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Supply Chain Trends to Keep an Eye On in 2024

supply chain robotics

The landscape continues to shift for supply chain professionals as businesses struggle to meet various challenges and deliver the best possible customer experience. In an era of rapid digitization and constant disruption, the old ways of managing supply chains are no longer sufficient. Fortunately, there are new and better ways to get things done. Here are some of the top supply chain trends to keep an eye on in 2024 and beyond.


1. Supply Chain Digitization

Transitioning from physical to digital formats has become a priority for warehousing and logistics businesses in today’s modern landscape. It’s no longer feasible to manage business using clipboards and physical checklists. Businesses are converting their operations to the cloud, using connected systems that update everything in real-time. This allows for fast scalability and puts companies in a position to leverage other technology solutions like robotics, artificial intelligence, and data analytics to improve efficiency.


2. Big Data and Analytics

More data is available to businesses than ever before. The challenge is collecting the data and making sense of it to make more informed business decisions. The payoff, however, is worth it in terms of reduced costs, better customer service, and greater efficiency. Businesses in these industries can use data analytics to identify areas of inefficiency, optimize transportation routes, enhance inventory management practices, and much more.


3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are happening at an unprecedented pace, offering businesses many opportunities for gains. AI can determine the most effective way to design and outfit your warehouse and route your picking and packing operations for order fulfillment. It can monitor market trends to predict product demand, so you have the proper amount of inventory on hand, helping you avoid overstocking or stockouts.


4. Traceability and Visibility Intelligence

Modern Inventory ManagementThe lack of visibility across the supply chain continues to be a pervasive issue that costs businesses time, money, and damaged reputations. One trend that is becoming more popular is injecting more visibility throughout the supply chain and across business partners.


Using sensors combined with connected cloud-based systems, businesses can get real-time data indicating a product’s location and other status. This can help with inventory management, order fulfillment, and more. This data can also be used to manage disruptions related to weather, traffic, and other delays.


5. Supply Chain Risk Management

Disruptions have become the norm for supply chain businesses, with natural disasters, geopolitical unrest, raw material shortages, weather and traffic issues, and infrastructure problems, to name a few. Instead of being reactive and addressing these challenges as they arise, businesses are placing more of an emphasis on risk management. This involves identifying every possible disruption and creating a plan to overcome it well in advance.


6. Cybersecurity

Because modern supply chains are global and dispersed, they face an increasing number of threats from cybercriminals. Hackers can target these businesses in a variety of creative ways, costing them precious time and money. Data breaches can also damage a business’s reputation among business partners and consumers. Because of this, more businesses in this sector are investing resources in employee education, hardware, and software that safeguards their networks from those who wish to do them harm.


7. Internet of Things (IoT)

231219-6-predictions-for-fulfillment-in-2024-and-beyondTaking a supply chain business into the future wouldn’t be possible without the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to technology that “connects” devices wirelessly, enabling a host of new and useful features. These physical objects, such as picking machines or pallets, are embedded with sensors and software that transmit data. This can enable more efficient inventory management, better order fulfillment, and proactive maintenance. IoT devices can also make work less time-consuming and labor-intensive for your human workers, which can address some common labor issues in this industry.


8. Blockchain

Traceability is important for supply chain partners for the sake of efficiency and to prevent losses due to criminal activity like shipment diversions. Blockchain technology is one of the best ways to verify ownership and prove authenticity in the supply chain. This technology stores every data transaction in a decentralized, tamper-proof ledger so businesses can view the status and location of any item in transit. Businesses can also use blockchain to build brand authority by proving product origin and staying in compliance with various regulations.


9. Circular and Green Supply Chains

Many supply chain businesses have started taking a closer look at becoming more sustainable by focusing on lower emissions and reduced waste initiatives. This is due to increased pressure from consumers in addition to a host of new government regulations compelling compliance. To achieve these goals, organizations must collaborate with business partners, educate employees, implement the right technology and programs, and create better tracking mechanisms.


10. Robotics in Logistics

The logistics sector continues to undergo a rapid transformation. One of the ways warehouses and third-party logistics providers are updating and future-proofing their systems include the implementation of robotics solutions. For example, warehouses are using robots that work alongside humans to pick and pack orders. Logistics providers are also using more autonomous vehicles on the road and on the loading dock to improve efficiency and productivity.


While tools like AI, IoT, blockchain, and data analytics are becoming the new normal in supply chain management, it’s important to keep an eye on these technologies as they continue to evolve. As technology advances, new trends in how these tools are utilized will emerge, and it’s important to stay ahead of these trends to maintain a competitive edge.





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Topics: Supply Chain Automation Logistics