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BW Businessworld

Evolution Of Supply Chain: How The Industry Has Changed Over A Period Of Time?

Excellence in supply chain excellence is widely acknowledged as an important part of overall business growth strategy.

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Goods being transported on horse backs to temperature sensitive items being transported in temperature-controlled special vehicles; from the serais being the meeting point of traders to a trader tracking his fleet on his mobile, the supply chain management has come a distance so long that in literal terms you can cover it only by going round the earth a thousand times.

Over the last decade, with the evolution of technology and the advent of ecommerce, the concept of supply chain management has undergone metamorphosis. Changing consumer habits have also contributed immensely to this change.

Excellence in supply chain excellence is widely acknowledged as an important part of overall business growth strategy. Discussing here various ways and reasons which have contributed to the sectors evolution over time.

Technology disruption: New and emerging technologies powered by the internet and ease of connectivity have made disruptive changes in the way the sector was managed traditionally. Technologies like block chain, data analytics, cloud computing etc. have transformed the sector unrecognizable. Moreover, new consumer-connect technologies have placed huge and novel demands on supply chain system, which was unheard of earlier. The new tools and technologies are highly disruptive and have brought new paradigms in the industry. They have also brought in better efficiencies and ground-breaking capabilities. Technologies themselves are ever evolving; hence we can expect to see more unprecedented changes in the sector.

Better supply chain visibility: Improvement in Supply Chain Visibility (SCV) is a critical aspect which has strengthened the supply chain industry. Supply chain visibility helps in tracking and tracing the exact location of the products basis its movement. Improving and strengthening the SCV helps in reducing the complexities in supply chain management.SCV encourages and enables quick reaction to any deviations from normal plan like losing control or visibility by allowing the users to take immediate corrective actions and redirect and realign supplies.

Risk management and resilience: Supply chains are usually vast and complicated networks. If one part of this network is exposed to risk, all other parts too become vulnerable to disruption. With growing business complexities there is a driving need for a deeper understanding of how supply chains operate and how to operate efficiently while managing risk.

There are steps that disrupt businesses to lead, navigate, and ultimately create flexibility in their supply chains - which translates to better anticipation, feedback, and recovery from the unexpected and emerging much stronger as a result. Focusing on building supply chain flexibility as part of a risk management strategy allows an organization to change its risk outlook to create value rather than simply manage.

Segmentation of customers: Supply chains are ever-evolving which require a constant optimization and attention. To craft a modern yet swift supply chain, organizations should really watch out for the innovative digital technologies that contribute in enhancing the process and the operations across the overall supply chain network. Customer Segmentation allows supply chain to better tailor its efficiencies to cater to various audience subsets. These efforts can relate to both communications and development.

Customer segmentation requires an organization to assemble precise information - data about customers and analyze it to identify patterns that can be used to create segments. Some of that can be gathered from purchasing information – job title, geography, products purchased etc. However, other information like consumer demographics such as age and marital status, will have to be acquired in other ways.

Effective supply chain management in no longer about reaction to crisis rather it is about crisis prediction and being ready with solutions, thanks to the technological evolution and the changing mindset of decision-makers. When a product fails to reach a customer the way it is intended to, the entire purpose stands defeated. Outsourcing supply chain management to industry experts can boost a company’s allocation of resources and when in expert hands, logistical challenges can be turned into opportunities.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
supply chain industry technology e commerce

Abhishek Bansal ,,,

Co-Founder & CEO, Shadowfax

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