With more consumers than ever doing their everyday shopping online instead of at brick-and-mortar retail stores, a phenomenon known as the ‘Amazon Effect’ has emerged. The online shopping conveniences offered by large retailers like Amazon have led to increased consumer expectations – including rock-bottom prices, endless product variety and fast shipping – all of which affect each part of the global supply chain. Thankfully, automation of logistics and supply chain processes can help businesses of any size keep up with demand, and improve delivery logistics, all while making the process more customer-centric.
What does the new year hold for global supply chain managers? Here are a few of our predictions:
- Increased Accessibility of Warehouse Automation
Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) have the potential to be revolutionary to the supply chain landscape, especially for certain processes like picking and packing. Other than behemoths like Walmart, Target, and Amazon, adoption has not been widespread due to high costs and system complexity. With the evolution of AMR technology driving down costs and decreasing complexity, we foresee their use becoming more widespread and accessible to mid-market companies.
- Global Tariff Unpredictability Continues
The upcoming November U.S. Presidential election and global tariff wars have resulted in uncertainty for B2B and B2C supply chains between the US, Europe and China. Rising tariffs may cause prices to rise and consumer demand to decrease.
- Pre-Fulfillment and Distributed Inventory Reign
Amazon Prime not only changed e-commerce forever, but reinvented modern shopping by setting the expectation that consumers will receive online purchases with expedited delivery windows. If they can’t get it within two days, or increasingly, within 24 hours, buyers begin to look elsewhere. Manufacturers must be able to pre-fulfill orders and transport goods from within close proximity to the consumer in order to satisfy demand, increasing the need for distributed inventory and inventory management tracking systems.
- AI Creates Smarter Warehouses
Integration between various IoT technologies makes for smarter, more productive warehouses. Supply chain automation becomes more integrated with AMRs, with superior warehouse orchestration systems handling the myriad of other tasks AMRs cannot perform.
- Supply Chains Go ‘Greener’
Green logistics not only helps the environment but can lower costs and increase customer loyalty and organizational goodwill. This is especially true among Millennials, 66% of whom are willing to pay more for products that are eco-friendly or sustainable. The sheer volume of waste created by shipping boxes and other packaging will continue to shrink in 2020, while shippers reduce costs through efficiency and the development of more sustainable packing materials. This innovation will include items such as boxes that don’t require tape, or edible packing peanuts, alongside other eco-friendly packing materials.
To keep up with changes in the industry, it is tantamount for businesses to have actionable intelligence. If your business or organization could benefit from increased visibility through our real-time supply chain solution called Supply Chain Orchestration, reach out today to dive deeper.
Joe Harris, Product Manager at OneSCM, has an education in Business Information Systems and over 12 years experience in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.