Last modified: September 11, 2015
Jabil sponsored a global Dimensional Research survey to capture hard data on current experiences, challenges and trends with the supply chains of electronics manufacturing companies. Participants ranged in roles and company sizes with questions that spanned a variety supply chain management trends of topics such as visibility, factory-of-the-future technology, the Internet of Things and more. The results show some of the biggest supply chain management trends in supply chains for 2015 and beyond.
Of all the supply chain management trends, supply chain visibility remains at the top of the list as a key area for executives and supply chain managers. Interestingly, as the supply chain gets more technologically robust, supply chain visibility is more and more a requirement by both providers of services and those running supply chains. Transparent supply chain management and effective supply chain visibility is a critical tool in a company’s continued growth and successful brand image.
The factory of the future is one thing and that is connected.
To continue growth, in the manufacturing industry and in business in general, traditional models need to be examined and innovation must happen as you look at a different way of doing things. The conversation was VERY timely as I was researching a new approach to manufacturing, distributed manufacturing. ‘Crowd’ is currently something that is very prominent — and revolutionary — in consumer business. ‘Crowd’ is the leveraging of large populations, or resources, to approach tasks and goals. But how does it work in industry? How could ‘crowd’ apply and work for Henry Ford or William Procter and James Gamble? Traditionally a manufacturer will employ, or own, dedicated factories to create a convenient supply chain for their clients. The capabilities of a company are limited to their talent pool, largely determined by budget. Thus, up until now, hardware has been reserved for those of great budgets and power. ‘Distributed Manufacturing’ is the future of manufacturing. Over this decade, Industry will become a connected force of factories, manufacturers, distributors and end consumers. This network combines to achieve ultimate levels of efficiency.
Smarter, more opinionated, and involved consumers are driving the American economy. Time is precious to them and experience is everything, which is causing brands to shuffle in response to their needs. Rapid advances in the manufacturing sector are making it possible to build out an on-demand distributed manufacturing platform that will allow for a more effective and iterative product development life cycle. Paul Milgrom and John Roberts forecast that increased technology adoption will lead to cheaper, faster, and more accessible manufacturing in turn driving the potential for increased product line diversity and turnaround.
Of all the Supply Chain Management trends, soon the Internet of Things will completely drive future supply chain management. There are countless stories touting how the IoT will change supply chain management that come out every day. Anyone related to the supply chain will need to pay attention to this driving supply chain management trend. We had 5 posts covering this major trend helping fuel further supply chain management trends (click on the post title to read the full blog post):
Visibility is one of the biggest problems for goods in transit. The application of the Internet of Things (IoT) along with cloud-based GPS will make it possible to keep track of individual items and their conditions. IoT makes use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips that “talk” to each other. Chips attached to individual items will transmit data such as identification, location, temperature, pressure, and humidity. The implication of this capability will be immense. Goods will no longer be lost or misplaced in transit since each product will transmit its location. With immediate notification comes direct action and the avoidance of damaged goods when the chip signals oncoming adverse weather conditions, such as high temperature or humidity. Not only that, they will also be able to transmit traffic conditions and drive-specific data, such as average speed and driving patterns back to the central office. As supply chain and transportation visibility is a hot topic for Logistics Managers and Directors, 3rd party logistics providers, who adopt this type of technology, are surely to reap the rewards of highly satisfied customers.
As manufacturing, transportation, and every aspect of humanity evolves in modernity, reliance upon the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow and impact every facet of civilization. Another term, as it more relates to manufacturing, distribution, transportation, and logistics that has also been thrown around is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Although RFID strictly speaking has nothing to do with the Internet of Things, the possibility of tagging, tracking, connecting and “reading” objects went hand in hand with what would become known as the Internet of Things around the beginning of this century. It was obvious that the connection of the types of “things” and applications – as we saw them in RFID – with the Internet would change a lot. It might surprise you but the concepts of connected refrigerators, telling you that you need to buy milk, or the vision of an immersive shopping experience (without bar code scanning and smart real-time information) go back since before the term Internet of Things even existed. Again, it took a long time. Furthermore, we shouldn’t play the Internet of Things to just these popular and widely known concepts, even if consumer-related attention for the IoT without a doubt has led to the grown attention.
The logistic industry is going through a time of rapid and unprecedented transformation. The future of logistics is paved with innovation and technology. It was not long ago that ideas like 3D printing, the Internet of Things (IoT), drone delivery, and augmented reality were things of science fiction. Today, the industry is cautiously adopting these technologies to provide faster, cheaper, more reliable and sustainable delivery. At the same time, their customers – primarily the manufacturers and retailers – are wasting no time urging their 3PL logistic providers to integrate these technologies into their service.
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