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Supply chain management is becoming complex each year. The main influences that are occasioning evolution in this industry are the rapid globalization of supply chains. The globalization of supply chain networks often faces challenges associated with the risk of delays and confusion. As such, managers are doing their best by putting more attention to planning and coming up with contingency planning and management strategies that will address these challenges and increase customer satisfaction and performance in general. As procurement and supply chain operations increasingly adopt digitization, which is proving to be strategically necessary in the era of intense competition and increased customer demands, professionals in these areas must find ways of staying on top of things and getting data that they need in order to make the right decisions.

As the supply chain continue going digital and decisions go towards being data-driven, the trends unlike in the past decade are aligned towards digitization of the supply chain. As such, professionals must be conversant with supply chain technology, data, and building of relationships. These are some of the critical requirements that are needed to deliver the right insights and work with suppliers. While all these are crucial, today’s professionals will still have to be averse with skills like business acumen and interpersonal skills, which will allow them to focus even when the environment is toxic.  Below are some of the trends you should expect from 2020 going forward in supply chain analytics.

  1. Predictive analytics

With the availability of massive amounts of data, supply chains continue to turn to analytics in their decision-making. As such, supply chain firms are steadily incorporating predictive analytics tools as well as other related technologies to enhance their analytics efforts. These tools can be used to interpret data and are expected to be applied to the supply chain for better operations, decisions, and streamline operations. According to Gartner Inc, study, 96% of respondents are using predictive analytics, whereby 58% of them use predictive and prescriptive analytics to enhance decision-making in the supply chain. This is expected to grow in the coming years as the data and competition increases.

  1. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), that is its subset, are getting embraced more in areas such as decision support in the management of inventory. The ML can understand trends and patterns from data across the supply chain, making it ideal for optimization. According to Forrester, an analyst firm, a study of over 400 supply chain, finance, and procurement showed that 55% of companies would resort to AI, where they will make substantial investments. The two most important goals of this investment are to enhance supply chain optimization and reduce cost. Others are to reduce risk and improve productivity, as noted by APQC.

  1. Internet of things

The supply chain ecosystem is now embracing the internet of things (IoT) than ever. The IoT sensors that are inside the IoT devices measure aspects such as location, temperature, humidity, and movement of goods. As a result of the data that is generated by these devices, actions that should be taken can be predicted with ease. Although less than half of the organizations across the supply chain areas are using IoT, the future seems to be moving towards the IoT, as this will improve transparency in the supply chain.

As the investment in supply chain analytics and the adoption of technology continue rising, the programs in this industry are set to become successful. For instance, according to a study conducted in 2016, 33% of companies indicated that analytics programs were very effective in solving their strategic challenges compared to more than 66% of the organizations in 2019 who noted that their programs are more effective or effective. Therefore, in 2020 going forward when we are expecting more to come.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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