Gartner, Inc. has identified the top 8 supply chain technology trends in
Gartner’s top strategic supply chain technology trends have broad
industry impact, but have not yet been widely adopted. They might be
experiencing significant changes or reaching critical tipping points in
capability or maturity.
“These technologies are those that supply chain leaders simply cannot
ignore,” said Christian
Titze, research vice president at Gartner. “Within the next five
years, if half of large global companies are using some of these
technologies in their supply chain operations, it’s safe to say that the
technologies will disrupt people, business objectives and IT systems.”
The top 8 supply chain technology trends in 2019 are:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
technology in supply chain seeks to augment human performance.
Through self-learning and natural language, AI capabilities can help
automate various supply chain processes such as demand forecasting,
production planning or predictive maintenance.
“AI supports the shift to broader supply chain automation that many
organizations are seeking,” said Mr. Titze. “For example, AI can enhance
risk mitigation by analyzing large sets of data, continuously
identifying evolving patterns, and predicting disruptive events along
with potential resolutions.”
Advanced analytics span predictive
analytics — those that identify data patterns and anticipate future
scenarios — as well as prescriptive
analytics — a set of capabilities that finds a course of action to
meet a predefined objective. The increased availability of Internet of
Things (IoT) data and extended external data sources such as weather or
traffic conditions allow organizations to anticipate future scenarios
and make better recommendations in areas such as supply chain planning,
sourcing and transportation.
are not new, but their impact on today’s supply
chains are significant,” said Mr. Titze. “They will help
organizations become more proactive and actionable in managing their
supply chains, both in taking advantage of future opportunities and
avoiding potential future disruptions.”
Internet of Things (IoT)
is the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to
interact with their internal states or the external environment. “We are
seeing more supply chain practitioners exploring the potential of IoT,”
said Mr. Titze. “Areas that IoT might have a profound impact on are
enhanced logistics management, improved customer service and improved
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
tools operate by mapping a process in the tool language for the software
“robot” to follow. They cut costs and eliminate keying errors. “We are
seeing a significant reduction in process lead times RPA technology is
used to automate the creation of purchase and sales orders or shipments,
for instance,” said Mr. Titze. “RPA technology reduces human
intervention and improves consistency across manual data sources within
Autonomous things use AI to automate functions previously performed by
humans, such as autonomous vehicles and drones. They exploit AI to
deliver advanced behaviors that interact more naturally with their
surroundings and with people.
“The rapid explosion in the number of connected,
intelligent things has given this trend a huge push,” said Mr.
Titze. “The once distant thought of reducing time for inventory checks
by using drones’ cameras to take inventory images, for instance, is
Digital Supply Chain Twin
A digital supply chain twin
is a digital representation of the relationships between all physical
entities of end-to-end supply chain processes — products, customers,
markets, distribution centers/warehouses, plants, finance, attributes
and weather. They are linked to their real-world counterparts and are
used to understand the state of the thing or system in order to optimize
operations and respond efficiently to changes.
“Digital supply chain twins are inevitable as the digital world and
physical world continue to merge,” said Mr. Titze.
Immersive experiences such as augmented
reality (AR), virtual
reality (VR) and conversational systems are changing the way people
interact with the digital world. “In supply chain, organizations might
use AR along with quick response (QR) codes and mobile technology to
speed up equipment changeovers in factories,” said Mr. Titze. “Immersive
user experiences will enable digital business opportunities that have
not yet been fully realized within global supply chains.”
Blockchain in Supply Chain
blockchain initiatives are nascent, blockchain
has potential to fulfill long-standing challenges presented across
complex global supply chains. Current capabilities offered by blockchain
solutions for supply chain include traceability, automation, and
“Organizations might use blockchain to track global shipments with
tamper-evident labels, allowing a reduction in the time needed to send
paperwork back and forth with port authorities and improved counterfeit
identification,” said Mr. Titze.
Gartner clients can learn more in “The
2019 Top Supply Chain Technology Trends You Can’t Ignore,” which
provides an outlook into other emerging trends that might disrupt supply
chain operations in the upcoming years, such as 5G and edge computing.
More information on how to innovate and scale the supply chain can be
found on the Gartner
Chief Supply Chain Officer Insight Hub.
About Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conferences
Gartner analysts will provide additional analysis and information on
supply chain trends at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conferences
taking place May 13-16 in Phoenix
and June 17-19 in Barcelona.
Follow news and updates from the events on Twitter using #GartnerSCC.
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