Supply Chain TrendsAre you tired of predictions and resolutions yet? Well I am. The gym is packed with people resolved to be healthier, lose weight, or whatever they think they should be doing there. Fortune tellers have offered their individual takes on what will happen this year (Yes I did too). And some brave ones have even gone back and evaluated how well their predictions did last year. How about some history for a change?

I don’t mean ancient history… just some things that actually happened over the last year or so. I also think these may be indicators of what is to come, but more because they can be seen as trends. So these are not things that might happen in the future. They are things that are working in the supply chain right now. Let me know if you agree and what other trends you are seeing.

Increasingly specific and diverse delivery orders
Expect to get orders that specify delivery to an ever increasing set of destinations. Some of them are destinations suppliers have never delivered to using methods they have never used before including drop-ship, ship from store, pick-up at store, drone delivery.

Cloud everything
Consumers, retailers, and suppliers think that everything is in the cloud already. They’re partially correct as locally installed systems are being moved to cloud based platforms. Some call it SaaS and others may even say their managed systems are cloud based.

Tightened security
No surprise here after major companies report data breeches resulting in losses of their own and their customers’ information.

Localized promotions
The use of smartphones is making it easy for marketers to target directly to consumers as they pass by on the street or walk past a stack of products on the store floor.

Item level identity
RFID is not only inexpensive enough but accepted and required by some. At the same time the Internet of Things (IoT) is bringing a different level and type of tracking intelligence to market.

Deep integration
Software systems are becoming increasingly connected. Part of this is because cloud-based systems make it easier for developers to connect their data systems together in one place rather than at every discrete installation. Visibility demands are driving expanded connections with trading partners across the full extent of the chain.

Retailer horizontal expansion
With Amazon winning awards for the production of their own content as well as delivery systems (Fire TV) companies don’t feel limited by old definitions of what they can produce.

So take what you will from this list of ‘true facts’ and add your own. I don’t know when or what will come of these this year or in years to come, but I’m watching for the next trends to show up.
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