Supply chain management is a dynamic field that is constantly changing with the introduction of new technologies and evolving management practices. Today’s customers expect supply chains to be more agile, leaner and transparent.
The need to efficiently manage supply chain networks has led to the growth of the supply chain management industry, which is projected to reach a market size of $19 billion in 2028. There are also challenges posed by economic, political and technological disruptions. However, where there is a challenge, there is also an opportunity for creative organisations to successfully manage their business. Businesses can benefit from understanding these future supply chain trends to improve profit margins and increase customer satisfaction.
According to Gartner, by 2026, 75% of large enterprises will have adopted some form of intralogistics smart robots in their warehouse operations.
In addition to finding and maintaining labour, as outlined in our article: ‘Changing shape of supply chains’, rapidly rising labour rates and the remaining impacts of Covid will force most companies to invest more in technology like intralogistics smart robots that can be deployed in warehouses and distribution centres.
Mobile robots speed material flow to fulfilment workstations and between manufacturing processes. They cut picking errors and boost throughput. They help consolidate storage space and future-proof operations. Robots offset rising labour costs and shortages. They improve ergonomics and make better use of skilled workforces.
What’s an intralogistics smart robot?
Smart intralogistics robots are specialised forms of cyber-physical robotic automation aimed at warehouse and distribution centres. They speed up the material flow to fulfilment workstations and between manufacturing processes.
As well as the rise of robotics, below are some key trends affecting the future of supply chains.
4 key trends affecting supply chains in 2023 and beyond
1. Post-pandemic resilience
As the effects of Covid begin to recede, many supply chain companies are looking to shift gears from survival mode into growth mode. The spread of the pandemic forced many businesses to close during lockdown, which caused extensive physical disruptions in the supply chain networks around the world. Businesses are now more cautious about the negative effects of global-level disruptions and looking for ways to minimise the risks and maximise growth potential.
2. Circular supply chains
Conventional supply chains are linear in nature, resulting in the creation of waste that is problematic to dispose of. On the other hand, circular chains circulate end products and unused components back into the value chain.
A circular supply chain is one that “closes the loop” by repurposing materials and closing the supply chain loop at the end of a product’s life. This means moving away from a traditional linear model that begins with raw materials and ends when the product is used up and thrown away. Instead, companies are now looking at ways to reuse materials that are already part of their supply chain.
The net result is a zero-waste environment. A circular supply chain will become indispensable as the world’s population grows and finite resources dwindle.
Download guide: ‘How the circular economy can transform manufacturing’
3. Internet of Things (IoT), the cloud, and Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS)
With supply chains becoming more complex due to uncertainties, new technologies and stricter regulations, many companies are having a tough time managing their supply chain networks. For example, the pandemic forced many companies to fully transition into a digital environment. Companies are turning to organisations that focus solely on providing specialised supply chain services (SCaaS model).
4. Better transparency and visibility
According to Deloitte, visibility into tier 1 suppliers will become more critical in 2023, especially if those suppliers come from China. Dun & Bradstreet research states that 51,000 companies worldwide have one or more direct tier 1 suppliers in China while five million have tier 2 suppliers in the region. Considering the pandemic-related plant closures and other restrictions in these regions, it is vital to understand tier 1 supplier risk and how this will impact a company’s extended supply network.
Check out our guide ‘Solving supply chain woes‘ to discover 9 ways an ERP system revolutionises supply chain management and provides better visibility into your supply chain.