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2016 trends for the supply chain

Faced with increasingly complex global markets, labour issues and major economic fluctuations, supply chains are looking for solutions that can help meet these challenges. As we move into 2016, Savi Technology, a pioneer in sensor technology and sensor data analytic solutions, identifies the following supply chain trends for 2016 that will help global organisations optimise their logistics operations.

  • Internet of Things-enabled solutions will drive transformational change across the supply chain

Internet of Things-enabled strategies will allow global organisations to connect their products and processes to ensure optimal real-time analysis. In the past, typically up to 80 per cent of the cost associated with analytics projects were related to preparing and integrating data. However, industrial IoT-enabled expertise and solutions, which help to easily integrate and analyse sensor data, show a dramatic ROI.

IDC anticipates that IoT technologies will be materially affecting the way that all companies manage their supply chains by 2020—with estimations that the IoT market will reach $1.7 trillion.

Additionally, Business Insider reported that 82 per cent of businesses are planning to implement IoT solutions by 2017. As a result, we expect that supply chain companies will begin investing in technology innovations that leverage the power of IoT, big data, and analytics. Supply chains that invest in technologies that make sense of their raw data will have a competitive edge over other companies. With this type of data, companies are able to receive end-to-end supply chain visibility as well as insights to anticipate problems, forecast outcomes, prescribe solutions, and prevent costly disruptions.

Analytics solutions will provide all partners in a supply chain with several key types of intelligence, such as true visibility and accurate estimated time of arrivals, risk identification and avoidance, predictive modeling to anticipate supply chain changes, and insight into improved operational processes.

  • True supply chain end-to-end visibility will be achieved for the first time

Gartner predicts that there will be 25 billion sensor devices connected to the IoT by 2020. Sensor technology is not new to the supply chain industry. Many organisations are already collecting data from enterprise systems, telematics devices, sensors, and real-time data feeds, such as weather and traffic. Despite this, due to the varied formats and the vast quantity of data, companies experience challenges integrating real-time streaming data and historical data in order to make sense of and use the data effectively.

Due to the unprecedented availability of sensor-based data and other data sources, combined with advanced analytics solutions, data is transformed into usable intelligence in order to provide true end-to-end visibility for the first time. Massive streams of data and analytics give supply chains insights that will help them make more informed decisions by simultaneously comparing real-time metrics with past results for more accurate forecasting.

  • Organisations will demand purpose-built applications

According to Business Continuity Institute, 78.6 per cent of organisations have inadequate visibility of their supply chains. Milestone visibility or toolkit approaches will no longer be enough. The purpose-built analytics approach produces critical insights that will drive action across supply chain –as supply chains seek to know what happened, what will happen, and what should happen. In addition, purpose-built application implementation can be done in weeks vs. months.

  • Greater focus on logistics efficiency and accuracy

Major trends in transportation have changed little over the past few years, with many challenges still existing around supply chain logistics planning, such as cross-docking and accurate estimated time of arrivals (ETA). In continued efforts to address these challenges, we anticipate that transportation companies will augment traditional transportation management systems (TMS) with sensor analytics technologies. Sensor analytics technologies will provide companies with better visibility and deeper knowledge of their supply chain performance based on the collection and analysis of real-time and historical data. This will allow companies to leverage existing data from TMS, GPS, and other sensor devices to accurately predict ETAs and improve cross-docking initiatives.

  • Partnering to improve the supply chain

We expect to see a continued focus on cost reductions through better cross docking and the use of multi-category distribution centres via partnering with other companies. Partnering provides a way to leverage the unique skills and expertise of each partner so that it mutually benefits both parties. Through partnerships, companies enable highly competitive supply chains that yield benefits such as: increased market share, improved cross docking, less inventory, more accurate delivery times, and overall better service to customers.

Andy Souders, Senior Vice President, Products and Strategy, Savi

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