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Supply chain management is always evolving. In fact, the smartest techniques for supply chain optimization are always shifting, and unless you keep up, you can hurt your bottom-line with out-of-date technology and cost-ineffective procedures. Remember: the “big thing” one year could prove to be a flop the next. But here we’ve found six trends that we expect will emerge — or continue to flourish — in supply chain management in 2017:

1. Breaking Down Siloes

For true supply chain optimization, businesses are breaking down siloes to make processes more efficient and transparent. Additionally, a silo breakdown ensures that companies save by reducing delays and reacting to changes more quickly.

2. Reshaping E-Retailing Logistics

In 2016, e-commerce grew from 9 percent of the retail market to 30 percent. With this explosive growth, retailers need to able to deliver packages on time. Some companies are investing in drones and crowdsourcing to adapt to the changing market. Mercedes Benz, for example, has invested over $500 million in last-mile delivery vans that launch package-delivering drones from their roofs.

3. Disaster Preparation 

Supply chain optimization requires fulfillment regardless of weather. With recent unusual weather patterns across the globe, companies need to assess disruption risk and update their risk management strategies to deal with global climate changes.

4. C-Suite Realignment  

In a 2013 survey, 62 percent of those surveyed felt that top officials failed to commit to supply chain management. In 2017, that dynamic will continue changing as CFOs, CEOs, and investors come to play a more regular role in valuing and risk assessment in the supply chain. This commitment will help them balance growth, customer service.

5. Further Utilization of loT

Supply chain optimization in 2017 will be epitomized by IoT sensor data and the leveraging of that data into actionable tasks. While IoT tools aren’t new in logistics, the orchestration of the supply chain in the Supply Chain Control Tower is. Data can now be more current and more external than it could in years past. Additionally, public cloud networks offer better supply chain optimization opportunities for external data collection.

6. Predictive Analytics

Consumer demand can be more accurately forecasted using predictive analytics tracking, including search data and location tracking. This kind of data can be used to create lean organization with more accurate inventory levels in supply chains.

Integrated Supply Chains and Risk Management

Evolution is key to ensuring your supply chain will survive — and thrive — in today’s volatile business world. If you stick to tried-and-true strategies without adopting dynamic risk management strategies and integrated supply chains, you risk being left behind. In addition to considering adopting the strategies above, also think about incorporating more risk management tools that can solve your primary goal: minimizing disruption and hitting timely targets.

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Editor's Note: This blog was originally published March 14, 2014 and has since been updated and expanded upon with new information. To read the original post click here

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About Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.

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