping up to be a year of change and growth in the supply chain world. As always, those who keep up with changes will be able to adapt and adjust their services, while others will be left behind.