Coming transformation age for supply chain predicted

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International trade association MHI has released its third in a series of US Material Handling & Logistics Roadmaps. The report, titled “Transformation Age: Shaping Your Future” and developed in collaboration with Burchette & Associates provides insights into key trends and technologies that will impact the success of supply chains over the next 10 to 20 years.

Because the trends covered in the report have been so deeply impacted by COVID-19, a special section focusing on the pandemic and its long- and short-term impacts on supply chain and logistics operations has been included.

The report predicts the acceleration of digital and automated supply chain solutions due to COVID-19. These solutions provide the visibility, flexibility, agility and social distancing answers that firms will need to succeed in a post-COVID world. These tools are as wide ranging as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robotics, edge computing and drones, and are expected to shift early-stage promises to step-change value propositions.

In addition to accelerated technology investments, the report predicts that some organizations will choose to embrace a more regional-local sourcing, manufacturing, and delivery approach — or “nearshoring.” Others will be looking to diversify their supplier base. Still others will seek greater balance in inventory management, blending “just-in-time” with “just-in-case.”

“Businesses, consumers and supply chains will be forever changed by this global pandemic,” said John Paxton, MHI COO/CEO designate. “The organisations that accelerate the implementation of digital, next generation technologies and solutions and take a hard look at material and product sourcing are the ones that will be best positioned for future success because they will be the ones that can quickly respond and adjust to supply chain disruptions.”

The report provides information and insights meant to spark thought and discussion about key factors that are expected to drive, fuel and impact various aspects of life and industry in the coming decade and beyond. It also recommends how leaders can respond to keep their companies thriving and profitable.

“I believe strategic leadership as well as the people at the operational level will have considerable interest in this information, as they’re the ones who will ultimately be facing the challenges of serving customers in light of these dynamic market forces,” says George W. Prest, CEO of MHI. “It is very important for them to understand what’s coming, how fast it’s coming and how those forces will impact their supply chains.”

“Transformation Age” covers a wide range of topics, including anticipated advances in smart technologies and digital decisioning tools, market influencers, global factors, ways workplace changes and new consumer expectations will revolutionize industries, and even how the new space economy will become a topic of growing importance.