When trends emerge in the world of business and industry, they offer unique insights and provide opportunities to explore customer expectations and work towards their satisfaction. The future requires that the blueprint for supply chain management evolves into a more effective and efficient model. The future of supply chain management involves a lot more than just inventory management and logistics; organizations are being forced to rethink their supply chain strategies since customers now have access to much more information and an unlimited array of choices.
For companies that want to gain the upper hand, it is essential that they take the bold and innovative step of setting up a supply chain based on lean principles. The emerging lean supply chain management trends have given countless businesses the edge they need over their competitors. Here are some key trends in this area.
Advanced Cloud Analytics and Big Data
As data security concerns quickly give way to the need for fast, high-powered and flexible computing, fear of the cloud has started to diminish. With legacy systems continuing to be retired, they are being replaced by cloud-based, on-demand data storage and management solutions. It is a trend that has been driven by the need for more responsive lean supply chains and the necessity of management teams to better grasp the drivers of logistics costs.
Without the help of technology, the above objectives are very difficult to achieve, ensuring that cloud computing gains favor as a quick and inexpensive way for an organization to gain the analytic capacity it needs. In addition, there have been tremendous improvements in data visualization to the point where it is not necessary to have specialized technical competency to understand and structure massive data sets generated by the supply chain processes.
With the foregoing, it is expected that we will continue to see cloud analysis of big data being adopted alongside the development of highly advanced analytics services and technology solutions focused on the lean supply chain.
Penetration of Enterprise Mobility Solutions into Supply Chain Management
In just a few short years, the concept of enterprise mobility has developed in leaps and bounds. Surprisingly, it has been less than 10 years since the first rugged, big-budget mobile devices started to find use within the warehouse environments and logistics operations of large businesses. Even more incredible is the fact that, in less than five years, they have become generally irrelevant, with consumer-level smartphones and tablets providing the same capabilities at a much lower price point.
The move toward people bringing their own devices to work is pervasive and, though it has seen a slower uptake in the field of logistics compared to many other areas of business, the popularity of supply chain management apps for lean organizations is definitely on the rise.
This trend is also driven in a major way by the pressure put on organizations by employees seeking mobile access to a range of business information systems as the awareness of enterprise mobility benefits increases.
Knowledge Is Becoming a Key Resource
To ensure that lean supply chains work as they should, knowledge of all the components, including supply on the upstream and distribution on the downstream, is required. This knowledge is usually in the hands of managers and operators. When any of these individuals leave a company, they take the supply chain knowledge with them.
The value of business knowledge in general, and that of the lean supply chain in particular, is something that many organizations have come to recognize in the last few years. This knowledge has not suddenly become a storable asset – it has always been. The thing is that enterprises have begun to understand that there is a need for them to retain this so-called “tribal” knowledge of the workings of the supply chain and propagate it.
Once again, technology has played a big part in this, by providing knowledge management strategies, knowledge bases, digital repositories, and a host of similar knowledge management tools that help to perpetuate the process of organization-wide memorization.
Financial traders who deal in stocks, commodities and currencies have known for a long time that the trend is their friend. This is because, statistically speaking, their chances of making money increase when they follow the trend. Similarly, a company is more likely to find success with lean by following, rather than bucking, the current major trends in supply chain management.