What’s Ahead? Three Supply Chain Trends For 2019 [Infographic]

It is the time of the year when a massive influx of technology and innovation trends start pouring in. Between internet of things (IoT), the ever-growing cloud, artificial intelligence, big data, and more, we’ve gathered a lot of interesting topics and our predictions for what’s changing and what’s the outlook for the near future.

2018 saw significant advances in the supply chain and logistics sector. It is believed that many of the key supply chain trends in 2019 will be continuations from the preceding years. According to FuturMaster, supply chains now incorporate advanced, next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, robots etc. Let’s look into the trends that will be most impactful to the supply chain domain through 2019.

Robots May Soon Become the Newest Coworkers in the Warehouse

The idea of robotics and automation is extensively implemented in the supply chain. The modern generations of robots are easy to program, more flexible and within your means. Their role is to assist workers with repetitive and physically challenging tasks. Gartner predicts that by 2023, over 30% of active warehouse workers will increase in number with the hiring of collaborative robots. A majority of warehouse operations have relied merely on human-executed processes, but next-generation autonomous mobile robots are on the lookout to transform warehouse operations. While conventional industrial robots were stuck with basic tasks, autonomous mobile robots are smart and can follow humans through a multifaceted warehouse during item selection for order and can also be employed to transport goods to and from people. According to the supply chain survey by Gartner, 17% of respondents are already piloting collaborative robots that support, not substitute, humans.  

Read More: Three Applications of Big Data in Logistics and Transportation

Blockchain-based Supply Chain Initiatives May Still Suffer Fatigue in Finding Suitable Use-Cases

Supply chain leaders are undergoing fatigue in finding suitable blockchain use cases in the industry. Gartner predicts that by 2023, 90% of blockchain-based supply chain initiatives will experience fatigue for lacking strong use cases. 19% of respondents consider blockchain a very important technology, and only about 9% have invested in the technology itself. Supply chain blockchain projects have mostly focused on verifying authenticity, improving traceability and visibility, and improving transactional trust. Conversely, most have remained as pilot projects interrupted by technology immaturity, lack of standards, overly ambitious scope and a misunderstanding of the entire domain. Gartner advises to re-evaluate the blockchain technology soon and quell any momentum as it is expected to create $3.1T in business value by 2030.

Artificial Intelligence Solutions May Soon Automate Mainstream Supply Chain Activities

Advanced AI solutions have plentiful applications in the supply chain, particularly in the warehousing sector. Gartner predicts that by 2023, at least 50% of large global companies will be using AI, advanced analytics and IoT in supply chain operations. Every time a supply chain system is developed, the process begins from the ground-level; the organizers go through the same calculation steps every time they start; procurement people repeat approximately 35 percent to 40 percent of the activities they did in the past.

Supply chain artificial intelligence will need to be embedded in more effectively automating mainstream supply chain activities. This includes the use of gesture recognition solutions instead of keyboards and mice in the procurement process. It also includes autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars), designed to navigate without human input.

Read More: Top Five AI-Powered IoT Startups [Infographic]

In conclusion, it can be said that all these trends will clearly shape the efficiency and dynamics of the future supply chain. For companies, this means they are required to always be aware of ongoing changes and constantly be on the lookout for innovative solutions.


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