2020 was a year distinguished by the need of adaptation for everyone. In view of the limitations imposed by the pandemic, it was necessary to let go some old habits and create different ways of working, learning, meeting, exercising, and many other activities of our daily lives.

Besides adaptation, the new context accelerated also Industry 4.0, with the deployment of several technologies to improve productivity and our well-being. Telemedicine, e-commerce, on-line education and remote work are just a few examples.

The processes of change and disruption with the advancement of a digital environment distinguished also the activities related to supply chain, and caused several trends to emerge – which aren’t brand new, but will be really indispensable from now on.

Keep on reading to know the key trends for supply chain in 2021:



1. Sustainability

Sustainability is a non-return path. To stay competitive and well-regarded in the market, businesses will have to find, more and more, solutions to expand their sustainable performance in the social, environmental and economic pillars.

This means that sustainability must be intrinsic to all companies’ operations, particularly in the supply chain, with the choice of responsible and environmentally friendly partners.

The use of inputs that aren’t harmful to the environment, along with the optimization of less polluting routes and modes, are some of the dozens or even hundreds of practices that must be addressed by the supply chain, in order to decrease the impacts of activities on local and global scales.

The Global Risks Report 2021, issued every year by the World Economic Forum, identified climate change, environmental disasters and biodiversity losses as the key problems in the next 10 years. We must act now.


2. Cloud computing

Cloud computing has become the center of attention for supply chain management. This is because certain business models, such as Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), included in Mercado Eletrônico’s solutions, eliminate the need to install local software and equipment.

For the supply chain, cloud computing allows access to information remotely – from anywhere in the world, anytime – thus offering more agility, automation and integration. Additionally, the consolidation of all data and information contributes to a holistic view of processes, for a transparent and secure information management.


3. Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

“Numbers are the beginning of everything”, said Pythagoras, Greek philosopher and mathematician. Volume, Variety and Velocity – Big Data’s “3 Vs” – are relevant factors in the supply chain’s decision-making process.

Nowadays, we can use huge amounts of data to generate business intelligence, from current performance understanding to trend & risk forecasting.

The data and information acquired by Big Data has allowed businesses to use artificial intelligence (AI), in order to streamline and automate supply chain processes.

For such purpose, relevant information is collected for machine learning, and can be used (for instance) to manage stocks and reduce costs. According to Gartner, in just four years (2016-2019), the use of AI in businesses grew by 270%.


4. Robotics

The growth in the use of data intelligence has contributed considerably to robotics and automation, in the operation of distribution centers. Robots have been given more collaborative roles – and are now called cobots. They work together with humans, but the trend is that they will assume more repetitive tasks only, such as counting and product transportation.

According to a report called “Industrial Robot Market: Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast, 2018-2025”, by Zion Market Research consultancy firm (which promotes market surveys), industrial robots will generate approximately US$ 62 billion in revenue by 2024.

Sustainability, cloud computing, Big Data, artificial intelligence and robotics are now trends that are been applied all around the world.

But from now on, more than mere trends, they will be mandatory factors for anyone who wants to stand out in future markets.


Do you already use any (or all) of them in your B2B processes?

Tell us in the comments field!

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