The Top 5 Trends in Supply Chain Management

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Where is the future of supply chain management heading? Read on to learn about the top trends across the best companies in the industry.

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1. Finding New Ways to Collaborate

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The supply chain professional used to be relegated to the back room, churning away at procurement and logistics. But the best companies are bringing supply chain management to the topmost executive levels, and using collaboration among professionals, departments, and even other industry leaders to find the best practices. Social media is becoming an important trend in supply chain management, as it is a new and useful way to get information quickly and reliably from suppliers, customers, and carriers.

Social media is also an important tool for predicting situations which can jeopardize the supply chain, such as serious weather, political unrest, or terrorism. Another way supply chain managers are improving collaboration is by leveraging crowdsourcing, wherein managers broadcast an issue their company is dealing with and receive many ideas and suggestions for solving the problem or improving processes.

2. Performance With a Purpose

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The supply chain professional of tomorrow is also more purposeful. The main area where this is evident is in sustainability initiatives. Supply chain managers are now faced with finding ways to reduce the company’s energy expenditures, find greener packaging that holds up to transport, reducing water consumption while protecting fresh water supplies, and other environmental challenges. The best ones aren’t just helping preserve the environment, they’re lowering their company’s operating costs in the process.

3. Finding Ways to Drive Innovation

As the supply chain professional emerges from the back room and takes a rightful place in the boardroom, they’re teaming up with the marketing folks to produce innovative products and services that serve the purposes of the customer as well as the company. Marketing and supply chain managers will be working hand in hand to assure that what looks good for the company in the eyes of the marketplace actually are good for the company in the long-term. This collaboration will produce better innovation all around.

4. Collecting, Analyzing, and Using Available Data

Big data is becoming a big problem for companies which haven’t yet learned to harness and leverage it. It takes a team of professionals to collect, analyze and find ways to use big data for the benefit of the company. The supply chain managers who recognize the power of big data are going to surpass their competitors quickly. Since there is a looming talent shortage in the field of big data analysis, it’s important for supply chain professionals to acquire and keep good analysts as soon as possible.

5. Finding Ways to Increase Visibility in the Supply Chain

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Transparency is another key trend in supply chain management heading into next year and beyond. Visibility can increase revenue while lowering costs, and the top companies make it a high priority. Visibility means that departments within an organization are aware of what the others are up to, but it also means that everyone, including the end consumer, is able to determine where raw materials came from, how they became products, and how those products are handled and delivered to them. It’s difficult to read any supply chain news blogs without coming across articles touting the benefits of more transparency.

All of the trends address the growing complexity of supply chain management. Has your company jumped on board with these top trends? Share your ideas in the comments below. [/show_to]

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