5 Trends Transforming Supply Chains in 2016

The Need For a Digital Supply Chain is Higher Than Ever

Digital Supply ChainMore than ever, businesses require end-to-end visibility, advanced analytics, and cross-functional collaboration in their supply chains. Fortunately, with web-based EDI services and advanced ERP software, savvy companies can get ahead of the curve through enhanced forecasting and seamless data management.

While company stakeholders have their eyes on the latest advancements in big data and industry-specific optimization, several widespread trends are driving the shift to a digital supply chain.

product life cycle1. Product Lifecycles Are Quickly Shrinking

As technology is allowing us to live longer than ever, it’s having the opposite effect on products in many industries – especially tech-related products, such as hardware, software, and consumer electronics.

The traditional product lifecycle of development, launch, growth, maturity, and decline occurs in roughly half the time it took a decade ago and is expected to decrease by half again over the coming decade.

The good news is there are more business opportunities on which to capitalize. On the other hand, there’s more pressure to get your product to market quicker and to maximize the efficiency of your supply chain.

To compete in the digital age your company needs to be equipped with accurate forecasting, seamless warehouse communication, and inventory management optimization.

2. Increased Outsourcing Opportunities

What was once looked down upon only a few decades ago has now become a standard and expected component in modern business. The ability to outsource part of (or all of) your manufacturing process has removed many barriers-to-entry for new businesses and significantly increased competition.

outsourcing opportunitiesBy outsourcing manufacturing and logistics, new companies can have an enterprise-level supply chain without the enormous upfront investment of time and money. Plus, the cost-savings from outsourcing to manufacturers in China, or other developing countries, make it easier to compete with low retail prices.

However, with all of the advantages that outsourcing brings to the table, there are also several potential downfalls. The first concern for many business owners is the perceived lack of control from allowing other vendors to handle everything. The biggest long-term issue, though, is trying to manage all of the various moving parts.

Complex supply chains require EDI for seamless communication, transparent supply chain management, and real-time updating for all vendors. Business processes that used to take days or weeks have been condensed to seconds, and at a fraction of the cost.

globalization3. The Rise of Globalization

Globalization has completed changed the way businesses operate, and at this point, there’s no going back. It’s not just India and China that are attracting businesses with their affordable services, having a supply chain that’s spread across three or four continents is the new normal.

Improved communications and IT technology, such as EDI, and rapid innovation in transportation make it more practical than ever to have suppliers located all over the world. Plus, it allows your supply chain to operate around the clock, instead of being restricted to the business hours of your timezone.

However, business owners need to consider other events than cost savings: natural disasters, the political climate, and international trade laws can have significant consequences for your business.

4. Changing Consumer Demands

There’s never been a better time in history to be a consumer. Anything you could possibly want is only a few clicks away. That means consumer-facing businesses are expected to develop and deliver products instantly.

consumersEven B2B companies are seeing increased demand for speed because B2B customers are still consumers, after all.

Of course, it’s not enough to get your products in the hands of your customers quickly. Consumers also expect your products to be high-quality, environmentally friendly, and affordable – and thanks to the internet they can verify all of this information on their own!

Businesses that use EDI in their supply chain not only get the cost-savings needed to offer lower prices, they also benefit from a seamless supply chain that gets products to their customers quickly – all while eliminating massive amounts of paper use.

supply chain officers review5. Supply Chain Officers

As supply chains continue to get more complex, while simultaneously contributing more to the bottom line, we see a new role at the C-level more often than before – the Supply Chain Officer.

What makes this scenario interesting is that Supply Chain Officers are becoming more involved in product design, sales, and operations. The demand for optimization requires thoughtful input from all key decision-makers in an organization.

Priority number one for companies adding a Supply Chain Officer to their executive team is creating an entirely digital supply chain – and the first step to accomplishing that task is becoming EDI capable.

You can save time and money by outsourcing your EDI needs to BOLD VAN, where our team of friendly EDI experts handles everything for you.

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