Transportation Predictions That Will Shake-Up the Supply Chain Industry In 2018

In the book, The Living Supply Chain, the authors argue that “Speeding up the supply chain is at the root of everything that is good: improved revenue, reduced working capital, higher profitability, and less obsolete inventory.

Conversely, slowing down the supply chain is at the root of everything that is bad: working capital write-offs, reduced profitability, and slowing revenues.”

To “speed” up the supply chain is to invest in change and change will come with the digital transformation of the supply chain, which is the major focus for executives in 2018.

Much change in the supply chain industry will be due to innovative technologies for digital transformations, along with the recent tax reforms (see below), and the still-current driver shortage/capacity crunch.

The digital transformation of the supply chain will change everything – for the better.

These are the innovative technologies that I predict companies must use to undergo this transformation within their supply chains:

  1. Cloud-based technology
  2. Advanced Analytics
  3. Tracking and Tracing
  4. Supply Chain Visibility
  5. Blockchain
  6. Artificial Intelligence
  7. Predictive Analytics
  8. The Internet of Things

“In 2018, shippers must embrace change in order to succeed. Waiting and seeing what will happen is no longer an option,” adds Clark.

“Transportation management systems are poised as the fundamental tool for supply chain transformation, helping businesses to position themselves above the competition with sustainable profits and better service levels.”

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6 Ways Quality Can Strengthen Supply Chain Profitability

To thrive in today’s competitive global business environment, manufacturers must have a top-to-bottom quality-oriented approach that infuses innovative thinking into every part of the supply chain in order to deliver world-class performance through products, processes and people.

Some promising news, according to a recently published report by Forbes Insights and ASQ, is that senior executives and quality professionals see a direct connection between the success of their continuous improvement initiatives and the success of their organizations as a whole.

The Forbes Insights/ASQ research surveyed 1,869 executives and quality professionals from around the world and focused on the links between quality efforts and corporate performance, as well as the evolving business value of quality and its relationship to the supply chain. Thirty-six percent of enterprises surveyed said that they regard themselves as an established quality organization, while 39% reported that they are still developing their quality programs and 25% said they are struggling to implement quality in their companies.

For those organizations that do have established quality programs, more than half say their initiatives already encompass a range of key corporate functions, including operations and supply chain management.

This focus on quality for the supply chain is especially crucial when one recognizes that supply chain management is often motivated to achieve the least cost when identifying and qualifying new suppliers. Supply chain leaders are often rewarded for these cost-savings. But then extra costs are incurred once the final product is manufactured and delivered and it is discovered that reworks are required due to the focus on price and not quality.

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Communicating sustainability in the supply chain: Five top tips

The sustainability of modern supply chains is under scrutiny from all angles, with consumers, manufacturers, processors and farmers all keen to ensure affordability and profitability. With such tensions in the chain, how can ‘the middle man’ deliver on demands of global customers and mobilise staff in the changing landscape of ever-higher stakeholder expectations?

1 – Don’t over-promise

It’s very easy to get carried away and over-promise, but sustainability targets should never be divorced from your basic business principles. Road-test promises internally before they are communicated to the outside world – especially when they are made within customer partnerships.

2 – Don’t alienate colleagues

No sustainability targets can be achieved by the sustainability team alone. We need our colleagues to deliver on our promises. However, sustainability has developed its own jargon-filled language which tends to alienate those working outside of it – take the term ‘capacity building’. While it means giving people the necessary knowledge and skills to shape their own development, I’ve had numerous instances where colleagues thought we were talking about building extra factory processing volume or similar!

3 – Don’t doubt yourself

There is a growing pressure from customers, shareholders and NGOs to comply with regulated sustainability schemes. While external certification bodies, such as FairTrade and Rainforest Alliance, act as third party auditors and provide reassurance to customers, it is often true that no-one knows your business better than yourself. We believe that in addition to third party certification, there is a role for companies to develop verification schemes that are independently audited.

4 – Don’t collect data for data’s sake

Don’t get obsessed by the metrics without knowing why you’re collecting them or how to usefully act upon them. Focus on impact, insight, outcomes and improvement, not the glory of numbers.

5 – Don’t go it alone

Companies don’t operate in isolation. There is a paradigm shift towards collaboration, and the nature of where and how to compete is being re-framed. The CEO of a global telecoms company once said that his biggest business regret was wasting over a decade and billions of pounds’ investment before he discussed sharing infrastructure such as masts with his competitors.

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