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5 Supply Chain Predictions for 2015

An overview of the issues likely to affect supply chains

25Feb

In this article we will take a look at some of the biggest issues affecting the supply chain world.

From digital supply chains to the internet of things, there are a variety of issues for supply chain leaders to consider this year, and in this article we delve into what they mean for companies.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT has the potential to reshape the supply chain relatively quickly. Whilst its impact may not be fully felt this year, 2015 will see many important developments.

This explosion of intelligent devices will allow supply chains to communicate in new and unheard of ways. With the introduction of RFID tags we've already seen companies take advantage of new technologies to better track their products, and it's likely that this trend will only pick up steam as companies become more comfortable with it.

When coupled together, this will make demand much easier to track and make supply chains more efficient.

Digital Supply Chains

So far, the digital supply chain hasn't worked out as well as it could have. The truth is that there's just too much information for current tools to keep up with, meaning that digital supply chains aren't actually representative of what the real-life supply chain has achieved.

In 2015 there's a great opportunity for someone to create a scalable single purpose technology solution that levels the playing field between digital and real-life supply chains. Unfortunately, we're all still unsure about exactly what this will be, but it will be needed nevertheless.

Increase in Robotics

2015 could be the year where we see robotics emerge to counteract the limitations of complicated automated warehouses.

Like with the IoT, this is a trend which won't hit its peak by the end of 2015, but will see substantial progress.

The introduction of robotics will bring increased efficiency, lower costs and less complicated warehouses as robots begin to communicate with one another.

Manufacturing Postponement

Because the IoT will bring more real-time date to the equation, companies will start to postpone manufacturing until they are certain of the demand level.

This will primarily mean that companies will half produce an item and satisfy demand when it's needed. For example, imagine you're a manufacturer at a Premier League football team and there's a degree of uncertainly about whether a new player will sell shirts. Instead of making a prediction based upon projected demand, companies can satisfy real-time demand and make sure that they don't overproduce a particular product.

More emphasis on security

As mentioned before, there will be considerable amounts of data at the disposal of organisations. Whilst there have already been steps towards improving cyber security, companies will have to strengthen their rearguard even more in 2015.

This will shape supply chain strategies and be a pressing issue for senior management.

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