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Seven Supply-Chain Trends to Watch in 2021

Source | | Dan Weinberger | SCB Contributor

The future is always uncertain, but perhaps now more than ever. A global pandemic has simultaneously battered the supply-chain industry, re-emphasized its importance, and created entirely new goals and outlooks for years to come. 

Here are the trends to count on in 2021. 

Stronger AI. Automation has been a trend in almost all industries since the previous decade. The continued success indicates that this trend will only get stronger in the coming year. Most notably, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as the primary propellant for automation in the supply-chain industry. By crunching data from past operations, AI algorithms can perform basic operations automatically. This saves a large amount of time and eliminates the possibility of human error, thus making the operations more efficient. It also redirects the human capital to perform more complex tasks.

The potential of AI is, however, much more. AI can be used to identify patterns in data and bring useful insights. This could be used, for instance, to forecast demand in the near future. With the help of AI, operations within the supply chain can become more efficient and accurate.

Wider adoption of blockchain. Blockchain has been alternatively called “the biggest breakthrough” and also “just hype” over the years. But the technology has proved its worth in various industries; the supply-chain industry is one of them. Research suggests that blockchain can save $31 billion by 2024 for the food and beverage industry alone. In the coming year, we can expect to see wider adoption of blockchain technology across the supply chain.

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