How Emerging Technologies are Driving Competitive Advantage in Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management is a critical function for companies of all sizes and industries, as it involves the coordination of materials, production, and distribution processes to meet customer demand. According to the “2021 Gartner Supply Chain Technology User Wants and Needs Survey”, technology is seen as a key source of competitive advantage for supply chain leaders. In fact, only 1% of companies have no plans to invest in emerging technologies over the next five years. In this blog post we will discuss some of the technology trends and highlights from Gartner’s latest technology trend report.
Reasons for Investing in Emerging Technologies
Companies cite multiple reasons for investing in emerging technologies, including supporting new business, improving process efficiency and productivity, enhancing decision-making, and improving supply chain resiliency and agility. A majority of short-term decisions within supply chain planning will be automated or autonomous by 2026, according to a recent analysis by Amber Salley. This trend is driven by the increasing adoption of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in supply chain planning, as well as the need for faster and more accurate decision-making in the face of volatile markets.
Current State of Supply Chain Management Technology
Gartner’s survey found that only 10% of companies believe technology is not a source of competitive advantage. This suggests that the vast majority of companies recognize the value of investing in emerging technologies to improve their supply chain operations. Additionally, over half of short-term supply chain planning decisions are already automated or autonomous using data and analytics, according to the same Gartner survey.
Preparing for Future Risks and Opportunities
To prepare for future risks and opportunities related to supply chain technology, companies should deploy automation, formulate an agile application modernization strategy, improve decision-making speed and quality, and begin to build a digital supply chain twins. The emergence of new vendors in the supply chain planning technology market, placing emphasis on the short-term planning horizon and cloud native solutions, also represents an opportunity for companies to enhance their supply chain planning capabilities.
The Hype Cycle for Mobile Robots and Drones, 2022
Gartners discusses the Hype Cycle for Mobile Robots and Drones, 2022. The strategic planning assumption is that less than 20% of supply chain management (SCM) vendors will have adopted a composable go-to-market approach by 2026. Composability is a new trend that will allow SCM consumers to adapt their SCM applications more quickly by swapping modules as business operations change. SCM vendors lack a composable go-to-market approach, although some are building the technical architecture to make this theoretically possible.
Gartner also discusses microservices architecture as a variant of the service-oriented architecture’s structural style that arranges an application as a collection of loosely coupled services organized around business capabilities. This approach can help companies build scalable and flexible systems that can adapt to changing business needs.
Digital Supply Chain Transformation (DSCT)
Next, the article discusses three ways to win by designing enterprise applications that are composable by default, followed by a section on digital supply chain transformation (DSCT). The majority of technology providers working in supply chain visibility, control tower/command center, and the decision-making space are messaging around DSCTs with their own interpretation, which is further increasing the hype and confusion. Supply chain organizations have different pathways leveraging DSCTs for better outcomes, either building or buying solutions.
In conclusion, technology is increasingly seen as a key source of competitive advantage for supply chain leaders. To stay ahead of the curve, companies should invest in emerging technologies, deploy automation, formulate an agile application modernization strategy, improve decision-making speed and quality, and begin to build a digital supply chain twin. The emergence of new vendors in the supply chain planning technology market also represents an opportunity for companies to enhance their supply chain planning capabilities. Want to read the full in-depth report by Gartner? Download it here.
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