Gartner offers supply chain management predictions

describe the imageResearch organization Gartner recently took stock of the supply chain management environment, offering predictions about the field's future. The projections demonstrated that supply and logistics procedures are at the mercy of overarching global forces, such as the market's demands and the progress of software development. By making themselves aware of supply chain management's expected course, companies can modify their own procedures and thrive in the coming marketplace.

"While logistics operations might be out of sight, out of mind, logistics is under significant pressure to deliver near-perfect performance, while business conditions continue to become more complex, risky and difficult," said  Dwight Klappich, vice president with the research organization.

App fragmentation countered

Applications in the supply chain can be complex, and, according to Gartner, failure to synchronize application data is a rising problem in supply chain management. The research organization found that 35 percent of companies have trouble synchronizing data end-to-end through their many applications.

A2A integration can be a difference-making process for supply chain managers. Making sure that data is accessible throughout a company and with any department's specialized applications is an important step to boost efficiency. CRM, warehouse management systems, SAP software and general databases all hold company data. Making sure that data is as visible as possible could mean less time wasted on communication and more focusing on core competencies and innovation.

Processes optimized

In addition to making sure applications work together, Gartner found that supply chain managers will have to improve and optimize their existing practices and systems rather than expand operations. The source stated that supply chain globalization has reached its greatest possible extent, and global trade as a percentage of GDP will continue to drop worldwide. The organization predicted that by 2016, a strong focus on making procedures more efficient will emerge, managing risks and examining options more carefully.

Technology's progress

The future of the supply chain could be enabled by new technology already entering service. Expert Nathan Pieri, writing for Supply Chain Digital, recently described cloud-based management software's ability to optimize collaboration across borders. He praised the technology for its availability to both large and small companies, enabling faster and more convenient online connections than traditional messaging between two partner companies. He stated that B2B integration through the cloud allows companies to comparison shop with potential partners around the world, making sure that each process is optimized for cost and speed.