From a certain angle, it can be said that everything has changed; it could also be said that everything is as it always has been. We have simply changed.
The supply chain and technology trends explored below have not appeared out of the blue. Like a kind of white noise, globalization and the growth of the cloud and new sales channels were budding in the background, alongside the quiet hum of climate activism and gentle reminders to recycle. In fairly easy and undisruptive times, most can afford to take their time, digitally transform – or not, and maintain legacy frameworks because they’re ‘good enough.’
The past year has turned that approach on its head. These trends reflect sobering realizations and calls to action. They underscored the urgency, necessity, and value of addressing supply chain complexities head-on, of embracing new opportunities, and of laying the fundamental, technological groundwork needed to avoid making the same mistake twice.
1. Global & Omnichannel Expansion
With over a year in lock downs and remote work, consumers and customers alike have been shifting to online sales channels. Online sales models vastly expand audience reach, creating incredible opportunities for brands to grow their customer base, as well as their value and service offerings. While expansion presents its own challenges, complexities, and demands for greater resources, global dominion is also no longer the league of big business. Today’s technology has made globalization more accessible to small and mid-sized brands than ever before.
Affordable multi-enterprise business network technology enables companies of all sizes to quickly and effectively connect with extensive networks of suppliers, distributors, carriers, and other partners and customers. Onboarding is quite seamless, as integration is possible at all stages of maturity, making it easier to scale. Once connected, businesses can plan and execute orders, as well as gain critical visibility into orders, inventory, and multi-modal shipments, including alerts when issues arise, and the ability to quickly act and resolve problems - all from within a single platform.
This multi-enterprise supply chain software also offers easy process integration to help with special handling for international shipments, such as managing handoffs across many legs, parties, currencies, regulations, and customs requirements.
2. Sustainability & Green Initiatives
As awareness about our actions’ impact on climate grows, green and sustainable practices take on new import and urgency. But the pressure on brands from customers and consumers to be more mindful of and transparent about sourcing, manufacturing, and logistics practices can also be read as a unique opportunity for value and differentiation.
A good part of building green supply chains is about improving efficiency, and this can begin with easy to implement technologies such as a digital Control Tower. Visibility into all flows and in-transit stock paired with smart order splitting and consolidation capabilities enables supply chain managers to better use their resources and reduce empty trucks on the road.
Digital order fulfillment software allows practitioners to plan and execute all order flows against the lowest carbon footprint, multi-modal TMS capabilities provide some industries with barging as a greener alternative, and smarter returns management capabilities uncover options for environmentally friendly ways to handle returns and supporting repair flows, replacement services, and controlled recycling. Again, rather than accrue multiple systems, a unifying Supply Chain Orchestration platform enables you to better leverage what you already have and further empower full order lifecycle supply chain management processes with these critical capabilities for visibility, order and logistics management, and returns management.
3. Cloud-Based Technology with Embedded Intelligence
The successful transition to a globalized, omnichannel, and sustainable supply chain cannot be achieved without cloud-based technology. There is no technology better suited to not merely handle but embrace the supply chain complexity of a growing multi-party ecosystem. Those using cloud technology were impacted least by the pandemic, as they could gain access to partners and information via the internet and act on it remotely – across global teams. Businesses can even implement new solutions and expand services from different parts of the world.
Disruption, we’ve learned, is inevitable; failure is not. Resilience comes with a supply chain technology platform that promotes dynamic partnering, seamless growth, and adaptation to new partners, modes, regions, and services. Having a platform that is flexible to shift and realign to new business goals empowers you to always evolve and innovate your brand alongside emerging market and customer demands – always meeting or exceeding customer expectations even as circumstances change.
The MPO Supply Chain Orchestration Platform helps hundreds of businesses in a range of industries grow globally, manage omnichannel order fulfillment more effectively, and reduce their carbon footprint through smarter transportation and logistics management. To learn more about the platforms diverse and robust capabilities, click the image below to browse our solution guide library.