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Supply Chain Trends 2021

The supply chain business model consists of two separate but interconnected stages: rethinking the business model itself and applying the right technology to support this new model. What does this mean for the supply chain transformation trends in 2021?

Expanding your supply chain team

When it comes to rethinking your business model in 2021, one of the best things you can do is enlist a partner in your supply chain operations. This will help create a transformation roadmap and support its implementation. Having a second pair of eyes to look objectively at your supply chain operations and find fit-to-purpose solutions will smooth the way for your digital transformation and help your organization move toward a frictionless future, and ensure you create a future–proof solution.

Likewise, bringing a tech startup into the fold can help when scaling your automation requires a specialized workforce. By working with startups, supply chain leaders get the technological knowledge they need to take their automation processes to the next level. Acquiring startups accomplishes two goals – driving digital transformation across your organization and bringing the best up and coming talent into your company.

Technological transformations for your supply chain

There has been a move in business toward intelligent automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and the ongoing digitalization of operations over the last few years. This trend is only going to continue into 2021 and beyond. You might wonder what “digitalization of operations“ means for your organization. It can mean many different things because when it comes to creating a technological roadmap, there is no “one-size-fits-all“ approach.

Leveraging a digital supply chain twin can help you understand your actual supply chain’s impact. One of the perks of using a digital twin is that it enables data mining and process visualization to understand the dependencies, bottlenecks, and friction points between your business processes’ various functions without making any changes to the actual processes. It enables real-time analysis of any frictions and creates ways to remove them altogether by performing a test run of any needed changes without the risk of costly mistakes. It helps develop actionable items which can lead to further hyper-automation projects.

It is essential to remember artificial intelligence will continue to be at the heart of any digital transformation you make in 2021. It is the cornerstone companies need to embrace since the technology behind it creates flexibility and, with the right assessment, can provide “made to fit,” long-term, cost-efficient solutions.

2020 was challenging for many companies, and the changes mentioned above can be exhausting for many organizations. Making a few small tech implementations resolves most of the frequent challenges, especially in supply chain data and order management services. These quick fixes enable supply you to streamline data usage, increase accuracy, and improve orders almost immediately as the implementation timeline is usually less than 12 weeks.

How data helps you understand emerging trends

A lot has been said recently about how emerging technologies achieve exceptional outcomes, especially when managing your supply chain. However, if you don’t understand how to use and store your data, these new technologies will do nothing for your business. Data inconsistencies impact visibility and cut down on your reaction time to changes in the supply chain environment, especially regarding updated restrictions due to the health crisis.

Data seems to be the least exciting supply chain topic and the most underrated trend. However, data is the cornerstone of supply chain operations, and every other initiative and success is based on and depends on data. By making sure your people have access to the right data and enabling them to use it accordingly, you can drive your business forward in a meaningful way.

Choosing which trends to follow

Trends help us figure out where the industry is going, but this doesn’t mean you should try every new idea to come along. Instead, you should pick and choose which to follow according to your organizations’ needs.

After all, being an industry leader means staying competitive and not falling behind when it comes to your supply chain.

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