Digital supply chain trends and innovations are not only an interesting topic for all professionals in the manufacturing ecosystem but a crucial part of everyday learning and keeping up-to-date with the changing business environment. One of Friction Free Community’s main purposes is to provide strategic and relevant information that helps supply chain leaders in decision-making and supply chain development.
This article highlights four essential supply chain trends that will have a significant impact in the manufacturing industry during the next years: Digital Transformation, Supply Chain Transparency and Flexibility, Cloud-Based Services, and Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.
After interviewing many professionals about digital supply chain trends, it has become clear that digital transformation is the most important of all supply chain trends. We see it as the main impactor that brings together all other pieces of the puzzle; with the right tools, you get transparency, flexibility, innovative environment, and an open culture for new experiments, like AI and blockchain.
Even though digital solutions have been taking over for the past 30 years, digital collaboration between companies is still in most cases not as smooth and efficient as it could be. Well, what can we do about it? You can start by reading our previous article about digital transformation.
Supply Chain Transparency and Flexibility
We dare to claim that transparency is one of the most important topics within the digital supply chain. People need to know what’s going on. To succeed in the ecosystem economy the accurate and real-time information should be available whenever needed. Many of our authors, like Eszter Dean from Alfa Laval Corporation and Olli Nastamo from Outotec Plc., emphasize the importance of using digital solutions in creating a transparent environment for supply chain collaboration.
Transparency and flexibility go hand in hand. There’s a huge need for a change from hierarchal business relationships to connected organizations where innovations are encouraged in open collaboration, despite company boundaries and hierarchical roles. Keeping an open mind and innovative attitude towards finding better ways of managing supply chains can help tremendously in saving time, earning money, and redirecting human resources into value-added activities. Also, benchmarking to companies in other industries is always a good idea for finding more flexible and transparent procedures.
“The software is eating this modern world, and we must, in turn, eat software. Software as such has become a horizontal practice which gives the manufacturing industry an amazing opportunity to be a place where innovation can happen.” This was the main message by Mårten Mickos, CEO of HackerOne in Silicon Valley when we interviewed him about digital supply chain trends. Also, from our experience, the supply chain performance can be greatly improved by switching to a cloud-based platform that allows everyone in the chain to see real-time data, without unnecessary and time-consuming manual processes.
AI & Blockchain
Artificial intelligence and blockchain can be seen as a rather new, disruptive digital supply chain trends that require decision-makers attention, whether they want it or not. AI can reinvent business models and ecosystems, and even automate entire process flows. The blockchain is another emerging trend that most supply chain professionals want to learn more about before making decisions. It offers a good solution for traceability and an increase in efficiency, as every transaction is always presented transparently.
We’ll take a closer look at each digital supply chain trend, one by one, in our future articles and interviews. Right now, which one is the most important in your business development?