We all know that supply chains are in a constant state of flux. They have undergone, and continue to undergo, massive change. For example, not that long ago relationship management and financial management weren’t paramount tasks of supply chain managers. Now, if a supply chain manager doesn’t focus on every relationship in the chain, as well as take responsibility for financial management, they simply aren’t doing their job.
Knowing what’s coming next is the key to success in the future for all of us. So what are the latest trends in the supply chain?
The Changing Face of Global Risk
Supply chains are always at the mercy of risk. However, perhaps never before has global risk had such a complicated impact on supply chains. Supply chains now are likely to include facets of a truly global nature. Therefore understanding supply chain risk management and applying it to your supply chain is crucial.
These risks can be broken down in to four categories: hazard risk; financial risk; operational risk; and strategic risk. All four elements need to be confronted, understood and managed. For example, it is essential to understand geo-political events in the context of your organisation, or the risk of poorly managed supplier relationships. Every element of risk needs to be identified and mitigated against.
Talent Management Will Make Or Break a Chain
There are a few problems with the current approach to talent management in many supply chains. Typically, supply chain managers are a dying breed. Identifying, enticing and holding on to the talent needed for the future now requires a completely different approach. The Millennial Generation want careers that put them at the cutting edge of technology, as well as giving them room for long-term growth, whilst operating in a context of greater social responsibility and a job market that doesn’t particularly reward loyalty.
Therefore, a unique approach to talent management needs to happen. This is where supply chain and logistics consultants can step in and effect change.
Analytics, and the use of data, is a huge trend for supply chains. Big Data, and business intelligence, gives power to supply chain managers in a way that simply hasn’t existed previously. For your supply chain to thrive you need to understand the relevance of using the data you now capture. This data is the key to your long-term success so it shouldn’t be ignored.
Competition and Financial Management
Supply chain managers increasingly need to wear many different business hats. Competition within the industry means that relationships with suppliers, and everyone within the chain, need to be nurtured and managed. This is central to financial management too. Innovation is central to successfully managing the business.
Collaboration up and down the chain is crucial to the efficiency and success of a supply chain. No element of the chain operates in isolation, and as such, supply chain managers must ensure positive collaboration between all parties, including the careful sharing of relevant information and data.
The Future of Supply Chains
Given the rate of change in the supply chain industry, it is difficult to know for sure what changes are the most important to the future of supply chain management, and the ones to embrace with confidence. However, the above trends look set to stay.