Supply chain, as a business management practice, is now 30 years old, but we are just beginning. We have a bright future ahead of us if we can adapt.
Anyone that thinks that we have best practices, versus emerging practices, is not in tune with what is happening; the growth of the “internet of things” – The internet of things (IoT) is the term used to describe the growing network of physical devices that are internet connected.
Sure we have had logistics operations for centuries. No doubt about it, logistics was the difference between success and failure in many wars. (It is a litany that is too long to list here.)
But it is not about logistics. Instead, it is about the processes of source, make, sell and deliver as taken together and managed end-to-end from the customer’s customer to the supplier’s supplier. While many companies write about building end-to-end supply chains, they really are not. Instead, they are automating the enterprise.
Today, a huge increase in the number of devices making up the Internet of Things will have a significant impact on how the supply chain will operate. IoT connected devices will reach 26 billion by 2020, up from 0.9 billion in 2009 according to a report by analyst firm Gartner.
The rise of the IoT will transform supply chain to provide, “more differentiated services to customers more efficiently.” Supply chain leaders must design their processes to operate in this digital business world.
Digital marketing will benefit from increased customer data and the ability to segment audiences to a greater extent. Designers, meanwhile, will be required to find ways to embed technology into products that will enable them to communicate with other devices.
Supply chain matters. It creates economies and can save the planet. To move forward, we have to learn from the past 30 years, but we also need to unlearn some things to challenge ourselves how new technologies and processes can help us to do it better.
The future is bright, but we have to lift the shades to see the new horizon of possibilities.
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