It’s no secret that the siloed nature of supply chain data has created large scale macroeconomic inefficiencies, resulting in inaccurate forecasting of supply and demand, failed logistics planning and execution, and missed opportunities due to poorly understood risk. This amounts to billions of dollars in lost revenue for supply chain stakeholders, and trillions in reduced growth for the global economy.

In 2020, however, artificial intelligence (AI) will significantly enhance existing supply chain operating models. …

When it comes to our environmental impact, it’s likely we’ll look back on the 2010s — a decade in which consumption and waste reached new heights, despite an increased awareness of what’s at stake — with an acute sense of missed opportunity. Today, sustainability has become a major part of the political and social agenda, and businesses have a significant role to play in rectifying the situation.

For example, the UN General Assembly published a report in late 2015 entitled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. If these sustainable development goals (and the expectations of an increasingly…

The supply chain industry has gone through a huge amount of change in recent years. Driven by digitalisation and widespread transformation in several overlapping sectors, these changes have been characterised by what has become not-so-affectionately known as ‘the Amazon effect.’

The term describes the colossal growth of, which has shaken the retail and e-commerce industries to their cores and redefined customer expectations. Naturally, this level of success has created issues for many competing businesses, particularly brick-and-mortar outlets. Amazon’s unparalleled product selection, rapid shipping and affordable prices have set the bar to which all other businesses must now aspire.


There are many simple factors that can affect inventory composition, including customer tastes, seasonal cycles or a new product entering the market. Third-party logistics providers (3PLs) — which look to match inventory with demand as closely as possible in order to best serve their customers — are well equipped to deal with changes of this variety.

There are also, however, many complex and far-reaching factors that affect what inventory composition will look like in the future. These could include the emergence and maturation of new technologies, new legislation or a big play from an industry behemoth.

For example, the complex…

Over the last few decades, the continuing march of globalisation has propelled us into a world of increasingly dynamic and interconnected global supply chains. This has created a huge amount of complexity, inefficiency and waste.

For example, as a result of supply chain complexity, approximately 30 percent of food produced for human consumption around the world is either lost or wasted each year. That equates to 1.3 billion tonnes of food and 1 trillion USD in economic costs, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

Disorder characterises today’s global supply chain, which is flooded by massive…

From reaching a wider customer base, to delivering products faster and increasing flexibility, the digital revolution has opened up a whole host of opportunities for brands and retailers. However, it has also made the global supply chain more complex and sprawling than ever before.

Materials and products pass through multiple geographies, as well as numerous suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and service providers that rarely communicate with each other. The consequences of this disorder and fragmentation are numerous.

In order to capitalise on the dormant value represented by today’s swelling but ill-optimised supply chain, businesses should look to harness technologies that facilitate…

Max Ward

I’m in charge of growth and business development at

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