2024 Supply Chain Trends: What’s Happened and What’s Next

By Bill Wappler, CEO of Surgere

image_pdfimage_print

As the midpoint of 2024 approaches, supply chain executives should take a step back from the daily rush to evaluate the year’s progress and consider changes to finish strong. They should examine industrywide trends and closely review their own operations to ensure optimal performance.

In this article, we’ll examine key trends and strategies to optimize your supply chain operations based on real-time industry conversations, concerns and IoT program results.

Industry-leading giants such as two of the world’s largest automotive OEMs, the world leader in manufacturing power generation engines and the leader in manufacturing earth moving equipment, have partnered with Surgere to deploy AI-powered SaaS platforms to realize comprehensive visibility into their supply chains. This insight enables companies to make smarter business decisions and strategically allocate their operational resources and assets for maximum efficiency.

Here are three trends in supply chain data collection that global companies are considering—and you should, too:

Governance Key to Success

Governance remains the aspect of supply chain data collection that is often overlooked but is essential to success. According to worldwide technology leader Cisco, 74% of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) projects will fail, primarily because the projects lack a coherent governance structure. Without adequate governance protocols, it is nearly impossible to ensure adoption, scalability, understanding and use throughout an organization.

Failure has historically been the result of technologies that weren’t sophisticated enough to accomplish what supply chain managers were trying to do. That is no longer the case with sophisticated IoT solutions and software capable of mapping global supply chains at 99.9 percent data accuracy. Without a plan from Day 1 about how to bring the data collection capabilities to an entire enterprise, it could lead to collecting data for collection’s sake, without the necessary analysis to make it actionable.

AI Importance Continues to Grow

The importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in supply chain management cannot be underestimated. Simply gathering data on the location of assets within a supply chain is no longer sufficient for optimizing operations, as the sheer volume of information is overwhelming. As we’ve discussed, having quality data is crucial, but if that data isn’t being analyzed in a systematic way, it won’t provide the expected guidance or insights.

For AI to be most effective in business applications, it must start with unique datasets, and all supply chain managers have data they collect that no one else does. While public-facing AI programs like ChatGPT and others may provide broad-based analysis that could influence decision-making at the operational level, most companies are looking for ways to capture highly accurate data to feed into their own AI systems.

Like any technological advancements, AI’s analysis and output are only as good as the information fed into the system. Find a software platform that can capture data at 99.9 percent accuracy, and AI becomes one of the most powerful tools in a supply chain manager’s arsenal.

Adaptability Paramount

Companies are realizing that it may take more than one system to solve their supply chain management needs, which means their asset visibility systems need to integrate to and with other enterprise software tools. Company leaders must understand that data collection doesn’t happen in a silo. The information collected must be disseminated and integrated into other data collected by other divisions for the most accurate results. Creating the complete data picture is the best way to provide executives with the clarity needed to take meaningful action.

The core solution many companies are trying to achieve is digitizing their business based on systems that can interface, communicate with each other, and share data in real time. A key element of digitization is finding a software platform that allows for the free flow of information between business units. After all, supply chain functions impact more than just supply chain operations. They affect warehousing, inventory, transportation, production, and customer delivery capabilities as well. Ensuring the data is integrated can mean the difference between success and failure.

Moving forward through the end of 2024, the urgency of these trends will only accelerate. It’s time to evaluate whether companies are leveraging their supply chain data with accuracy and efficiency—and how to plan for closing the operational and data gaps in the second half of the year.

About the Author:

William “Bill” Wappler is the CEO of Surgere, an industry pioneer leveraging IoT technology to revolutionize the supply chain. Bill has more than 20 years of experience directing and executing technology strategy growth for global and Fortune 500 companies. Learn more and discover how to leverage Surgere’s supply chain expertise here.