Trends in 2017 for your Supply Chain.

Stay ahead.

By: Sam Jenks

A new year is right around the corner. 2016 is coming to an abrupt and certain end just as 2015, 2014, and so backward.

2017 will bring challenges and innovation, heartbreak and happiness, improvement and failure.

With the turn of the year brings the beginning of Q1. Executive officers have ramped up their team- amidst the drunken escapades of holiday office parties, Salespeople are reevaluating their pipeline- hoping for a good quarter, and Marketers are tapping into the newest trends- that will set their content apart in 2017.

Before I can feel comfortable speaking about the coming time period, full of uncertainty and unknowns, I must first reflect on this rollercoaster year that has been, 2016.

Source: MobiPicker

Trump, PokemonGo, Brexit, RIP Prince and David Bowie, Chinese yaun tumbled, Stocks dip and hit record high, US Dollar hits historic high post-circus, Oil prices hit all-time low, Rio Olympics, Xerox splits, Wells-Fargo rips off, Videos went viral, Russia hacks, Facebook fakes news, and all the while we sat back as Beyoncé got everyone into Formation.

Do you smell that?

The flaming carnage of another year’s past; burning its ways into our memories and, eventually, our hearts.

2016 was a big year for popular culture, but more importantly for business.

Just a few weeks ago I marked out some of the biggest trends, we at Kodiak Rating, saw in 2016, and believe will stick around for a while in supply chains. With the New Year right around the corner, and a belly full of hope from the past year, I think it’s only fitting to take a shot.

Here are some of the coming trends to be seen in Supply Chains, 2017!!

Integrate and alleviate.

The complexities of supply chains are overwhelming and time consuming. Look for 2017 to bring along a continued boom of digital solutions being integrated into large scale-globally recognized supply chains.

From the acceptance of digitalization, companies will experience smoother operations, stemming from more harmonious functionality. “Cloud technologies, mobile applications, social media, and big data are buzz words that represent applications of digital technologies that can be disruptive as well as a key differentiator for the supply chain” (Capegemini 2016) Big Data is being utilized more so, now, than ever. The procurement process is becoming less time consuming and more transparent. Demands are being brought on by the recent boom of e-commerce to keep up on the end of logistics. In that regard the integration of third-party logistics systems and companies will lead the pack with automation (imrs360.com 2016). Which leads to the next trend:

Automatic Logistics

The days of driverless vehicles and robotic packers are amongst us. Drones and 3D printing are already being used by some companies; and this means lower human labor. Don’t worry, we’re not predicting people losing their job to robots, but they certainly won’t be getting jobs over robots.

And driverless trucks aren’t yet filling the roads, delivering goods in a Tranformer-esk fashion.

However, the shift is not far off.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see some driverless shipping beta testing, by some daring organizations, 2017. Budweiser allowed Otto to make its first shipment this past October (with a human co-pilot onboard for safety precautions).

The idea of a driverless truck certainly excites the penny pinchers of the business world. “Where drivers are restricted by law from driving more than 11 hours per day without taking an 8-hour break, a driverless truck can drive nearly 24 hours per day. That means the technology would effectively double the output of the U.S. transportation network at 25 percent of the cost” (techcrunch.com 2016).

Not bad…

Green Labels

It seems day-by-day companies worldwide are finding and searching for ways to get their green on. A sustainable, compliant and transparent brand has become a standard for many industries.

In 2016, H&M expanded their Conscious line and teamed up with WWF. The revival of local and organic foods made waves, even at scale, in big name labels like WholeFoods. Clean energy finally surpassed coal in some areas of the world. Giants such as Nike and GM, too, made their own strides towards bettering sustainable business (greenbiz.com).

These brand names are making strides, but are their supply chains exhibiting the same sustainability?

Look for a push of greener, more sustainable, transparent and traceable supply chains in 2017. Many companies will search the help of 3rd party applications, solutions, consultants and software to better sustainable sourcing, compliance and procurement processes. Look for SRM (supplier relationship management) and SCM software companies to make a push, as large organizations will begin to see their ROI when utilizing such software.

US against them

The United States of America will undergo grave changes in authority come January 2017.

Donald Trump ran his campaign with ideals of fear and ostracism as his central ethos. One could call his rants about trade with Mexico and China scapegoat-esk. Whether these same ideologies will be put into action in the form of passed policy, it’s difficult to say. For an idea of what could become, should Trump’s trade-policies be actualized, I decided to go right to the source. Trump is promising the return of hundreds of thousands of jobs after retracting current trade agreements.

Trump list these things, amongst others as his “Key Issues” when it comes to his reasoning behind his drafted trade policies.

“America has lost nearly one-third of its manufacturing jobs since NAFTA and 50,000 factories since China joined the World Trade Organization. [Economic Policy Institute, April 23, 2015]
President Obama predicted that the trade deal with South Korea would increase our exports to South Korea by more than $10 billion — resulting in some 70,000 jobs. It has killed nearly 100,000. Our exports to South Korea haven’t increased at all, but their imports to us have surged more than $15 billion — more than doubling our trade deficit with that country. [The White House], [Economic Policy Institute, May 5, 2016]
Our annual trade deficit in goods with Mexico has risen from close to zero in 1993 to almost $60 billion. Our total trade deficit in goods hit nearly $800 billion last year. China is responsible for nearly half of our entire trade deficit. Almost half of our entire manufacturing trade deficit in goods with the world is the result of trade with China. [United States Census Bureau]”

(donaldjtrump.com 2016)

What will come from this in 2017?

That much is unknown, but if Donald Trump plans on running his presidency with the same utter- disregard for others he displayed in the election process, 2017 could see massive change in the trade conducted by the United States.

Until next week.