Integrated supply has made a lot of headway in making the supply chain more sophisticated, building in many efficiencies and cost savings along the way. Inventory management and costs associated with purchasing and process control have all been improved by focusing on the core competencies of the business and outsourcing to specialist suppliers.
So what does the future have in store for integrated supply?
Well, things are likely to get a whole lot smarter across a number of areas. For example:
Instrumentation – Information that was previously provided by people is more likely to be automated by technology. GPS, sensors and meters will play a more active role and it will get to the stage where inventory will be able to count itself and advise when stock is low. Containers will be able to detect the nature of their contents and be able to report on their location, advising if they are in the wrong place. This sort of intelligence will streamline the supply chain significantly.
Connectivity – There will be greater connectivity across customers, suppliers, IT systems, parts, products and other monitoring devices used to manage the supply chain. This connectivity will facilitate global supply chain networks to plan and reach decisions in unison.
Smart – Smarter systems will lead to greater automation, advanced modelling techniques and more in depth analytics. This will help decision makers reach more informed decisions based on a set of statistics that illustrate the various risks and constraints that may be hindering the supply chain.
It’s not only the above that will change. The nature of the job role for supply chain professionals will change as well. The role will become more strategic and collaborative as supply chain executives seek to gain competitive advantage by maximising the worldwide capabilities that will exist in the brave new world of integrated supply.