Expert Predictions for Supply Chain and Logistics in 2017
As a new year approaches, supply chain experts often highlight the trends they expect to see in the coming 365 days. Some turn out to be true, like Adrian Gonzalez of Talking Logistics’ prediction that blockchain technology would make its debut in 2016 in supply chain management, and others don’t fare quite so well. However, even predictions that do not end up panning out can provide some valuable food for thought. Here is a look at the trends that Gonzalez thinks will take center stage in 2017.
First of all, no one can ignore the impact of high-level factors like oil prices, interest rates, and political changes at home and abroad. Some of the latest buzzwords are also unlikely to go away any time soon, such as omnichannel, Internet of Things, and driverless trucks. What does Gonzalez think will happen specifically in supply chain and logistics?
Rise in Cyber Attacks
He expects to see a surge in cyber attacks in the coming year. This can already be seen in the recent news that Russian hackers might have influenced the American elections and that a Yahoo hack compromised a billion accounts. Supply chain and logistics operations are likely to become targets for these hackers, and he thinks it’s not out of the question for UPS and FedEx to one day be forced to a temporary standstill because of a logistics shipping software virus.
Investments in Supply Chain Operating Networks
Investors are finally starting to recognize the value of Supply Chain Operating Networks (SCONs), with a number of notable deals taking place in recent years like Infor’s $675m acquisition of GT Nexus. Gonzalez foresees more mergers and acquisitions, along with an expansion of their solution footprint into e-commerce and collaborative planning.
Some of his other predictions include a greater convergence of logistics and commerce, a renewed look into tax-efficient supply chain management, a move away from traditional user interfaces toward virtual assistants and chatbots, and a more concerted effort to eliminate conflict minerals and slavery from supply chains.