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  • Writer's pictureOliver Hugh-Jones

Procurement & Supply Chain technology: Predicting future technology trends

The start of 2022 sees global supply chains continue to be in a state of flux. To establish what future technology trends will be prevalent it is important to examine the drivers as to why this has happened. Whilst the functions of Procurement & Supply Chain are now being recognised as areas that can deliver enhanced profitability and increased efficiency, they have historically been regarded as simple transactional functions resulting in little or no investment and development.

Increased consumer demand, a global pandemic, and in terms of the UK, Brexit, have all resulted in a negative impact on the efficiency of supply chains and cost of goods. The impact of these drivers has resulted in organisations seeking to invest transformative technology solutions. The focus of such digital transformation solutions can be split into two main segments; technology focussed on direct cost reduction and technology focussed on improving operational efficiency.

Recently multiple organisations in FMCG have been surveyed and asked what key deliverables they wanted from their digital transformation programme, the repetitive themes were, solutions that avoid additional workflows, that could deliver close to immediate benefits combined with an exceptional user interface.

With the key deliverables described, what are the emerging technologies that allow these aspirations to be achieved?

Poor material availability across multiple industries has been a common theme for the last 2 years. To mitigate such issues, manufacturers must invest in software to ensure the best possible market price achieved, and to ensure the tender process is accelerated. By doing so, this results in the ability to obtain agreement to supply goods in a quicker and more efficient manner. Combined with complete and accurate data sets, helps avoid availability issues that have impacted multiple industries.

Developments and additions to established technologies that have focussed on contract and tender efficiency with continue to grow in popularity. Using advanced technology such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in conjunction with existing tender technology will increase efficiency, reduce errors, and ultimately provide the results required by organisations wanting to avoid the issues that have plagued businesses on a global scale in recent years.

Increasingly, the focus is shifting to reduce the complexity of global supply chains. Improved communication, which reduces the often complex and time-consuming administrative tasks, providing authenticity of product, and enhancing security are just some of the key areas of focus organisations are seeking to benefit from.

To achieve these benefits, providing end-to-end visibility will emerge as a key priority. Organisations must increase the connectivity throughout their supply chains. Upstream and downstream secure communication is essential to ensure parties stay well-connected as part of a supply chain. Capturing data in a secure, immutable manner and utilising that intelligence to avoid costly errors through enhanced transparency and enhanced information flow will be key.

The maturing and increased use of Blockchain technology combined with secure tracking solutions will significantly help in achieving key transparency and communication goals.

Gone are the days where applications such as these are prohibited by expensive implementation costs. Following the trend of past emerging technologies applications have now become more accessible and provide real return on investment for innovative leaders.

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