Supply Chains of the Future: Technology, Localization, and Resilience to build in 2024 Strong technological solutions serve as a backbone for the supply chains of the future. These innovations have been building resilience in the supply chains of today and are bound to be the drivers of the high-performing supply chains of tomorrow

By Rahul Garg

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Our modern supply chains are intricately woven tapestries, spanning great geographical distances and encompassing a myriad of stakeholders. A recent Deloitte survey, highlighted that 79% of organizations with superior supply chains achieve significantly above-average revenue growth. This statistic underscores the immense potential that lies within the dynamic networks of modern supply chains, where strategic excellence translates into substantial business success.

Embarking on the journey toward 2024, the landscape of supply chains is set to undergo a transformative evolution, with key pillars shaping the future: Technology, Localization, and Resilience. As we stand at the threshold of a new era, the intricate dance between these elements promises to redefine how businesses operate and adapt to the challenges of a dynamic world.

Resilience as a Key Attribute in Future Supply Chains

In recent years, owing to far-reaching disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and most recently the Israel-Palestine conflict, modern supply chains have been facing enormous uncertainties. Now, even as the world heads into 2024, such unforeseen disruptions show no signs of slowing down. Accordingly, resilience has emerged as a key attribute for the future of supply chains, presenting itself as an essential quality for lasting progress.

Supply chain resilience is paramount for organizations to adapt and operate seamlessly amid uncertainties. Failing to achieve this resilience leads to an inability to meet demands and maintain quality, resulting in substantial revenue loss. According to Gartner, only 21% of supply chain businesses believe they have highly resilient networks. Despite changes over the years, ongoing disruptions emphasize the urgency of prioritizing supply chain resilience. Strategies for resilience have become essential for modern businesses, often distinguishing leaders from followers in the competitive landscape.

Technology Trends Shaping Future Supply Chains

Strong technological solutions serve as a backbone for the supply chains of the future. These innovations have been building resilience in the supply chains of today and are bound to be the drivers of the high-performing supply chains of tomorrow.

  • Internet of Things: According to a 2022 research by Zippia, only 6% of surveyed businesses had full visibility on their supply chains. IoT solutions can serve as the ideal answer by providing real-time visibility and tracking across the entire supply chain with the use of cameras and sensors. With IoT technologies, companies can receive a comprehensive view of the status, location, and condition of their goods at every stage.
  • Artificial Intelligence: According to McKinsey, AI-powered forecasting in supply chain management can reduce errors by 20 to 50 percent. AI solutions can be leveraged to identify trends and patterns, increase the accuracy of demand forecasting, and enable predictive maintenance.
  • Blockchain: Blockchain solutions can be used to achieve end-to-end transparency across the supply chain with real-time visibility into all transactions and events. This allows organizations to promptly respond to any disruptions by effectively identifying the affected components.
  • Data Analytics: By leveraging the power of data, organizations can gain invaluable insights into operations across their supply chains, identify performance gaps, perform root cause analysis, and ultimately create flexible supply chain designs.
  • Robotics and Automation: Automation technologies such as robotics and autonomous systems can be utilized to streamline repetitive tasks and processes, optimize transportation, reduce human dependency, and bolster overall efficiency.

The Rise of Localization and Collaboration in Supply Chain Resilience

In recent years, sourcing raw materials and supplies from distant locations has been an effective solution to lowering costs. But longer supply chains with complex transportation routes also mean greater possibilities for unforeseen disruptions. For example, when the megaship Ever Given caused the 2021 Suez Canal obstruction, the resulting six-day holdup affected approximately 12% of all global trade, amounting to a staggering loss of nearly $10 billion every day.

To fortify the resilience of future supply chains against disruptions, localization has become a prominent trend. Offering benefits such as increased speed-to-market, diminished reliance on global supply chains, and swifter responses to market volatility, localization fosters stronger relationships with local suppliers, leading to higher-quality services and more profitable deals. While a fully localized approach may not always be feasible due to the global nature of businesses and the availability of raw materials in specific locations, a balanced multisourcing strategy supported by robust technological innovations remains an ideal solution.

The Role of Sustainable Practices in Achieving Resilience

In an age of conscious consumerism, customers largely prefer products that are sustainably sourced and ethically made. Besides attracting larger audiences, embracing sustainability across the supply chain can help build resilience by reducing dependencies on external vendors, minimizing waste, and increasing the use of renewable resources. Furthermore, as governments push for environmental regulations and sustainable approaches, companies that have already embraced greener measures across their supply chains can stay a step ahead of the competition and efficiently achieve long-term milestones.

Conclusion

The future of supply chains demands a strategic fusion of resilience, technology, localization, collaboration, and sustainability. As businesses enter 2024 with supply chain disruptions showing no signs of decelerating, resilience stands as an essential attribute for meeting volatile demands. Similarly, technological innovations such as IoT, AI, blockchain, data analytics, and automation serve as the linchpin, providing real-time visibility, enhancing forecasting accuracy, and ensuring transparency.

Localization of supply chains offers speed-to-market, reduced global dependencies, and stronger collaboration with local suppliers, allowing businesses to mitigate risks and uncertainties. Furthermore, sustainability not only aligns with conscious consumer preferences but also minimizes waste and positions businesses ahead of regulatory curves. The future of resilient supply chains lies in the synergy of these elements, where businesses that adopt the correct technologies, find a multisourcing approach that champions localization, and practice sustainability are bound to flourish.

Rahul Garg

Founder & CEO at Moglix

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