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There are many elements that go into predicting the Supply Chain of 2030. But most importantly, what current trends and technology will fall by the wayside, and which will become industry standards?

Our approach is based on the premise that Best-in-Class companies, those that represent the top-performing 20%, are good indicators for the next 5-10 years of change based on their leadership and adoption of new technology and capabilities. And though there will likely be a few unforeseen changes, it will be these new technologies, policies, and business models that drive innovation over the coming years.

Technology Influencers

An important unifying concept to the Supply Chain of 2030 is that the logic of the past has been defined by the uncertainty of information. The future will be dictated by the greater certainty of what the customer will order, how much inventory is needed and where, as well as the timing of maintenance or replacement parts. Through Industry 4.0 technologies, like those mentioned below, the connectivity and certainty of supply chain data, as well as the speed of that information flow will be enhanced.

Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) are already driving change and influencing processes in ways never before imagined. The connectivity between devices and equipment, along with the resulting data, enables processes from design to planning to be automated, ultimately improving execution quality and efficiency.

Big data and analytics as a term, is often overused, but when it is estimated that we use less than 30% of the data we collect, applying analytics and data science to that untapped information is sure to unearth patterns that will improve predictability and actionable intelligence. As more data is incorporated and leveraged to improve machine learning capabilities, the greater the predictability accuracy will be.

3D printing is already having an impact on supply chains as well, affecting inventory deployment and order fulfillment strategies as production occurs closer to the point of need, improving postponement strategies. This positioning of manufacturing closer to the need will lead to lower logistics costs due to less movement of goods. 3-D printing is also having a significant impact on prototyping during the product innovation and design process, as well as the service parts business.

Mobility is a tremendous tool for providing applications that improve the quality of life by offering access and connectivity. In supply chains, it has enabled the real-time capture of all transactions, to paint an accurate picture of inventory positions, eliminating reviews and accelerating processes.

The Digital economy has increased the speed of business and accessibility of data to put consumers in command. They can access, find, and order virtually anything from anywhere, with delivery options that meet their needs.

Cloud computing, on the other hand, has had an impact on how companies rethink their IT strategy. It is also the tool driving businesses back to standard processes, thus reducing the upgrade impact, and enabling companies to adopt software innovation more quickly. Time to value and TCO (total cost of ownership) have both improved as well. The Cloud enables integration and connectivity as well as a migration path for additional functionality, without a complete “rip and replace” approach that often meant trouble for many enterprise software initiatives.

The vision for the Supply Chain of 2030 is one of a seamless end-to-end supply chain, with visibility into planning and execution at all levels. This starts with product innovation and customer centric requirements to the upstream shipments from long tail suppliers, all the way through to customer fulfillment.

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Industry 4.0 will be a huge enabler for data visibility to all levels, from in-house manufacturing, suppliers and logistics partners, or customers and distribution centers. The supply chain will no longer be driven by uncertainty in demand and execution capabilities, but will instead be characterized by continuous collaboration and a seamless flow of information.

To embrace the Supply Chain of 2030, companies should follow the Best-in-Class to extend collaboration and visibility across the end-to-end supply chain. In doing so, all data can be seamlessly connected in order to make better decisions and improve performance.

To learn more, read the full report.

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