April 14, 2024

Supply chains are advised to leverage artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and even other emerging developments in technology in combination with scenario planning for them to thrive in the future, as the new era of global trade enters.

“AI-powered automation is helping fulfillment and sourcing teams keep up with demand. Global supply chain challenges predated the pandemic but this macro event has accelerated demand for retailers to adapt new innovative technology that streamlines age-old systems,” Kelly Bongrain, a client specialist at trend forecasting company, WGSN, said in a webinar.

Bongrain cited research suggesting that global retailers feel unprepared for future disruption.

She said 75 percent of large businesses globally will have adopted some form of smart robots in their warehouse operations by 2026.

AI forecasting engines can automate up to 50 percent of workforce-management tasks, leading to cost reductions of 10 percent to 15 percent, she said.

Bongrain said AI and blockchain technology will play an increasingly crucial role in making manufacturing factories hyper-flexible.

She said supply chains have to be prepared for the rise of blockchain technology, which is forecast to reach $9.85 billion in value by 2025.

“Use blockchain technology in combination with AI to accelerate demand forecasting, offering near-perfect, real-time pictures of inventory levels across the globe,” Bongrain said amid concerns are rising about the impact of automation on the workforce.

“Supply chains will be pushed to rethink their operations and processes and resilience will be a core competitive advantage,” she added.

With much of today’s waste stemming from product development and manufacturing, Bongrain said supply chains will also need to invest in new tools and solutions to counter overproduction.

“Target raw material usage to achieve circularity goals (this is especially pertinent for the fashion industry),” she said. “Use technology in tandem with circular models to track and develop new standards around sourcing and build a new age of logistical accountability.” – Press release