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2021 Supply Chain Trends

2020 was a whirlwind for the supply chain industry.

Covid-19 has rapidly shifted consumer behavior, raising pressures on demand for eCommerce. As we enter the new year, the new consumer behaviors are here to stay.

Here are some Supply Chain Trends you can anticipate for 2021:

Omnichannel Strategy 

As demand for eCommerce continues to rise, the need to implement online-offline strategies is apparent. An Omnichannel strategy is a cross-channel strategy to improve the overall consumer experience and drive better relationships. This strategy comes in many shapes and sizes and aims to provide consumers with a seamless purchase journey. The key to success with an omnichannel strategy is to reach the targeted consumer through multiple points of contact or channels, such as shopping from on a desktop to brick-and-mortar. Having a responsive online presence across channels is key to survival as we move into 2021, as experts predict a total of 73% of online purchases will come from a mobile device alone.
The huge shift seen within 2020 was the move from brick-and-mortar to buy online pick up in-store. Many consumers opted to purchase their products online to maintain social distancing measures. As a result, many brick-and-mortar models were forced to shut down or make a strong shift towards an online presence. Retailers took on the challenge ignited by the pandemic to create a blend of digital and physical strategies. Experts believe as we approach the new year and emerge into a post-pandemic world, the purchase behaviors created in 2020 are to remain. 

Demand for Visibility

The demand for supply chain visibility is rapidly increasing for both B2B and B2C models. Blockchain technology allows parties along the supply chain to access data as it occurs, ensuring both visibility and accuracy. Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology that records all transactions between multiple parties, all in one immutable chain. The supply chain parties are provided with immediate access to data, including the occurrence of transactions. The use of blockchain technology is being seen across all industries, especially within healthcare and life science. As we approach 2021 with delivery demands still present, blockchain technology can help organizations overcome challenges by directly connecting to the customer. Blockchain is observed to be amongst the frontier of digital transformation, but Covid-19 previous estimates of spending have been reduced. Now the IDC predicts blockchain spending to grow at a tempered pace over the 2018-2023 period with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57.1% for Worldwide – with worldwide spend reaching $14.4 billion by 2023.

 Another push for blockchain technology is the demand for trust. Gartner reported that almost 70% of board of directors stated efforts to accelerate digital business initiatives due to the pandemic, economic, and social crisis seen in 2020. As we move into the new year, many professionals refer to technology like blockchain as "algorithmic trust." In using such technology, professionals can hone in on accurate data, avoiding problematic data such as fake news or biased AI. As supply chain management puts their trust in algorithms, they can ensure privacy and security for their data, assets, and identities of people. Within the next year, experts predict that 15% of supply chain transactions will use blockchain to increase trust. Blockchain technology is a game-changer for parties along the supply chain, and as we look into 2021, we will see a rise in its implementation.

Outsourcing Deliveries

Outsourcing delivery solutions has become a major trend in supply chain management. Challenges to meet demands and expectations have pushed industries to improve service levels, fulfillment capabilities, and overall operations. 

Heightened consumer demand and increased competition have challenged many businesses to maintain a competitive edge. As we anticipate 2021, consumer expectations fueled by the amazon effect will continue to rise, and businesses must find the best way to adapt.                 

Using a delivery orchestration platform company allows businesses to focus more on core activities while ensuring their deliveries are in experts’ hands. Not only will outsourcing your deliveries ensure timely and efficient delivery, but it will also enable businesses to reduce fulfillment costs and increased capabilities. Utilizing a delivery orchestration platform provides real-time visibility, actionable data, and driven optimization capabilities for enterprise clients. Organizations can ensure dependability and cost, while rate shopping for the best solution. 

Through innovative technology, businesses are provided with multiple fulfillment modes, each connected to an exclusive courier network, all automated in real-time. Software solutions such as route optimization and fleet management provide both visibility and ensure maximum performance. The use of a delivery orchestration platform allows organizations to scale high demands and maintain customer satisfaction through exception management. Providing consumers with a seamless delivery experience is crucial as expectations continue to rise.  A study revealed that 70% of customers said they would not make another purchase if they had a negative delivery experience. In comparison, 94% of consumers blame the shipper, not the carrier, for any issues. As expectations and demand for fast delivery are only set to continue, finding a reliable delivery orchestration platform is pivotal to success. 

Many companies were forced to re-evaluate their operations in the last year. Covid-19 exposed crucial challenges along the supply chain, pushing many to reorientate their structure. With the adoption of innovations along the supply chain, many reached new levels, ultimately coming out stronger. Looking into the new year, innovation will continue to play a huge role in adapting operations to the new normal. The supply chain industry holds a promising future for those who continue to optimize operations with innovation.

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