A massive effort is currently underway to try and future-proof supply chains from the next major disruption. From the pandemic and ongoing product shortages to the blockage in the Suez Canal and natural disasters, companies are frantically contending with the critical need to make supply chains more resilient. One way companies are building resiliency into supply chains is by incorporating automation within facilities to keep pace with growing consumer demand while mitigating the potential impact of external disruptions. How can automation protect against supply chain vulnerabilities? What did we learn from the pandemic, and what are the consequences who didn't take the lesson to heart?
The year 2019 seemed to be the year of unpredictability, not the least of which was the seemingly ever-changing foreign trade policy of major world economies. Interestingly, it's that same unpredictable nature of foreign trade policy that serves as a springboard for supply chain predictions for 2020. Here are the top five predictions that will have a major impact on the world's global supply chains. Historically, digital transformation of the supply chain has taken place by targeting various functional silos within their own walls. This approach lacked the ability to evaluate the interconnected nature of supply chain decisions.
As we have reached the end of 2021, my inbox has become stuffed with the now customary batch of emails, from tech companies and their PR agencies, sharing management's thoughts on what next year will hold for us, in the world of data, analytics and AI. As ever, the annual exercise of compiling sage predictions about the upcoming year, from executives around the industry, was a big effort. In fact, once all the prediction emails were consolidated, a 50-page document resulted. As with any big data exercise, my goal was to aggregate the data into groupings I could organize it by, both to tame the volume of the data and because the groupings are themselves instructive. This year, most of the predictions were not about particular technologies, like Hadoop, Kafka or Spark.
Supply chain and manufacturing environments are evolving rapidly in the face of industry 4.0 advancements and the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations across industries are trying to navigate this challenging landscape and implement technologies, processes, and operations that help them connect all the different components that make up their business. Ronald van Loon is a SAP partner and had the opportunity to discuss the state of supply chain and manufacturing industry 4.0 in the SAP webinar "Digital Supply Chain: Industry 4.0." Ronald also sat down with Tom Raftery, Global VP, Futurist, and Innovation Evangelist at SAP, and was interviewed in a podcast about the latest challenges, developments, and trends in supply chain industry 4.0. Building the right digital and data-driven foundation is crucial for industry 4.0 developments.
Supply chain management has become a vital strategic opportunity to keep organizations competitive and this statement has taken even more precedence due to the current pandemic situation that the world is facing. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in some sort of supply chain disruption related to transportation restrictions created by the lockdown and the economic impact caused by it will be felt for months to come. But at the same time, there has been a sudden increase in the adoption of digital technologies like algorithm development, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things, and cloud computing to make supply chain management ever-evolving. Artificial Intelligence with the help of automated technology processes a large amount of data within few minutes to provide business-based insightful information. AI is already beginning to change the face of the supply chain industry.