Which hot topics and trends will everyone in procurement be talking about in 2018…?
What’s the buzz in 2018? We’ve done a spot of investigating to identify all the hot topics the procurement world is excited (and concerned!) about in the coming year…
1. Technology Hype Won’t Let Up
Steve Banker, writing for Forbes, concurs stating that “emerging technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing, autonomous mobile robots, IoT, machine learning, and related technologies continue to get a tremendous of amount of publicity.
According to Supply Chain Digital, “The pace of innovation is picking up steam at an exponential rate.
“Robots, self-driving vehicles, electric trucks, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), and new mobile-enabled categories are all poised to explode onto the scene in one form or another.
“It’s hard to predict what’s real and what will fade away, but expect 2018 to become a year of heavy innovation for supply chain leaders, even if it’s experimental.”
Vivek Soneja, writing for EBN online asserts that “Blockchain capabilities have transformed collaboration across trading partner networks”. He believes Blockchain will “enable much tighter collaboration across supply chain planning and execution decisions. ”
2. Brexit Will Continue To Cause Disruption
“While 2017 was the year of Brexit uncertainty, 2018 will be the year where things start to change,” asserts Francis Churchill on Supply Management.
Last year CIPS revealed that 63 per cent of EU companies planned to move some of their supply chain out of the UK as a result of the decision to leave the single market and customs union.
“The slower-than-expected progression of Brexit negotiations has put off business investments in current or new UK operations,” explains Gary Barraco on Global Trade Mag. Recent readings on economic growth showed investment by companies to be flat in the second quarter.
“Supply chain executives are voicing concerns about tariff and quota changes, hoping to keep trade open and flowing as it does today. For manufacturing to remain strong, the raw material imports from Asia need to remain duty and tariff free, as they are currently in the customs union. Costs could go up without the trade advantages, leading to higher export costs from the UK.”
We discuss the implications of Brexit for procurement in this Procurious blog.
3. Cognitive will reign supreme
Global Trade Magazine predicts that “by the end of 2020, one-third of all manufacturing supply chains will be using analytics-driven cognitive capabilities, thus increasing cost efficiency by 10 per cent and service performance by 5 per cent.”
And IBM predict that, by this point, all of our important procurement decisions will be made with the assistance of artificial intelligence. We know that our teams must “transform or die” if we don’t want the function reduced to the back office, facing extinction.
But if you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed by the magnitude and potential of cognitive technology or simply wondering how to get started, this Procurious article has some great advice.
Paul Martyn , writing for Forbes, spoke to Sue Welch, CEO, Bamboo Rose, on her supply chain predictions for 2018, discussing why “transparency and sustainability will be practiced with more vigor in 2018.” She said ” ‘There’s been an explosion of demand from consumers to know where their products are originating and the required information is extremely granular. For example, with a package of carrots, consumers want to know not only the farm where they were harvested, but also the row and lot number where the carrots were planted.’
“Welch, whose company, Bamboo Rose, works with a number of top retailers and apparel companies, expects traceability demands to not only shape how consumers buy, but how companies will source and market their services.
“Smart retailers will begin to market their products from an information/sustainability-first standpoint and to be credible about it, they’ll need to invest in integrating technology that makes this level of transparency possible at every level of the supply chain.’ ”
Global Trade Magazine predict that by the end of 2019, cybersecurity will have surpassed physical security as a top concern for one-half of all manufacturers, and in the transition to digitally enabled, cognitive supply chains, cybersecurity will have become a top investment priority.
“High-profile hacking cases that compromise sensitive information for millions of people will continue in the coming year.” states Soneja, “With the proliferation of data and connected endpoints, companies will need to step up their security and privacy protection protocols in 2018.”
Earlier this year, we spoke to Craig Hancock, cybersecurity expert and Executive Director of Telstra Service Operations on the dangers of cyber crime. Read the full article here.
6. Back to basics
“While a number of new trends are giving procurement leaders directions to explore in 2018, many supply chain professionals are still aiming for easy-to-understand goals” explains The Strategic Sourceror.
“According to Deloitte’s latest research on chief procurement officers, cost advantages and cash flow improvements are still the bread and butter of the supply chain. Traditional efforts to improve contracts and advanced, tech-driven strategies can deliver favorable costs to companies.”
7. Big data is a big deal
“In the context of the supply chain for most businesses, big data and predictive analytics are still an untapped resource that can potentially provide insights which help anticipate or respond to events or disruptions,” explains Raanan Cohen on Supply Chain Management review.
“Unpredictable consumer behaviour, traffic or weather patterns, and labour unrest are all external events that can disrupt a supply chain and lead to increased costs and customer service challenges. Big data can help organisations become better trading partners to their customers and suppliers. But before insights and analytics can be leveraged for a better supply chain, there’s a huge task at hand for the many organisations that need to first collate data points from all sources and align them to their business operations.”