Top 4 supply chain trends to watch out for in 2017


The new year is upon us, and with it comes new economic developments and opportunities for businesses to capitalize on trends in the marketplace. Supply chain operators should pay close attention to the ways in which their industries are evolving, especially as 2017 begins.

Let’s take a look at four of the most important supply chain trends that will be key as we move into the new year:

1. Sustainability

This shouldn’t be a surprise, especially with the current environment surrounding sustainability. Supply chains that can prove their sustainability are still going to be a driving force in the new year, and consumers aren’t the only ones dictating demand for organizations to create greener ways of doing business. For instance, according to a release published by the Panama Canal in October 2016, the organization launched a new “Environmental Premium Ranking,” which seeks to reward customers that meet high environmental efficiency standards and incentivize sustainability.

“With the addition of the Environmental Premium Ranking to our Recognition Program, we’re rewarding those who make conscious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in technology that will make shipping even more efficient,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano.

E-commerce is becoming even more of a driving force in the economy.E-commerce is becoming even more of a driving force in the economy.


2. Big data and the Industrial Internet of Things

This past year has been a big one for big data, and in specific, for the Internet of Things. More supply chains are beginning to link products with big data, which helps improve warehouse and logistics management. The Industrial IoT is especially important for the manufacturing industry as innovative solutions become commonplace. Emerging and established markets alike are taking advantage of the IIoT. For instance, according to BusinessWorld contributor Mehul Lanvers Shah, the manufacturing industry in India is one of the key users of IIoT-related technologies, as 80 percent of the vertical will be adopting advanced trends in the IoT by 2020.

3. Automation in logistics

Logistics and warehouse management strategies may begin to look different in the new year. Namely, the demand for warehouse workers may decrease significantly as automation becomes the norm. According to a survey published by ARC Advisory Group in 2016, procuring autonomous mobile robots is going to be a priority for about 15 percent of warehouse executives. Forbes contributor Steve Banker noted that this isn’t a big enough percentage to impact warehouse employment in the U.S. in 2017, but as the trend grows, it might be something to look out for.

4. Ever-present e-commerce growth

Efficiency is king, and the continued growth of e-commerce revenues is a clear indicator that businesses need to be on their game in order to accurately fulfill omnichannel orders. Another recent report compiled by ARC noted that e-commerce revenues have increased 51 percent over the last five years, and over the next five years, they are projected to expand by 42 percent. So it’s going to be critical in 2017 for companies to really stay on their game with their e-commerce strategies, along with their brick-and-mortar stores, in order to take advantage of this steadily more important revenue stream.

Organizations need to make sure they’re taking advantage of the tools at their disposal in order to stay ahead of the game in 2017. As supply chain trends come and go, it’s critical to partner with the right provider that will help your business incorporate key data into your operations to create a more flexible, faster supply chain. Get in touch with the experts at Inspirage today for more information about our logistics, supply chain and innovation management solutions, and in the meantime, check out our webinar about cloud-based transportation management below.

Tom Jurgens

Tom Jurgens | Key Contributor

Tom Jurgens is an experienced Sr. Manager at Inspirage. Tom has lead numerous supply chain application implementations with world class leading companies. Tom and his experienced Inspirage team have helped multiple organizations develop solid design solutions with leading practices and Oracle applications.