In this article, we will explore the latest supply chain trends: digitalisation, sustainability and resilience.
What is digitalisation?
Digitalisation refers to the use of technology in order to improve efficiency or productivity in a business process. The benefits of digitalisation include faster decision-making processes and improved visibility into your supply chain network.
Digitalisation is therefore the process of digitising information and data, which allows it to be stored, shared and analysed digitally. It’s a major trend in supply chain management because it helps organisations to use technology more effectively to improve performance across their supply chains.
Digitalisation offers many benefits:
- Improved efficiency – it reduces costs by reducing errors and speeding up processes
- Better quality – digital systems can ensure that products are made correctly every time, so there are fewer faulty items shipped out into the marketplace
- Greater visibility into operations – with real-time data available from sensors placed on equipment or vehicles throughout your supply chain network (for example), you have better insight into what’s happening at each step along the way
What is Sustainability?
Sustainability is the practice of maintaining the health, diversity and productivity of our natural environment for present and future generations. It has been defined as “the ability to meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability to meet the needs of future generations.”
Sustainable supply chains use resources efficiently, minimise waste and have low carbon footprints. They also aim to protect biodiversity by minimising impacts on ecosystems such as forests or wetlands through reducing deforestation or pollution from pesticides used in agriculture production processes. Sustainable supply chains can help reduce poverty by creating jobs while ensuring that workers are paid fair wages so they can support their families with dignity.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is the ability to recover from a disturbance and carry on with business as usual. It’s not just about bouncing back from a crisis, but also being able to navigate through changes in the market or industry without losing momentum.
Resilient supply chains are flexible enough to adapt quickly when necessary, allowing them to avoid unnecessary costs or losses of revenue due to disruptions. They’re also better equipped for handling unexpected situations like natural disasters or geopolitical events that might cause supply chain disruptions elsewhere in the world–and can bounce back faster than their less resilient counterparts once those disruptions have passed by.
The Role of Technology in Digitalisation, Sustainability, and Resilience
Technology is a key driver of digitalisation, sustainability and resilience. It can be used to improve efficiency in the supply chain by automating processes and creating new ones that were not previously possible. For example, blockchain technology has been used to develop payment systems that allow for faster payments between buyers and sellers without requiring intermediaries such as banks or governments.
Technology also makes it easier for companies to track their products throughout the supply chain by providing real-time data about where goods are located at any given time–and this information can be accessed anywhere in the world through mobile apps on smartphones or tablets (or even smartwatches). This allows companies to make better decisions about how much inventory they need on hand at each stage of production so there aren’t any shortages when products reach consumers’ hands; if something goes wrong somewhere along this journey, then someone from headquarters will know immediately rather than waiting until after several days have passed before hearing about any issues from local staff members who may not even know what happened themselves!
How Companies are Embracing Digitalisation, Sustainability, and Resilience
Digitalisation, sustainability and resilience are three of the biggest trends in supply chain management today. But how can companies embrace these trends? Let’s take a look at some examples of companies that have embraced digitalisation and sustainability, as well as their benefits:
- Amazon has created its own private cloud infrastructure for its global operations. This allows them to store information on servers located at different locations around the world so they can easily access it anywhere in real time without having to wait for data transfer speeds from one location to another. This helps improve productivity by reducing delays caused by poor network connections or other technical issues encountered during data transfers between various locations within an organisation’s supply chain network structure (SCNS).
- Apple uses renewable energy sources like solar panels on their facilities worldwide instead of fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas because they’re more environmentally friendly than traditional forms of power generation which produce harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into our atmosphere when burned up during combustion processes inside power plants’ furnaces/boilers etc.
The Challenges of Implementing Digitalisation, Sustainability, and Resilience
The latest supply chain trends are creating a lot of buzz in the industry. But what does it mean for you? How can you implement these new ideas into your business model without disrupting your day-to-day operations?
Here are some of the biggest challenges that companies face when trying to adopt these three key strategies:
- Resistance to change: One of the biggest challenges companies face is a resistance to change. Implementing new technologies or processes can be difficult, especially if employees are used to doing things a certain way. Resistance to change can lead to delays in implementation and even failure of the project.
- Lack of expertise: Implementing digitalisation, sustainability, and resilience strategies requires specialised knowledge and expertise. Companies may lack the in-house expertise required to implement these strategies, or they may struggle to find experienced professionals to hire.
- Cost: Implementing these strategies can be expensive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The cost of implementing new technology, hiring experts, and making sustainability improvements can be prohibitive for some companies.
- Data security concerns: Digitalisation requires the use of data, and companies must ensure that their data is secure. Cybersecurity threats are increasing, and companies must take steps to protect their data from breaches and attacks.
- Lack of standards: There are currently no universal standards for digitalisation, sustainability, and resilience in supply chains. This can make it difficult for companies to implement these strategies in a consistent and effective manner.
- Supply chain complexity: Many supply chains are complex and involve multiple stakeholders, including suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and customers. Implementing digitalisation, sustainability, and resilience strategies can be challenging in such complex environments.
Companies face several challenges when trying to adopt digitalisation, sustainability, and resilience strategies in their supply chains. These challenges include resistance to change, lack of expertise, cost, data security concerns, lack of standards, and supply chain complexity. Overcoming these challenges will be crucial for companies that want to remain competitive and meet the changing demands of their customers and stakeholders.
The Future of Supply Chain Trends
The future of supply chain trends is one that will be shaped by digitalisation, sustainability and resilience. Digitalisation has been a major driver of change in the supply chain for decades, but it’s only recently that we’ve seen real advancements in how we use technology to improve efficiency and reduce waste.
Sustainability has also been a growing concern for businesses over the last few years; consumers are demanding more environmentally friendly products from their favourite brands, which means companies need to find ways to meet those demands while still being competitive in terms of price point or quality. Finally, resilience refers not only to how well your business can withstand disruptions like natural disasters but also whether or not you have systems in place that allow you to quickly recover once those disruptions occur (e.g., having backup suppliers).
In conclusion, digitalisation, sustainability, and resilience are increasingly important trends in supply chain management. Implementing these strategies can help companies to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and better respond to disruptions. However, companies also face several challenges when trying to adopt these strategies, including resistance to change, lack of expertise, cost, data security concerns, lack of standards, and supply chain complexity. Overcoming these challenges will be crucial for companies that want to remain competitive and meet the changing demands of their customers and stakeholders. By embracing digitalisation, sustainability, and resilience, companies can create more sustainable and resilient supply chains that benefit both the environment and their bottom line. With the right approach and support, companies can successfully implement these strategies and lead the way in creating a more sustainable and resilient future for supply chain management.