Future of Supply Chain Management

Future of Supply Chain ManagementStudies have shown that supply chain management companies number one force of change was changing customer requirements. The top business strategy was to achieve high-quality service, and it was deemed that this business strategy goes hand in hand with the number one force of change for supply chain management companies. Companies such as third-party logistics providers see that the future of supply chain management lay in customer-centric supply chain management. This trend is shifting focus away from the supply base and downstream to the customer.

A study completed by Caps Research also showed that when it comes to the Supply Mission, there is often a disconnect between the supply chain and the customer-centric approach because the goal of inbound and outbound logistics is consistently to achieve consistent cost savings from suppliers, ensure continuity, improve the supplier performance, improve the efficiency of the supply management function and acquiring new value-adding technologies and innovations from supply markets.

In order for businesses to have efficient supply chains that are aligned with company goals, the future of supply chain management within 3PL companies must become a customer, rather than supply, focused.

Components of a Customer-Centric Supply Chain

Customers play the role of the active consumer more than ever. With information readily available to them through the internet and media, customers are more aware when making their purchasing decisions. Supply chains must no longer be supplier and demand driven, but design their logistics management to put the focus on the customers who are the final recipient of the product. There are three main components of a customer-centric supply chain that you need to make you understand for the future of supply chain management at your business.

  1. Multi-Channel Fulfillment- Customers have many different ways that they prefer ordering merchandise. Some consumers prefer to order online through a shopping platform; others prefer to place orders through email or catalog, while others may want to speak to a live person to order; the use of social media to buy and sell goods is also becoming increasingly popular. A business supply chain needs to fulfill orders that come in through many different channels which can mean providing a live customer service team that handles orders and questions.
  2. Reliability- The customer wants to get their orders safely and on time. Both inbound and outbound logistics teams must be the most reliable business partners you have in order to keep your customers happy and your fulfillment rates at one hundred percent. A good third-party logistics provider will be able to provide you with greater visibility into your supply chain including incoming and outbound orders, inventory on hand and in transit, supplies, and materials, and shipping times. Your 3PL company will increase your reliability scores with your customers by getting their orders to their doorsteps on time and safely.
  3. Forecasting Customer Trends- Being customer-centric means being able to forecast an increase in demand. While you cannot be a mind reader, the future of supply chain management is all about analyzing the data, looking at and charting trends in the industry, warehouse and shipment data, evaluating reports from retailers, returned merchandise, and freight claims, can all help you predict your customers needs ahead of time. 3PL providers that can forecast demand and manage supply fluctuations will always be more customer-centric than providers that cannot.

Future of Supply Chain Technologies

One of the major forces behind a great third-party logistics company is the technology they use to manage your supply chain. Some of these technologies are already well underway, and most will continue to be developed into the next decade.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, AI, is being used across the supply chain management industry to make better business decisions and change the way customers experience the supply chain. Artificial intelligence is being examined by many different supply chain management teams in modes such as self-driving vehicles, machine-learning solutions and tasks, and forecasting.

Intelligent apps are also proving to be useful in creating an intermediary layer between software and people that can change the structure of the workplace. Many businesses are utilizing Chatbots for website customer service that can assist consumers in placing orders, answer basic questions, and more.

The evolution of technology and use of smart apps and artificial intelligence will shape the future of supply chain management allowing for better relationships between employees and employers, carriers and coordinators, shipping and receiving, and vendors.  The supply chain is already seeing advances in real-time traffic data analytics, “smart road” technologies, cloud servers, robotized warehouses, drone delivery, autopilot vehicles,  new digital technologies for the organization and administrative work regarding the supply chain.

The best way to stay on top of the newest trends and technology related to supply chain management is to partner with a third party logistics company that is committed to evolving with the industry. LTX Solutions is dedicated to personalized supply chain management and utilizes the best practice for increasing your profits and efficiency. Contact LTX Solutions today to start discussing your 3PL partnership.

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