Keeping an Eye on Supply Chain Trends in 2020

February 6, 2020
Keeping an Eye on Supply Chain Trends in 2020

The growth of online shopping has exerted new pressures on supply chain managers.  The outlook in 2020 is the increased application of technology to achieve faster and smarter performance in the supply chain.  This must be accomplished without raising costs or reducing variety and, at the same time, address the growing pressure for greener methods.


Video Spotlight: The Future of Supply Chain


This post is based on the Supply Chain Brief article, Top Five Supply Chain Trends to Watch in 2020, by Joe Harris, January 7, 2020; the Fortune article and video, Delivery Is Getting More Complex, but Will Soon Be Faster and Cheaper, by Hamid Moghadam, September 1, 2017; and the YouTube video, The Future of Supply Chain, by KPMG US, August 22, 2019. Image source: Design Pics / Kelly Redinger.

Discussion Questions:

1. What role will technology play in the years ahead, in improving supply chain performance?

Guidance: Technology will play multiple roles, including automating warehouse functions, artificial intelligence for warehouse planning and design, developing pre-fill order solutions to accelerate delivery, and designing packaging for material reduction, reuse and/or recyclability.

2. What consumer expectations are driving these changes in supply chain management?

Guidance: One expectation is the “Amazon effect,” where consumers increasingly expect product variety, low cost and fast delivery. In addition, consumers, especially Millennials, are more sensitive to the environmental performance of the companies they buy from. ]

3. What are some of the uncertainties companies face in trying to satisfy these demands?

Guidance: One area of uncertainty surrounds global politics, such as the increasing use of tariffs in trade negotiations. Another area of concern consumers have is the potential impact of technical solutions on their neighborhoods (i.e., drone deliveries, self-driving deliveries).  Some additional questions to consider: Can companies become greener without compromising costs or delivery? Is the current technology reliable and affordable?

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