Although we can’t predict the future, we can state that the supply chain will be more and more digitized, connected and integrated. In the coming years, the sector will be driven mainly by robust technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT). But as a rapid evolution takes place, businesses must face major challenges to stay competitive and meet consumer needs.

The digitization of manual processes and interaction between buyers and suppliers is now a reality and is growing exponentially. According to Gartner, 80% of B2B business interactions will occur through digital channels by 2025. Another trend is the adoption of omnichannel strategies, for more agile and simplified negotiations.

From now on, agile and high-performance procurement, which allows making the best decisions, will be key to be ahead of competition. Technological disruptions will always impact the future of businesses, along with the ways they negotiate and transact with their suppliers; and will also increase their ability to innovate and thrive in the marketplace.

Therefore, it’s vital that businesses start to innovate in their operations and procurement processes. In this post, we will explore some of the key trends and technologies that will shape the supply chain’s future.

Keep on reading!

See the key technologies that are transforming the supply chain

1. Cloud computing

Increased competitiveness and productivity is the main reason why businesses are migrating their procurement operations to cloud computing technology.

With a cloud solution, such as Mercado Eletrônico’s e-Procurement, you can digitize processes, ensure governance, decrease costs and access information from any place and device.

The visibility of data and information in real time, along with access to KPIs, makes decision-making, purchase planning and process improvement easier.

2. Blockchain

Blockchain ensures the unchangeable record of transactions and information, using encryption technology to protect data.

In the supply chain, this technology makes transactions between businesses more transparent, secure and efficient – factors that are decisive for the success of any company.

According to MarketsandMarkets, in five years (2020-2025), the global market of blockchain technology for supply chain management is expected to grow by 49% on a yearly basis.

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data

The powerful mix of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data allows solving complex problems regarding the huge data volume in the supply chain.

AI is a great support for businesses, as it suggests adequate supply sources for their procurement processes and foresees demands and even factors that can impact supply chain operation, such as weather conditions.

According to Forbes, the use of AI for supply chain is expected to grow at an annual rate of 45% from 2020 to 2027, driven by the need for efficiency and cost reduction.

4. Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) is another technology that is transforming the supply chain, as it helps improving its efficiency and visibility.

IoT allows businesses to monitor their products, in real time, and receive information about their location and storage conditions.

According to IDC, increased demand for real-time tracking and monitoring solutions will drive the IoT market for supply chain to US$11 billion by 2025.

5. Augmented Reality (AR)

In the supply chain, Augmented Reality (AR) is an innovative technology that enables optimizing logistical processes, which can increase its efficiency.

The application of AR, through smart glasses, frees users from other devices – which can provide more comfort and safety during warehouse operations.

AR can be also applied in several areas of Industry 4.0, such as product design, employee training, predictive maintenance and quality inspection.

6. Robotization of repetitive processes (RPA)

RPA or Robotic Process Automation is a technology that allows automating repetitive procurement processes through robotization, based on predefined criteria.

Robots help free buyers from operational tasks; and they can be also used to carry out dangerous or unhealthy tasks, thus improving worker safety.

According to a survey by Accenture, 85% of executives at manufacturing companies believe that robotics will be critical for the future of the supply chain.

7. 3D printing

3D printing technology, also known as additive manufacturing, increases the power of production on demand, which eliminates the need for large-sized inventories.

3D printing is also a tool for rapid prototyping processes, allowing businesses to test and improve their products in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

Another benefit of 3D printing is the possibility to strengthen the supply chain through the local production of inputs, thus reducing dependence on international suppliers.

See you next time! 😉