Getting Ready for Supply Chain 2030 – Top 3 Supply Chain Trends Every Company Should Follow
Halo attended Supply Chain Insight’s Global Summit last week and came away with several insights of our own. The conference theme, “Imagine the Supply Chain of 2030” led to much discussion about how multiple technology and economic trends are shaping our expectations and making it hard to predict too far in the future. In particular, the crowd emphasized the massive role of data and analytics, the disruptive impact of automation robotics and the increasing expectations for global sustainability initiatives.
In our view, developing more automated and intelligent supply chains will evolve from companies who plan and execute carefully between and now and 2030. Preparing a business and IT infrastructure to support the use of data will be central. What are things companies of any size should be doing today?
First, given so much technological change, it will be nearly impossible to chart a long-term course. Just look at how fast driverless car initiatives like Uber’s are moving. So, preparing your organization to be agile may be more important than attempting to predict the future. Agile data companies are those that can respond fastest to new opportunities presented by automation. To do so, however, those companies should not be locked into particular proprietary platforms. Because as those proprietary platforms grow, they become less agile themselves. Instead, open architecture platforms offer the best solution to building a data technology infrastructure that can adapt to an unpredictable future. These platforms used well established technologies like SQL that can be learned quickly, implemented inexpensively, and changed out when necessary without losing years of information.
Second, data quality will be more important than ever. The more firms become data-driven, and the more data they collect, the harder it will be to ensure the currency, coverage and accuracy of the information they use. To address this issue, data quality automation will become an essential component of an IT organizations tool kit. Data quality automation refers to tools that reduce the manual and laborious tasks that go into ingesting, checking, and transforming data for analysis purposes. In particular, data quality is different for predictive applications. There need to be clear methods of handling missing data, outliers, and sudden shifts in data sources and volumes.
Last, supply chain data security becomes essential. Global supply chains will have operational and strategic data floating across business units, trading partners, countries and regions. Data may be stored in one country and used in another. This poses evolving risks because of varying regulations around privacy and compliance reporting. Building a security perimeter around data assets will be a complex challenge requiring an evolving set of skills and technologies.
As the Imagine 2030 conference highlighted, we are in for an exciting ride as multiple technologies converge to change our world and business models. Data, automation and robotics are just a few of the technical shifts. While its hard to see out to 2030, we think there are obvious steps companies can be taking today to exploit the opportunities and mitigate many risks.