The supply chain network is complex, full of different facilities, programmes and factors involved in production and distribution from end to end. As such, it is vital for businesses to ensure that supply chains run efficiently and productively – and in a way that meets the needs of all parties, including the consumer.
Jean-Baptiste Clouard, CEO at Flowlity, an innovative AI-based supply chain planning and optimisation solution, outlines four emerging trends in supply chain management that businesses should look to implement in 2023, in order to increase the efficiency of supply chain strategies and optimise productivity.
Supply chains are going green
Due to increased demand for sustainable practices from investors and consumers alike, there is growing pressure on businesses to adopt green processes in the supply chain. Most of an organisation’s indirect emissions are produced from their supply chain, so climate-smart supply chain strategies that reduce carbon footprints will be significant in 2023.
A sustainable supply chain is one that adopts environmental and socially sustainable practices at every stage of production in order to protect both people and the environment. Growing legislation is making eco-friendly supply chain strategies a legal requirement, meaning now is the time to adapt. When it comes to sustainability in the supply chain, environmental impacts are not the only aspect businesses should consider – it can also reduce waste and associated costs, as well as allowing companies to create improved partnership opportunities through increased legitimisation of the business. Developing a supply chain strategy that accounts for excess waste and environmental impact will be essential in 2023 to ensure a robust supply chain that is equipped to deal with volatility.
Circular supply chains will become more common practise
As opposed to the traditional, linear model of a supply chain, there has been an increase in circular supply chains. This is where discarded end products are reused. With the rising costs of raw materials and volatility in their availability, 2023 will see more companies opting to break down their end products so that they can be reused in their raw form.
This will help businesses save on costs, and reduce exposure to volatility and disruptions, as there is less reliance on raw materials and fluctuating costs and availability. Circular supply chains also further support a sustainable strategy, producing less waste and reducing the environmental impact. This trend is one that will deliver real and immediate positive impact for businesses in terms of a more productive supply chain.
Technology to manage supply chains will develop (SCaaS)
2023 will see a rise in supply chain management technology, such as Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS). This will progress as businesses look to increase end-to-end visibility and reduce volatility. Supply chains are still recovering from the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, which saw unforeseeable widespread disruption. As such, supply chain managers are looking for ways to ensure supply chains are resilient and equipped to cope with changing demands.
SCaaS systems are far more flexible than traditional JIT models and gain their flexibility through technology-driven solutions. Because of this, they allow organisations to optimise, plan and track orders from end to end. Cloud-based technology allows supply chain managers to access data from more locations, giving them greater visibility over the entire supply chain at any time. The technologies are likely to continue to develop in 2023 and will be key for businesses to implement to better manage supply chain practices.
Automation through AI will become more integrated
Integrating AI into supply chain management strategies allows processes to be automated. AI can also identify patterns in the supply chain, which is crucial for forecasting and planning heading into 2023. By using an AI-based software solution, such as one provided by Flowlity, businesses can better manage their inventories and leverage algorithms to have the right amount of products at the right place.
Automation takes a lot of the guesswork out of planning and forecasting, and increases efficiency in the supply chain by reducing human error in calculations. AI systems can also alert users to potential disruptions and risks of over or under stocks, allowing organisations to react before it becomes costly. Solutions like this will become an integral part of any supply chain process.
As businesses have seen with the covid pandemic, supply chains cannot rely on a fixed strategy that is not flexible or responsive to changing environments. The supply chain itself is changing and it is crucial that supply chain managers stay on top of trends that seek to optimise supply chain strategies. Utilising these trends in the supply chain in 2023 will help ensure a more efficient and productive strategy to ensure business success.