With an unpredictable global economy and ever-changing consumer demands, the future of supply chain management is just as uncertain. The one thing consultants can agree on is that most companies will have to adapt their supply chain strategies to enjoy success in 2013.
Cost Reduction Is No Longer Priority
“The next wave of supply chain thinking needs to take a holistic approach to cost reduction, service and cash flow improvements whilst accepting that complexity is here to stay whether we like it or not,” says supply chain consultant Dave Alberts. Productivity is becoming increasingly important to meet customer demands, along with innovation and flexibility. Successful companies will still work to cut costs, but it will take a backseat to other priorities.
Data Analytics Steers Strategy
“Manufacturing supply chains and other industry supply chains have been faced with a blizzard of data for the last five years and hadn’t in the past done a particularly good job of analyzing that data. Based on their forecast we think that’s really going to change,” says IDC research director Leslie Hand. Collecting, analyzing, and actually using the ‘big data’ available will give companies an edge in 2013, helping them understand more about their consumers, suppliers, and their competition.
Strategies Change with Consumer Demands
“Customer demands are getting more complex and ‘one size fits all’ will not provide competitive benefit. Those tailoring their supply chains will see a more successful 2013 than those that don’t,” says Alberts. Businesses that aren’t already utilizing a global supply chain will expand their options to best meet the needs of their end users. Advanced technology will also play a big role in keeping the supply chain flexible, making it easier to foresee and overcome disruptions.
Supply chain management continues to gain more importance in business operations for 2013. Companies that stay on the cutting edge of the latest strategies and adapt with the changing demands of their consumers will see the most success as the global economy moves forward.