The Future of Supply Chain Management: Trends and Best Practices

Mar 13, 2023 | Economy/Economic, Operations Best Practices, Procurement, Supply Chain

The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on businesses across the globe in virtually every niche. Chief Operating Officers had to adapt to changes never experienced before in the world of business. Perhaps no other component of a business model faced more daunting challenges than the challenges faced for managing your supply chain. From shipping lanes shutting down to ports closing for weeks, if not months at a time, getting products from Point A to Point B became a logistical nightmare.

Even as the negative economic impact of the pandemic has waned, supply chain management remains one of the most difficult challenges faced by COOs. Supply chain management continues to focus on getting products from Point A to Point B, but as one of the leaders of your organization, you also have to deliver your products while finding ways to reduce transportation costs. This operational goal is difficult to achieve during an era of volatile energy prices, but your company can improve its supply chain management by implementing three business practices and identifying three important trends moving forward.

The 3 Best Practices of Supply Chain Management

COOs that implement the following three best practices can gain a competitive edge over other companies operating in the same business niche.

Adopt the Right Technologies

Adopting technology is no longer considered enough to manage your organization’s supply chain. You also have to know which technologies make the most sense for your company. You do not want to change your supply chain to fit a certain technology, but instead, you should choose technology platforms that match your operational needs.

For example, technology platforms such as ERPs and SAPs represent effective tools for streamlining the export process, while increasing the visibility of your company in the markets where you do business.

Collaborate with New Partners

One of the many lessons the COVID-19 pandemic taught COOs concerns the value of building alliances that enhance the management of a difficult supply chain. Building alliances requires your company to create a strong foundation of communications, followed by sharing common goals and fostering a transparent business relationship.

To build mutually beneficial alliances, consider leveraging the many benefits of tools such as carrier scorecards, which provide an effective and affordable way to track performance, as well as address any communication issues you have with new partners.

Consistently Monitor the Process

Keeping up with rapid changes that develop in supply chain management can help your company avoid costly mistakes. Create a schedule that ensures your team conducts regular reviews for collecting and analyzing data. Consistently monitoring the supply chain for each of your products helps your team to make business decisions based on data that identifies risks before potential risks turn into logistical nightmares.

You first have to implement methodologies that identify risks throughout the supply chain management process before evaluating the financial impacts of the risks developing into negative operational issues.

3 Trends to Follow for Improved Supply Chain Management

Staying on top of the trends that improve supply chain management for tomorrow is just as important as implementing the best practices today.

Outsource In-House Processes

As supply chains become more complex, managing every supply chain process in-house is nearly impossible to do. Many companies do not have the skilled workforce and financial strength required to manage the growing number of components that define contemporary supply chain management.

Welcome to the World of Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS).

Kelly Barner, who is the Managing Director of Buyers Metting Point, summarizes the many benefits of adopting a SCaaS framework.

“SCaaS provides a strategic opportunity to work with an organization whose sole focus is to make each component of the supply chain more efficient. When individual segments are able to focus their energy and attention on asset management, inventory rotation, etc., new types of innovation and competitive advantage become achievable.”

Embrace Circular Supply Chains

Sustainability has emerged as one of the most popular terms used to form effective business models. It also has emerged as one of the most effective ways for COOs to improve supply chain management.

Linear supply chains produce a considerable amount of waste. Instead of creating a product and then returning it to the start of the supply chain, a circular supply chain recycles unused items back into the beginning of the supply chain process. Circular supply chains foster a zero-waste business model.

Automation of Supply Chain Processes

You have heard about the increased reliance on autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for transforming the supply chain model. The future has arrived, and a growing number of companies have taken advantage of the many benefits associated with automation. Benefits include increasing efficiency that boosts productivity, as well as improving the product fulfillment process. Ultimately, automating many of your organization’s supply chain processes should enhance the relationships you have with your customers.

The global robotics market is expected to exceed $91 billion by 2026.


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