Supply chain technology is in a state of constant advancement, especially this year, given the circumstances—here are four of the biggest tech trends in 2020.
Gartner recently identified 8 technology trends for supply chains in 2020. Given the pandemic currently taking place and what an impact its having on supply chains, it’s more important than ever for companies to stay abreast of the latest and greatest in tech. However, it’s not enough for new technologies to simply be promising or have considerable potential to elevate supply chains. For a technology trend to be worth paying attention to the technology has to be in a place to make an impact now.
The Gartner article in question said as much when addressing its findings,
Gartner analysts have selected strategic supply chain technology trends that have a high potential for positive impact on people, performance and industries. Some are now reaching critical tipping points in capability and maturity.
This article by Morai Logistics covers four of the eight technology trends outlined by Gartner, what they are and why they’re important.
Automation has long been an undeniable force in the world of supply chains. Yet, there’ve been understandable concerns with its wholesale adoption. One such concern lies in the displacement of human workers. Another is the discarding of older legacy systems, leading to a lack of continuity between the new and the old. Hyperautomation is a way to bridge that gap and address those concerns.
It’s the process of connecting older technologies with the new. Think of older legacy platforms versus technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Hyperautomation is an approach to getting the best of both worlds, resulting in a truly integrated system that is minimally disruptive. Moreover, it allows for the preservation of a human workforce as they can be augmented by newer technology rather than replaced by it.
Digital Supply Chain Twin
As supply chains get larger and more complex, it’s as critical as it’s ever been to keep track of them. A huge part of getting greater oversight of a supply chain is through digitizing it. That way, it can be followed in real-time and a have a trail of data running through it.
With that said, there’s a way to go even further. That next step is being able to visualize the supply chain from end to end. That’s what digital twin brings to the table. It is a digital replication of the physical supply chain. Consequently, it marks the next step for intelligent decision-making.
Being able to access quality information in real-time within a supply chain means faster decision-making. Not only that, but decision-making that doesn’t suffer the usual pitfalls that come with speed. In the fast paced world of supply chain, where response time is the difference between a satisfied customer and an angry one, that is crucial.
This is what continuous intelligence is able to do. It enables supply chain leaders to see data that has already been processed in as close to real-time as possible. As such, supply chain leaders can utilize it for responsivity that was hitherto impossible.
Supply Chain Governance and Security
Finally, there’s supply chain governance and security. Unlike some of the previous trends mentioned, this doesn’t refer to a specific technology. Instead, it’s a general trend that has found solutions in technology. It’s a response to the growing concerns around cybersecurity and privacy.
As Christian Titze, vice president analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain Practice explains in the Gartner article,
Gartner anticipates a wave of new solutions to emerge for supply chain security and governance, especially in the fields of privacy as well as cyber and data security … Think advanced track-and-trace solutions, smart packaging and next-gen RFID and NFC capabilities.