As we look back at last year’s top supply chain trends and key topics, many shippers, analysts, and transportation providers remain focused on technology and digitization. Once again, our most popular posts last year included themes around the digitization of supply chains and technology that provides visibility and insights into complex global logistics operations. While digital business transformations continue to be a big industry focus, there are still physical aspects of the supply chain, like infrastructure, which still play an important role in efficiency and performance.
Here is a look back at our top posts of 2018:
In this post, we highlighted three mega trends that are driving change in the supply chain industry:
- Customer experience: A positive customer experience can act as a powerful differentiator for your brand and company. On the other end of the spectrum, a negative customer experience—whether from a late delivery, data breach, etc.—can have devastating effects on your bottom line. According to research, 47% of customers will leave a brand over a poor customer experience.
- Supply chain complexity: The line between manufacturing and retail is blurring, making it easier for customers to receive products directly in their homes. The direct-to-consumer push is having a major impact on supply chains through the need for localized inventory variety, more modes, tighter windows for delivery, and more.
- Digital transformation: While this is a widely defined concept, we look at it as a predefined business strategy first, followed by plugging in technology to support that strategy. In our experience, we are typically pairing predictive analytics, machine learning, and API connectivity to accomplish digital transformations.
To highlight how a global shipper is successfully managing and addressing these megatrends, we included a case study of how Microsoft is leveraging predictive analytics and real-time visibility to achieve supply chain orchestration.
Congestion on U.S. highways, rail hubs, and ports is a major source of disruptions for shippers. On behalf of supply chain professionals, we spoke to a U.S. Senate Subcommittee to share five infrastructure-related supply chain challenges that the private sector cannot fix alone:
- Congestion: Overseas competitors are investing in infrastructure in a manner that is commensurate with their economic growth goals, and the U.S. is falling behind in this area.
- Truck parking: The availability of safe, convenient truck parking in the U.S. is insufficient.
- Freight Advisory Committees: Made up of public and private freight stakeholders, these committees play an important role as states consider transportation decisions.
- National hiring standard for motor carriers: One opportunity to help improve supply chain efficiencies is to centralize and resolve confusion around public data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Freight infrastructure funding mechanisms: As a variety of mechanisms have been proposed, we highlighted the industry preference for vehicle miles traveled compared to other options.
Implementing a global TMS plus managed services solution is a transformative process that doesn’t happen overnight, but there are steps and preparation that shippers can take to make the implementation as successful as possible. In this post, we include an infographic that details five ways shippers can lay the appropriate groundwork before implementation gets underway.
While the latest industry trends and buzzwords may shift from year to year, one thing that supply chain professionals know is steadfast. They are being challenged by their business leaders to save money while improving performance to customers—all while facing new complexities from changing customer expectations and business models.
As 2019 gets underway, our global supply chain experts are here to help you navigate these challenges and opportunities. To stay updated on global supply chain topics and trends, please subscribe to our blog or check out our resources page.