Supply Chain

Five Supply Chain Advances to Be Thankful For

If you work in the supply chain industry, chances are you are always looking at ways to become faster, smarter and more profitable. This is why the supply chain world sometimes focuses on their short comings before celebrating their successes – after all that’s business! In light of Thanksgiving, we’d like to remind everyone of how great the material handling and supply chain industry is with these five supply chain advances to be thankful for.

1. Omni-channel Fulfillment

Omni-channel fulfillment evolves everyday to help consumers find the best deals and get their purchases delivered when and where they want. According to the ARC Advisory Group, e-commerce and omni-channel initiatives are the largest factor contributing to growth and change within the WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) market. Companies increasingly seek to see all warehouse inventory in one system. This allows for higher service levels at a lower cost and helps provide order statuses to customers.

2. Cloud Computing

According to a report by SCM World, Cloud computing has lead to greater supply chain collaboration which leads to problems being solved twice as fast for 46% of respondents. Cloud computing platforms are becoming more widespread in large-scale supply chains as companies look at becoming faster and solving complex problems with more effective collaboration.

3. Supply Chain Sustainability

With the new adoption of United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world’s nations have committed to ending global poverty and protecting our planet. Supply chain sustainability is an important factor in making these goals part of local business so that the companies’ operations, products and services can support a healthier world and facilitate future markets. According to an article by TRC, an engineering and environmental consulting firm, supply chain sustainability continues to gain momentum as “standards bodies and ratings systems are evolving to further drive this momentum and provide tools for consistent and transparent reporting of data.”

4. Robotics and Automation

The 2016 MHI Annual Industry Report shows that robotics and automation are revolutionizing supply chains across the globe. Robots are increasingly able to demonstrate “human” capabilities and traits such as sensing, dexterity, memory, and trainability. They are able to take on more tasks such as picking and packaging, testing or inspecting products, and assembling electronics.While adoption is currently 35%, that number is expected to rise to 74% over the next six to 10 years.

“Robotics and automation are impacting the supply chain industry because flexibility and autonomy are increasing while price is decreasing,” says Scott Sopher, principal and leader of the Global Supply Chain practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP.

5. Millennials and the Supply Chain Workforce

Recent statistics from United States Department of Labor say that millennials now make up the largest percentage of workers in the U.S. labor force, surpassing the Baby Boomers in 2014 and the Gen Xers in 2015. Millennials are the first generation to have access to some sort of digital technology since they were born. They are tech savvy, hard-working problem solvers who are impacting supply chain in the way workforce is structured and operates. Companies are moving towards a more flat organizational structure with fewer title roles and fewer levels of management. Millennials are not afraid of responsibility and will tackle problems to increase a company’s bottom line.

The future of supply chain is looking bright! This Thanksgiving remember to give thanks to the material handling industry, these advancements and many others that keep supply chains working around the world.

U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics

For more insight on the future of material handling and logistics technologies and practices download the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics. The Roadmap consists of a report and action plan to increase productivity, reduce costs, create jobs and improve the global competitiveness of the U.S. between now and 2025.