Emerging Trends in Supply Chain Management

ANURAG KHADKIKAR | May 31, 2021 | 460 views

Supply chain is the backbone of any business. Since there is a supply chain in existence, you can buy whatever product you want. The supply chain is evolving since the Industrial Revolution, and it is still changing, and the evolution journey is fascinating. Before moving forward with the article, first, let's understand supply chain and supply chain management.

What is a Supply Chain?


A supply chain is an entire process of producing and selling commercial goods, beginning with the procurement of raw materials and ending with the distribution and sale of the goods. The supply chain ensures that a product is available in the right place, at the right time, and the lowest possible cost while ensuring the product quality. The supply chain aims to provide the maximum value to the customer at the minimum likely costs. The supply chain is the single most significant expense for businesses, and it provides them with a tremendous opportunity to improve and increase savings and profit margins. The price of most products is competitive in the market, but the supply chain determines the product's profit margin. The demand for products and services fluctuates for various reasons, and meeting this fluctuating demand with a higher degree of quality requires knowledge of supply chain management. Effective supply chain management is essential for any business to compete in the market.

What is Supply Chain Management?


Supply chain management is an essential factor in a business's long-term success. The management of how goods and services evolve from raw materials to products sold to consumers is known as supply chain management. It includes the processes of transporting and storing raw materials, storing finished goods until they sell, and tracking where sold goods go so that you can use the data to boost future sales. Supply Chain Management includes all aspects of business activities, including logistics, purchasing, and information technology. Materials, finances, suppliers, manufacturing plants, wholesalers, retailers, and consumers are all combined into a single system. A business with a well-managed supply chain can significantly reduce all operating costs associated with that chain, resulting in higher profits. The main goal of effective supply chain management is to increase profitability by improving customer satisfaction and reducing business costs. Profits improve as expenses are in control and reduced when possible. When the costs of purchasing raw materials and manufacturing goods drop, the operating costs also decrease.

Challenges in Supply Chain Management


There are many challenges related to supply chain management. In this section, we will focus on some of the most significant supply chain management challenges.

Visibility: It is a significant issue in supply chain management. Businesses are unable to track all international cargo. The majority of data on the ocean or air shipments is often unavailable.  Between 2008 and 2016, an average of 600 containers lost at sea (it does not include catastrophic incidents). These figures are concerning because the amount of cargo shipped over time is rapidly rising.

Uncertainty: Uncertainty has been difficult in supply chain management. Demand planning is essential because many businesses have massive amounts of leftovers. If it is perishable, it is thrown away. There is a lot of waste, and it's all because of bad planning. In addition, initial raw materials may be unreliable, or lead time may be unpredictable. It isn't easy to be confident of any part of the supply chain, mainly because it is an extensive system.

Customer Service: Supply chain management is all about getting the right product to the correct location at the right time. It seems easy at first, but it can quickly become complicated.

Cost Management: Increasing energy/fuel and freight costs, a more significant number of global customers, technology, rising labor wages, new regulations, and rising commodity prices all strain operating costs.

Planning and Risk Management: Annual reviews and redesigns are needed to be efficient and effective. These changes are in reaction to market changes, such as new product releases, global sourcing, credit availability, and the need to protect intellectual property. To monitor and minimize these threats, they must be identified and quantified.

Supplier/Partner Relationship Management: It is crucial to create, understand, and follow mutually agreed standards to understand current performance and areas for improvement better. Using two separate approaches to measure and communicate performance results is a waste of time and resources. Trusting the system that was in place to ensure consistency and better supplier/partner relationships is necessary.

Emerging Trends in Supply Chain


The supply chain process is continuously evolving. The emerging supply chain and logistics trends prioritize intelligent, tech-driven management to minimize operational costs and enhance efficiency. The logistics and supply chain aspect is vital for any business in supplying high-quality raw materials, ensuring an efficient manufacturing process, and tracking, shipping, and storing finished goods.

Companies that implement well-designed supply chain practices can satisfy customer needs more quickly and efficiently. This improves customer relationships and loyalty, resulting in increased revenue and the acquisition of new customers through positive word of mouth.
Let's look at some significant emerging trends that are expected to shape and develop supply chain operations in the future.

Digitization of Supply Chains


Digitization is the process of reinventing logistics operations by combining the latest technology with other physical and digital assets. Digitization allows us to better adapt to the fast-paced, highly competitive, omnichannel business environment.

Digitization increases the speed, dynamics, and resiliency of supply chain operations, resulting in improved customer responsiveness and, ultimately, increased revenue. Companies that embrace digitalization can gain genuine value, improved revenue, and market valuation.

Companies should significantly redesign their supply chain strategy to gain the full benefits of digitization. It is not enough to decorate it with digital technology.

The Internet of Things (IoT) occupies a significant position in digitalization as a highly transformational technology solution in the logistics sphere. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of interconnected computing devices that allows data to be sent over networks without human input. It assists businesses in monitoring inventory, managing warehouse stock, optimizing fleet routes, and reducing dead miles.

Artificial Intelligence


Advanced Artificial Intelligence solutions have several uses in the supply chain, particularly in the warehousing area. The procurement process involves using gesture recognition solutions instead of keyboard and mouse. It also includes self-driving vehicles, which are designed to navigate without human assistance.

In the supply chain, the concept of robotics and automation is widely implemented. The new generation of robots is easier to program, more flexible, and more affordable. Their job is to help employees with repetitive and physically challenging tasks.

Enhanced Supply Chain Visibility


Proper supply chain data analysis can significantly boost business forecasting and decision-making. It can also optimize the use of inventory management, storage, and transportation resources.

Supply chain visibility provides information on what is happening at each stage of the supply chain. It is crucial for the overall efficiency of the supply chain process, which includes sourcing, manufacturing, transportation, and delivery.

Real-time inventory management is one of the advantages of enhanced chain visibility. It uses mobile point-of-sale systems and sensors, and it elevates inventory management to a whole new level.

For example, instead of paying for purchased goods at a store, customers can take the desired products and have the products immediately charged to their credit and debit cards. Furthermore, real-time inventory management allows for the replacement of goods as they are consumed.

Circular Supply Chain


The term "linear supply chain" refers to the traditional concept where goods travel in a straight line (from raw material to finished product). Modern logistics techniques are focused on the circular supply chain idea, which involves reusing previously, used products as raw materials.

Reusing products and materials is referred to as reverse logistics, and it is a novel and innovative technique. It assists businesses in reducing administrative and transportation expenses, increasing sustainability, improving customer service and loyalty, creating value, and conserving resources.
Used products can be kept in circulation if businesses work together with their suppliers and customers.
 

More focus on Risk Management and Supply Chain Resiliency


Without a doubt, companies must seriously consider supply chain risk management as a means to prepare for unfavorable circumstances. The increasing use of outsourcing, offshoring, product versatility, supply chain security, and significant interdependence across the supply chain highlights the need to deal with risks in the supply chain.

However, no matter how solid the plan is, it cannot prevent errors from happening. Here's where supply chain resilience comes into play. It is an accurate indicator of a company's ability to survive disruptive circumstances.

Visibility throughout the supply chain is necessary to detect disruptions, close collaboration with suppliers and distributors so that alternative supply routes can be found, and a good incident response plan to provide a course of action when disruption occurs are all steps that are important to make the supply chain more flexible and resilient.

Use of SaaS in the Supply Chain


The software-as-a-service (SaaS) Sapproach is growing in popularity in supply chain technology and logistics management and the growth of cloud computing. This is primarily due to SaaS's security and safety and the convenience of paying for precisely the services you require. Companies can avoid the high fixed costs of system maintenance, upgrades, and infrastructure-related expenditures by using SaaS.

Supply chains are continuously evolving technology, and the diversity of employee skill sets is playing an essential role in this evolution. Organizations are becoming more conscious of changes in their market competition and continuously updating or even reinventing their market offering to maintain and develop their market positioning.

Many companies are already turning to technology to improve their supply chain operations; however, before new systems are implemented and employees are upskilled to adapt to new ways of working, existing processes must be reviewed to eliminate waste activities from the supply chain, and data must be cleansed. To meet consumer demands, supply chains must be constantly checked for efficiency improvements and aligned with corporate strategy. At present, many organizations are reviewing the length of their supply chains, intending to minimize the overall size and bring supply chains closer to the organization or the end consumer, reduce risk exposure, eliminate waste, and align with corporate strategy.

FAQ’s


• What are the three foundations of supply chain?

The three foundations of a supply chain are strategy, service, and cost.  Aligning the strategy, service and cost is essential to support your company’s overall business growth and objectives. A good strategy along with good service and reduced costs helps in increasing profitability and customer satisfaction.

• What are the pillars of supply chain?

Plan, Source, Make, Deliver and Return are the pillars of supply chain.
Planning involves strategies and methods to be planned, Sourcing means procuring raw materials and other services, Making means manufacturing, Deliver means ensuring that the products reach the customers on time and Return means post delivery customer support that is associated with all kinds of returned products.

• Why supply chain management is important?

The management of how goods and services evolve from raw materials to products sold to consumers is known as supply chain management. It includes the processes of transporting and storing raw materials, storing finished goods until they sell, and tracking where sold goods go so that you can use the data to boost future sales. A business with a well-managed supply chain can significantly reduce all operating costs associated with that chain, resulting in higher profits. The main goal of effective supply chain management is to increase profitability by improving customer satisfaction and reducing business costs.

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Priority Freight

Priority Freight is a leading time-critical logistics specialist, helping our clients to meet complex and urgent transport challenges by adding speed and flexibility to their supply chains.

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Slope Delivers Real-Time Clinical Supply Chain Insights with Launch of Study Dashboard for Sponsors

Slope | December 01, 2022

Slope, provider of the first eClinical Supply Chain Management (eCSCM) platform, announced general availability of its interactive Study Dashboard for Sponsors to address challenges coordinating and overseeing clinical supply chain management for one or more clinical trials across multiple research sites. The new interactive interface delivers clinical trial sponsors with accurate, real-time insights into their clinical trial supply chains including lab kit, investigational product (IP), device, and ancillary clinical supply inventories at research sites, and the state of biological samples from collection through lab receipt. With the Study Dashboard for Sponsors, clinical trial sponsors can proactively identify and address inventory and biological sample issues to reduce clinical trial risk, control costs, improve the productivity of clinical trial stakeholders, and increase subject enrollment and retention.By using the Study Dashboard for Sponsors, clinical trial sponsors can: Ensure each research site has the lab kits, IP, devices, and ancillary and other clinical supplies they need based on patient demand Identify high- and low-performant research sites based on their clinical supply inventory management, waste levels, and biological sample collection practices Monitor the chain of custody of biological samples, how quickly they progress through their journey, and resolve issues before they negatively affect the outcome of the clinical trial "Clinical supply chain management has always been a challenge for sponsors. As the average number of sites per study increases, this gets even harder. The industry's status quo of using manual processes—including error-prone spreadsheets, emails, and phone communications—just doesn't cut it, The Study Dashboard for Sponsors puts at their fingertips all the detailed clinical supply and biological sample information they need to determine the performance of each research site and identify issues that could signal major problems for the clinical trial down the road. I wish that I had always had Slope's Study Dashboard for Sponsors when I was running clinical trials—it would have saved my ClinOps team and me a lot of time and effort." -Hope Meely, Chief Clinical Officer at Slope. More About the Study Dashboard for Sponsors The interactive Study Dashboard for Sponsors supports drill-down from a list of a sponsor's research study protocols into detailed clinical supply inventory and biological sample data for each research site supporting the study. This data can be sorted, filtered, and drilled into further to gather the information a sponsor needs to take meaningful action. Sponsors can drill down into various levels of detail, including: Research Study Summary Dashboard - summarizes key clinical supply performance metrics for the research study and each research site Research Study Metrics - number of subjects enrolled, biological samples collected, clinical supply items used, destination labs, and suppliers Research Site Metrics Inventory Metrics - the amount of clinical supplies available, average inventory turnover time, percentage of clinical supply wasted, and IP on hand Biological Sample Metrics - number of biological samples registered, stored, and shipped by the research site, and delivered to and received by the destination lab Biological Sample Details Sample types—pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, hematology, chemistry, genomic, tissue, skin, punch, etc. Subject ID Associated visit and timepoint Date and time of collection Current state—registered, staged, shipped, delivered, and received Sample Journey Chart - the chain of custody details for each biological sample as it progresses from state to state Who moved it from state to state The date and time it was moved State details such as location, tracking ID number, and associated shipping e-manifest Alerts if there are issues such as slow state transitions About Slope Slope provides an online eClinical Supply Chain Management (eCSCM) platform for sponsors and research sites collaborating on complex, sample-intensive, early-phase clinical trials. The Slope eCSCM platform reduces clinical trial risks, reins in costs, improves the productivity of clinical trial collaborators, and increases subject retention by moving the manual, spreadsheet-driven, and error-prone processes used to manage and track clinical supplies and biological samples to a digital platform. Through its 21 CFR Part 11-compliant platform and protocol-specific guided workflows, Slope fosters collaboration between sponsors, sites, suppliers, labs, biorepositories, and couriers; provides real-time visibility into activities at research sites; ensures traceable chain-of-custody for supplies and samples in use, transit, and storage; and contributes to stronger compliance. To date, Slope has managed over a million supplies for thousands of studies across hundreds of sites. www.slope.io

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PROCUREMENT AND SOURCING,SUPPLY CHAIN

Tackling supply chain risk is a key driver in expanded EY US and Thomson Reuters alliance to help companies navigate ESG complexities

EY | December 01, 2022

Growing recognition of supply chain transparency as a key ESG indicator for businesses and governments, as well as a complex regulatory landscape, is driving a critical need for supply chain due diligence and regulation monitoring tools. Therefore, EY US and Thomson Reuters, a world leader in technology and data solutions, announce an expanded strategic alliance centered around helping drive sustainable growth and achieve compliance. The alliance leverages each organization's capabilities, proprietary tools and market insights to help businesses and governments analyze, respond to hidden risks and extract greater value from their supply chains. "Today's ESG landscape is complex. Our alliance with Thomson Reuters not only deepens the trust and commitment between our two organizations but also addresses the ESG risk opportunities that are central to the growth strategies of customers. The ESG tools we have developed will help address critical business needs in the supply chain and regulatory space." -Andy Baldwin, EY Global Managing Partner – Client Service Through this alliance, EY US and Thomson Reuters have developed new ESG tools, and will continue to develop more in the future. Solutions include supplier risk management service offering, and access to sustainability tax content. These solutions can support customers' resounding need for both supply chain risk assessment and monitoring, coupled with providing greater insights on ESG-related regulations. Supply Chain Risk Identification: This service offering provides insight-based actions to address global supply chain challenges by leveraging both EY US and Thomson Reuters data, technology and human experience. The solution delivers deep insights into supply chains, leading to the identification of ESG-related supply chain risks, such as increased supplier visibility and forced labor, while providing risk scoring and delivering ongoing monitoring to paint a broader picture of supply chain transparency. The ESG "Green" Tax Framework: This research, analytics and data collection framework includes global tax laws, regulatory information, policy developments and industry insights across a global footprint. It provides a central location for known ESG tax obligations, credits and incentive scenario planning as well as a look over the horizon to policies being considered across the globe. "In collaboration with EY US, Thomson Reuters is leading the way in leveraging innovative technology and unique analysis to create trusted ESG tools for our customers. By equipping professionals with information and insight, we can help them navigate today's increasingly complex global environment, as well as enabling them to use data for good in tackling societal issues, such as forced labor in supply chains." -Steve Rubley, President, Government business at Thomson Reuters About EY EY exists to build a better working world, helping create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets. Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate. Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today. EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via ey.com/privacy. EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com. About Thomson Reuters Thomson Reuters is a leading provider of business information services. Our products include highly specialized information-enabled software and tools for legal, tax, accounting and compliance professionals combined with the world's most global news service – Reuters. For more information on Thomson Reuters, visit tr.com and for the latest world news, reuters.com.

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SOFTWARE AND TECHNOLOGY,OPERATIONS,SUPPLY CHAIN

AWS Announces AWS Supply Chain

AWS | November 30, 2022

At AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. company (NASDAQ: AMZN), announced AWS Supply Chain, a new application that helps businesses increase supply chain visibility to make faster, more informed decisions that mitigate risks, lower costs, and improve customer experiences. AWS Supply Chain automatically combines and analyzes data across multiple supply chain systems so businesses can observe their operations in real-time, find trends more quickly, and generate more accurate demand forecasts that ensure adequate inventory to meet customer expectations. Based on nearly 30 years of Amazon.com logistics network experience, AWS Supply Chain improves supply chain resiliency by providing a unified data lake, machine-learning-powered insights, recommended actions, and in-application collaboration capabilities. In recent years, supply chains have experienced unprecedented supply and demand volatility accelerated by widespread resource shortages, geopolitics, and natural events. These disruptions put pressure on businesses to plan for potential supply chain uncertainty, respond quickly to changes in customer demand, and keep costs low. When businesses inadequately forecast for supply chain risks—such as component shortages, shipping port congestion, unanticipated demand spikes, or weather disruptions—they face excess inventory costs, or stockouts that cause poor customer experiences. To gain visibility into their supply chain network, businesses must build custom integrations that can access and process data across an array of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and supply chain management systems. These projects introduce expensive third-party engagements and long-term development cycles, and they struggle to detect patterns that reveal supply chain problems as they occur. Without real-time context, businesses rely on outdated information or best guesses that make it difficult to respond effectively to unexpected issues. Even when a business has identified the most impactful problems and decided what to do next, supply chain teams often coordinate the resolution across multiple phone calls and emails—without all the needed information to resolve the issue. As a result, businesses are less prepared to respond to supply chain risks that impact customer promises and operational costs. AWS Supply Chain is an application that improves supply chain visibility and provides actionable insights to help businesses optimize supply chain processes and improve service levels. Customers can easily set up a unified supply chain data lake using AWS Supply Chain’s built-in connectors, which use pre-trained machine learning models based on Amazon.com's nearly 30 years of supply chain experience, to understand, extract, and aggregate data from ERP and supply chain management systems. AWS Supply Chain then contextualizes that information in a real-time visual map highlighting current inventory selection and quantity at each location. Inventory managers, demand planners, and supply chain leaders can view machine learning-generated insights for potential inventory shortages or delays, and create watchlists to receive alerts to take action as risks appear. Once a risk is identified, AWS Supply Chain will automatically provide recommended actions, such as moving inventory between locations, to take based on the percentage of risk resolved, the distance between facilities, and the sustainability impact. Teams can solve problems and collaborate using built-in chat and messaging functionality. With AWS Supply Chain, businesses can more accurately anticipate supply chain risks, take inventory rebalancing actions quickly to save costs, and meet customer expectations. “Customers tell us that the undifferentiated heavy lifting required in connecting data between different supply chain solutions has inhibited their ability to quickly see and respond to potential supply chain disruptions, AWS Supply Chain aggregates this data and provides visual, interactive dashboards that provide the insights and recommendations customers need to take actions toward more resilient supply chains. And this is just the beginning—we will continue our investment in AWS Supply Chain to help our customers solve their toughest supply chain problems.” -Diego Pantoja-Navajas, vice president of AWS Supply Chain AWS Supply Chain is available in preview today in U.S. East (N. Virginia), U.S. West (Oregon), and Europe (Frankfurt), with availability in additional AWS Regions coming soon. Through the Accenture AWS Business Group and as a key partner, Accenture works closely with AWS to combine their resources, technical capability and industry knowledge to help enterprises unlock innovation, drive business value and support growth through cloud adoption and transformation. “As supply chain disruptions continue for the foreseeable future, companies need to stay focused on balancing cost efficiency, sustainability and relevancy across their supply networks to support growth. Executing a cloud-based digital strategy can enable an agile, resilient supply chain that is responsive to market changes and customer demands,” said Kris Timmermans, global supply chain & operations lead at Accenture. “We will leverage AWS Supply Chain across our supply chain offerings, including our SynOps platform, to bring pre-built solutions that allow companies to move at speed, delivering automation into complex processes to realize value faster.” Lifetime Brands is a leading global provider of kitchenware, tableware, and other products used in the home under well-known brands like Farberware, KitchenAid, Sabatier, Swell, and Amco Houseworks. “Our global focus and multi-tier access to customers motivates us to continually look for ways to increase our forecast accuracy so that we can better position supply in anticipation of our customers’ orders, said Cliff Siegel, executive vice president of Global Supply at Lifetime Brands. We are delighted that AWS Supply Chain demonstrated a significant improvement in our statistical forecast baseline. We are keenly interested in leveraging the supplier lead time insights from AWS Supply Chain to further improve our customer fill rates. Traeger Grills is a leading provider of smokers, grills, and barbeque products. At Traeger, our mission is to bring people together to create a more flavorful world. Yet, the last several years have put unprecedented supply chain pressure on our ability to keep pace with customer demand in distributing the world’s No. 1 wood-fired grill, said Bryan Carey, head of operations and analytics at Traeger Grills. We are excited to have a solution that helps us make nimble rebalancing decisions based on supplier inventory and customer orders. By leveraging AWS Supply Chain we have been able to increase the accuracy of order forecasts by more than 35%. Whole Foods Market, a leading natural and organic foods retailer, operates more than 525 stores in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. We wanted a better view of when new inventory would arrive at our distribution centers nationwide,” said Leandro Balbinot, chief technology officer and senior vice president at Whole Foods Market. “AWS Supply Chain combined data from our existing systems without disrupting them. AWS Supply Chain’s visual map then made it easy to see product-level inventory movement in real time. We expect AWS Supply Chain’s integrated view and predictive planning analytics to materially improve inventory management at our distribution centers. About Amazon Web Services For over 15 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud offering. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any cloud workload, and it now has more than 200 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 96 Availability Zones within 30 geographic regions, with announced plans for 15 more Availability Zones and five more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, and Thailand. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com. About Amazon Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon strives to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company, Earth’s Best Employer, and Earth’s Safest Place to Work. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Career Choice, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, Alexa, Just Walk Out technology, Amazon Studios, and The Climate Pledge are some of the things pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

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