Trends Impacting Today’s Supply Chain Network and Management

Today’s Supply Chain and Management

The supply chain and management (SCM) sector is an important aspect of business and economic development. Currently, the SCM area of business operation has been affected by several factors. One of these elements is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has threatened to derail the world’s economic system. Furthermore, due to rapidly changing technological structures, the SCM sector is struggling to maintain its effectiveness (Lamba & Singh, 2017). However, to ensure that SCM operates efficiently, the world needs to consider variables such as country and cross-border taxes. Additionally, organizations must ensure that they facilitate communication among them and must also be aware of potential difficulties within the business environment.

Demand-Planning Systems

As capacities and sources from manufacturing increase, more organizations are moving away from efforts that focus on plant-level planning. These companies are currently incorporating demand-driven planning to manage and influence demand more effectively (Singh & Trivedi, 2016). In this case, demand planning positively influences SCM because it rationalizes an organization’s delivery and sales systems. A supply and management system that is demand-driven can assist a business in developing a more client-focused mindset. Additionally, this approach helps the organization identify and uncover buried data within a firm’s system of communication.

Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) utilization is currently increasing in numerous supply chain and management networks. According to research, automation are essential in streamlining repetitive tasks while artificial intelligence, which replicates what people can do, can perform challenging and complex tasks (Schniederjans et al., 2020). Today’s business world requires precision and speed, which both automation and artificial intelligence can provide. In supply chain and management, these instruments are crucial in speeding up processes, thereby ensuring that an organization gains a competitive advantage (Mainzer, 2019).

Increased Focus on Sustainability

As an increasing number of consumers and customers continue to show interest in environmental preservation, organizations are also switching to sustainable business operations, including in the SCM sector. To achieve this goal, firms must tailor their SCM networks to ensure that they develop a business structure that supports sustainability. In the future, businesses will turn to drastic and extreme measures that will ensure that they conserve the environment while at the same time, meeting customers’ needs. Some companies may choose manufacturing processes that are sustainable, while others may decide to become zero-waste. Nevertheless, these measures may not be sustainable for the organization in the long run because they may involve completely changing every step of an organization’s SCM.


Most organizations have an existing SCM network that they use to conduct their daily operations. Since the business environment is rapidly changing, the SCM networks must also be adjusted through customization (Schniederjans et al., 2020). Thus, they must segment their supply chain and create a customized approach and strategy for every segment. Furthermore, organizations may need to provide and maintain personalized experiences for their customers. This may be challenging to achieve considering that a firm may have a large customer base. However, this is achievable through the customization of such sectors as the ordering and manufacturing area without scarifying precision and quality.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a physical object network that is powered by software and sensors and is connected to the internet. Currently, it has a significant function within SCM, especially in managing logistics. With its constantly increasing applications, it is projected that within a few years, about half of the world’s businesses will be using IoT (Lamba & Singh, 2017). Additionally, besides offering more oversight in transportation and operations, experts believe that IoT can further improve services in the inventory, fleet tracking, and warehouse management sectors (Lamba & Singh, 2017). When this occurs, IoT could be beneficial in numerous sectors of the SCM network.


The process of digitization is one that involves transforming data into a digital format. To secure the future of SCM networks, organizations must include the digitization process. Studies demonstrate the capabilities of digitization in making SCM more dynamic, streamlined and mobile (Tseng et al., 2019). Most businesses today are striving to digitize their operations to reduce the challenges that they may encounter in the future. The process involves finding the right kind of technology that matches the organization’s needs and internal issues. If an organization is unable or unwilling to incorporate digitization programs, then they are reducing its chances of future survival.

Strengthened Relationships

In SCM, the supply chain is an important factor; however, the human aspect of the network should also be considered. For organizations to attain their objectives, they require the engagement of every employee. Focusing on enhancing relationships with suppliers, vendors, and team members improve corporation and collaboration at every level of the SCM network (Thomas-Francois et al., 2016). To ensure that this occurs, the first priority that companies can consider is improving communication. Additionally, organizations can consider looking for mutually beneficial methods that support company and employee goals.

Risk Management and Resilience

In a constantly unpredictable and volatile world, the SCM is continuously at risk of interference. For instance, businesses are unable to control unpredictable situations such as adverse weather, political environments, and pandemics. However, they are able to manage their SCM in preparation for any uncertainty that would threaten an organization. It is a company’s responsibility to ensure that the SCM network is able to overcome unpredictable threats.

Circular Supply Chain

Generally, SCM has been linear; meaning that the production process started from the raw materials all the way to the end products as the final stage. However, a circular SCM is a new trend that involves reusing disposable end products of the manufacturing process (Schniederjans et al., 2020). The advantage of this form of SCM network is that it supports a business’ effort to be sustainable. Since the earth has limited resources, reusing disposable end products in other processes of production ensures that the company saves on costs while simultaneously protecting the environment.

Increased Visibility

In addition to the current circular SCM system, visibility and transparency are other important factors that may impact SCM. Transparency is significant because it helps organizations comprehend the state of their SCM regardless of any business threats that may affect the firm (Lamba & Singh, 2017). Through digitization, organizations can now increase their visibility by utilizing the right technological solutions. When an organization has more transparency, minor errors relating to delivery or orders are avoided.


The business environment keeps changing at a high rate and this includes its SCM networks. Even though the process of change may be challenging, businesses must consider addressing issues that may arise in the future. Furthermore, organizations should consider succeeding by utilizing the emerging trends that seem to shape the future.


Lamba, K., & Singh, S. P. (2017). Big data in operations and supply chain management: Current trends and future perspectives. Production Planning & Control, 28(11-12), 877-890. Web.

Mainzer, K. (2019). How safe is artificial intelligence? Artificial intelligence – When do machines take over?, 243-266. Web.

Schniederjans, D. G., Curado, C., & Khalajhedayati, M. (2020). Supply chain digitisation trends: An integration of knowledge management. International Journal of Production Economics, 220, 107439. Web.

Singh, A., & Trivedi, A. (2016). Sustainable green supply chain management: Trends and current practices. Competitiveness Review, 26(3), 265-288. Web.

Tseng, M., Islam, M. S., Karia, N., Fauzi, F. A., & Afrin, S. (2019). A literature review on green supply chain management: Trends and future challenges. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 141, 145-162. Web.

Thomas-Francois, K., Von Massow, M., & Joppe, M. (2016). Strengthening farmers–hotel supply chain relationships: A service management approach. Tourism Planning & Development, 14(2), 198-219. Web.

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