Supply chains need to prepare for changes


Supply chains around the world will likely be forced to adapt to a number of trends that will emerge in 2012. As a result, supply chain managers should be prepared for these occurrences in order to ensure they operate efficiently in the future, according to a Supply Chain Digest report.

1. Economic impacts will change practices

After witnessing the recession during the past several years, supply chain managers experienced high demands for cost reductions, lean practices and outsourcing. These trends will likely carry on through 2012 for many organizations.


However, there is a plus side to these occurrences. In the wake of their experiences, more supply chain managers put an emphasis on risk management, the news source said. As a result, they will be more prepared for similar incidents in the coming years.

2. Demand-driven supply chains will evolve

Traditionally, businesses would make consumer-oriented demand predictions and adjust their supply chain based on these calculations. Emerging innovative technologies that allow businesses to improve visibility and real-time communications will change that, Supply Chain Digest noted.

Using these solutions, supply chains can adapt to be more consumption-driven approaches, according to an EBN Online report. This allows them to produce an accurate amount of goods, minimizing the need for just-in-case inventory and improving return on investment.

3. Technology will have bigger impact on operations

The consumerization of IT, the proliferation of mobile devices and the continued migration to cloud computing will all have a dramatic impact on supply chains. These technologies allow companies to expand and become more mobile, improving communication and efficiency along the way, Supply Chain Digest said.

However, the increased use of mobile and cloud technologies will also make IT risk management and data loss prevention much more important. While innovations can help supply chains become more efficient, the evolving landscape also increases threat levels, forcing companies to address potential vulnerabilities.

4. Business continuity will be more important

After witnessing the catastrophic damage inflicted on supply chains from recent natural disasters, organizations will take a stronger stance on recovery and continuity plans. As supply chains try to be leaner to reduce costs, even small events will have a giant impact. As a result, more decision-makers will be required to enforce better practices, the news source reported.

Supply chain managers that accept and adapt to prepare for these trends will likely be in better shape than those practicing traditional operations.