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AdexinBlogUltimate Supply Chain Trends In 2024

Ultimate Supply Chain Trends In 2024

Apr 4, 2024
7 min

Trends in the supply chains aren't a temporary fad. The entire supply chain industry is undergoing a massive transformation toward digital solutions. The entire management approach in the supply chain is shifting, revealing thoroughly new trends in supply chain management.

Today, operations are no longer dependent on silos, and every single part of the operation becomes deeply integrated, providing complete insights into all operations. Companies are embracing data analytics, automation, and on-the-road supply chain trends with generative artificial intelligence, seeing these components as the future of the supply chain in 2024.

This article is about the top supply chain industry trends, where we take you on an exciting journey to talk about the latest developments in the business and the future of supply chain management. If you're one of the supply chain managers, you may see direct value from this article for your future actions, what we gained is based on years of experience in software development for the supply chain industry.

Today’s trends in the supply chain involve using technology foremost in every aspect of operations. They also involve gaining more informative insights from all angles of the supply chain business, whether related to logistics, warehousing, distribution, or transportation.

When you think about supply chain trends, you need to have a holistic view of supply chains and a completely fresh perception of the interconnected network.

Cooperation and data exchange between different units of the supply chain has become so important that there is no more room for silos where one part of the business falls apart only because it consumes different resources. 

Today’s trends in the supply chain are telling us that digitizing is an absolute must in supply chains, and no matter where a company is right now, you should be aware that your competitors who are early adopters of some of the new trends will most likely already be better adapted to the future challenges.

So don’t lose your chance to see where you might expect developments and where you may consider future investments in supply chain management.

Trends in the supply chain are changing your business by providing new operating models and improving broad processes. Leveraging technological advancements and supply chain software development is one of the leading future industry trends in management. The future of the supply chain lies in technology that brings cost-benefit. That’s the leading goal companies would like to be focused on.

Supply chain management trends
Supply chain management trends

Trends in supply chain management are evolving rapidly to meet global demands.  There is a noticeable shift toward supply chain digital transformation and emerging technologies deployment to increase crucial elements of the industry with more flexibility, visibility, and sustainability. This approach will also enable better supply chain visibility.

1. Generative AI in the supply chain

Generative AI has already significantly impacted the supply chains and stands as one of the most critical trends in the industry for 2024. The impact of AI on SCM performance revolves around revealing blind spots to help identify previously invisible areas to control tower supply chain operations and business analytics. 

When utilizing AI in SCM performance, we focus on measurement tools that consider crucial indicators such as lead time, load rate (LTL, etc.), fuel pricing, inventory management, and on-time performance. These standard data volumes can be easily gathered in-house to encompass the full scope of the supply chain and help with risk management. And taking this data from all stakeholders in the supply chain is also crucial. 

The role of AI in measuring effectiveness among many supply chain trends is to handle massive amounts of data and calculate outcomes quickly, providing users, which means logistics planners, managers, and others, with suggested prompts for action.  

AI offers accurate forecasts of future trends in supply chain behavior and can manage complex algorithms that reduce wasteful inventory expenses, optimize poorly planned routes, and even guide drivers on how to behave behind the steering wheel.

McKinsey & Company has revealed that AI in the supply chain helps organizations tackle challenges arising from the complexity of product portfolios. Therefore, based on this statement, with AI, we don’t have to worry about the vast amount of very diverse stocks characteristic of e-commerce.

Taking another example from e-commerce in the supply chain, AI can ideally help with document management, which is very saturated and becoming complicated regarding cross-border shipping.

Issues with document compliance in e-commerce are frequently faced by the biggest logistics companies, such as FedEx, that support e-commerce in their routine shipping. But AI can also solve that. 

What should be considered when using AI in the supply chain?

Here is what to consider while using AI in the supply chain:

  • Supply chain adaptation for artificial intelligence: Ensure that your Company can adapt AI extensively and avoid shortcomings, as using data partially from one or two stakeholders might not be enough to make the right decisions in supply chains.

  • Artificial intelligence and technology advancement: Determine if your business can utilize AI in daily operations and ensure sufficient knowledge and technology, such as mobile devices and IoT connectors or integrations with advanced systems that allow for smooth data collection.

  • Personnel training: Ensure that your staff can use data correctly. Changing people's logistics and supply chain habits is challenging, and it might often be related to difficult hiring decisions.

Elements of implementation of AI in the supply chain
Elements of implementation of AI in the supply chain

2. Big data for the supply chain managers

Big data in the supply chain is about fast data processing and the ability to exchange data, allowing supply chain managers to make informed decisions. It ensures transparency in your business, which is critical to maintaining smooth operations.

Big data is one of the trends in the supply chain, and it involves collecting data across various parts of the supply chain and utilizing it effectively.

Gone are the old times when your suppliers hid partial data to cover their incompetencies, late deliveries, poor planning, and management in the supply chain.

Today, your suppliers know that you may obtain required data elsewhere on their performance, which could negatively impact relationships. Hence, they strive to provide maximum data to help you with your analytics. 

Mutual trust is crucial, but keeping an eye on firm numbers when facing doubts is even better. Therefore, using big data in the supply chain, you can leverage your analytics, which utilizes data collected from all stakeholders and calculations to improve decision-making for all operations across the supply chain.

What should be considered when utilizing Big Data in the supply chain?

  • Enable Stakeholders with data wit: Ensure that your supply chain counterparts can provide the required data.

  • Integrate data for: Connect all databases and facilities, as well as operations from distinct entities, transportation, and logistics, to ensure you have a comprehensive view of the entire supply chain components.

  • Outline goals: Data collection is only the first step; the more complex aspect involves analytics, which should provide answers to minimize pain points, ineffectiveness, and additional unnecessary expenses.

Elements of implementation of big data in the supply chain
Elements of implementation of big data in the supply chain

3. Supply chain future with custom software development 

Custom software development outlines the future of the supply chain by better aligning with specific business needs. In 2024, the trend toward custom software development will strongly compete with low-code solutions, which are currently favored by businesses with limited resources.

In both cases, companies in the supply chain can obtain the most suitable solution for supply chain leaders on the journey of digital transformation. Still, custom software development like TMS and FMS development is far more advanced and better tailored to their business complexity.  

React Native applications for truck drivers

We enable businesses with mobile technology based on React Native, Flutter, and others. By using various approaches, we ensure agility with projects that require connecting with legacy systems. Out of our experience, we know that mobility plays a crucial role in today's transportation industry.

For example, drivers use a mobile app to access the system. Shortly after authentication, they are available to connect with the portal. So, they can send updates about delivering cargo in real time. Many more events occur in the background of such an easy task as confirming digital proof-of-delivery (POD).

In this case, users, truck drivers, are using a portal where the back-end is developed with the Node.js environment, a web client application with React.js, and a mobile application created with React Native. The system's data is persisted into a PostgreSQL relational database.

Nevertheless, custom software development in the supply chain is now exclusively for large companies. The accessibility of custom software development services has become so widespread that many companies in the supply chain landscape are more likely to choose a custom software development partner to obtain an agile solution that will be profitable for them for years and secure their business in the uncertain future.

The choice of custom software development provides resilient supply chains and ensures supply chain agility. Supply chain resilience has its superiority among today's business operations.

Companies today opt for custom Transportation Management System (TMS) development to enhance overall supply chain activities. While there are numerous benefits associated with custom TMS development, it's not the only example.

Custom software development facilitates the integration of multiple systems and solutions, including route planning and document digitization systems.

What should be considered when implementing custom software development in the supply chain?

  • Choose the proper developer: Select a software development partner with extensive experience and expertise in the supply chain and utilizes the required technology.

  • Make forecasts: elaborate a long-term plan for extending your custom software with additional features that will enable your business to tackle the future challenges of the supply chain and help with supply chain planning.

  • Map your supply chain: ensure that you have mapped all supply chain activities that must be integrated and digitized by the custom software.

Elements of implementation of custom software development in the supply chain
Elements of implementation of custom software development in the supply chain

4. Green supply chain management

Green supply chain management involves implementing sustainable practices within the supply chain to mitigate environmental issues. Reducing CO2 emissions emerges as a prominent trend in supply chain management, indicative of its future trajectory.

Supply chain procurement often needs embedded green practices, necessitating companies to monitor suppliers for compliance with green policies.

Businesses strive for complete transparency in their processes to ensure they are not perceived as contributors to environmental degradation. Emissions are now the top concern of respondents in 11 of the 13 countries polled, up from four in the 2019 environmental survey made by McKinsey.

In many jurisdictions, adherence to green policies becomes obligatory, compelling companies to comply with regulations to avoid penalties. Consequently, they are inclined to engage only with partners prioritizing environmental considerations.

Sustainable supply chains have become imperative as customers increasingly prioritize environmental awareness. Joint social commitments and governance initiatives will further strengthen this trend in 2024. Therefore, it's worth considering green logistics in your supply chain management.

What should be considered to comply with green supply chain practices?

  • Use electric vehicles: Utilizing electric vehicles can ultimately lower CO2 pollution. Therefore, consider incorporating electric trucks into your fleet.

  • Deploy route planning: Implementing software for route planning can help you reduce fuel usage by selecting the most suitable routes.

  • Start with intelligent SCM: Employ technologies such as AI, big data, and custom software development to achieve agile solutions and enhance decision-making processes that comply with green practices.

Elements of implementation of green practice in the supply chain
Elements of implementation of green practice in the supply chain

5. Autonomous supply chain 

An autonomous supply chain involves embedding robotics and automation in your supply chain operations. This trend is moving towards autonomous vehicles in warehouses and distribution centers.

Simultaneously, this is integrated with software that collects data from technological components and retrieves data from vehicles, IoT connectors, and sensors, and later processes data on orders and more.

Looking through our experience, we can give an example of integrating telematics systems via API. Other examples are related to connecting third-party dash cameras, which allow, for example, detecting drivers' violations of the road rules, such as not following the speed limit or not stopping at the red light. Cameras integrated with the software can help to spot any events on the road. Of course, all these features require suitable configuration to trigger the right system actions, for example, when the driver's speed exceeds 20 km/h, then the system admin can collect data on these violations.

Automated processes are expected to expand significantly in 2024 on a much larger scale. This also addresses personnel shortages and training requirements.

A great example is the UPS SCS warehouse transformation from a distribution center in the Netherlands to a fulfillment center. Here, shelving was partially replaced with modern automated warehouse modules. It represents cutting-edge retail and integrated manufacturing support, facilitating efficiency across all warehouses and enabling seamless e-commerce fulfillment.

What should be considered when implementing an autonomous supply chain?

  • Ensure technology compatibility: Ensure your staff is qualified to work with automated technologies such as machines, tools, and robots in your supply chain and manufacturing. Additionally, ensure that technological advancements do not adversely affect less modernized parts of your business.

  • Ensuring technology integration: It is essential to ensure the seamless integration of different technologies within the autonomous supply chain. This includes the integration of hardware, such as robotics and automated vehicles, with software systems for data collection, analysis, and decision-making. 

  • Cyber security: With the increasing reliance on digital technologies and interconnected systems, cyber security is becoming a primary goal. Implement robust cyber security measures to protect the autonomous supply chain from cyber threats and data breaches.

Elements of implementation of autonomous in the supply chain
Elements of implementation of autonomous in the supply chain

Building the supply chain of the future

Trends in the supply chain tell us about the course of future actions toward the entire landscape. In short, you need to be prepared for a major shift toward digitalization and technology adaptation in 2024.

Consider how to integrate particular trends of the day into your operation, as early adopters can benefit much more in the future. Despite that, some deployments might pose risks and cause expenses; the first step in integration and all developments starts with software.

It seems reasonable to look after customer software development that allows you to integrate all technologies in the future and make your supply chain resilient. Begin with disruptions by using one of the mentioned trends we observed and compiled from supply chain industry experts professionals and improve your chain processes.

At Adexin, we strive to provide custom software development services that help you be more agile and adapt to supply chain trends seamlessly. Find out more about future trends in supply chain management with us. 

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FAQ

What are the trends in SCM?

Supply chain management (SCM) trends include the widespread use of technology in business operations. These are connecting ways to extract insightful data from all aspects of the supply chain. At the same time, they are interconnected and break down silos in organizations and digitization. Key trends highlighted in the article include generative artificial intelligence, custom software development, the use of big data, green supply chain management, and autonomous supply chain operations.

What is the future of SCM?

The future of supply chain management lies in further integrating technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and custom software development. These advancements increase flexibility, transparency, sustainability, and supply chain efficiency. Moreover, we can expect continued pressure on environmental sustainability and meeting the demands of increasingly conscious consumers in 2024.

What is the main SCM challenge?

One of SCM's main challenges is ensuring seamless coordination and cooperation among the various stakeholders in the supply chain network. This includes suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and logistics partners. Overcoming siloed operations and integrating the exchange of data between different supply chain stakeholders remains a significant challenge for many companies these days. Businesses should be interconnected and exchange data in real time.

What is modern SCM?

Modern supply chain management (SCM) involves the strategic coordination and optimization of all activities related to the flow of goods and services. These include sourcing raw materials for the final delivery to the end customer. This includes using advanced technologies, data-driven decision-making, sustainability practices, and agile methodologies to increase efficiency and responsiveness throughout the supply chain.

Why is SCM becoming increasingly important?

SCM is becoming increasingly important due to several factors:
Globalization: Companies operate in a global market and require complex supply chain networks to source materials, manufacture products, and distribute them worldwide.
Customer expectations: Consumers demand faster deliveries, customized products, and transparent supply chains. To meet these demands, an efficient SCM is required.
Cost optimization: An effective SCM helps companies streamline operations, reduce inventory costs, minimize lead times, and improve overall cost efficiency.
Sustainability: With growing concerns about the environment, we should focus on the fact that sustainable practices in SCM are crucial to reducing carbon emissions and minimizing waste while remaining socially responsible.
Competitive advantage: A well-managed supply chain can be a source of competitive advantage. As such, it enables companies to respond quickly to market changes.

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