Top Supply Chain Trends in 2016 – Part II

Top Supply Chain Trends in 2016 – Part II

Top Supply Chain Trends in 2016 - Part II

Welcome back for the 2016 edition of Blue Horseshoe’s Top Supply Chain Trends. In 2015, we made bold predictions, not only about technology, but also the changing supply chain services industry. Click Here to read our 2015 Predictions.

If you read our end-of-year review, you will find that what we foresaw a year ago emerged as major topics talked about in the supply chain news. We have no doubt that our 2016 trends will be the most talked about topics in logistics and supply chain management.

In part one, we took a look at the first five trends of 2016. They included Augmented Warehousing, Cognitive Computing, ‘IoT’, the Continued Rise in Automation and Cloud First.

Now, it’s on to the rest of the list.


  1. Global Omni-Channel Service Providers

Omni ChannelThe race to seamlessly fulfill and return goods as part of a global supply chain is sure to kick into high gear in 2016. Enhancing a company’s ability to manage their inventory at all times, across all locations is within reach.

When we talk about Omni-Channel, we confine ourselves to one geographic border. While there are many conferences devoted to the topic of Omni-Channel distribution, peek inside and you will find that most retailers focus on one geography.

What we will talk about this year, however, is how we will provide a seamless global Omni-Channel experience. What will be interesting is to see which model will provide the best user experience, retailer controlled or supplier controlled.

Here in the U.S., Amazon continues to make massive infrastructure investments and is focusing on getting users deliveries quicker. Compared to Alibaba in China, that creates a larger marketplace. As both companies expand globally, it will be interesting to see which model delivers the best customer experience.


  1. Rethinking Organizational Structure

Changing Organization StructurePundits in 2015 bemoaned changes at Zappos that eliminated the organization chart in favor of self-selected teams, or circles. Holacracy, as it is called, frees the employees from direct supervision with no managers, no job titles and no hierarchy. The idea was said to be innovative, but it was not universally accepted within the company, which lost about 14 percent of its employees who chose to leave rather than adapt, according to Forbes.

While most companies will not need to go that far, 2016 will see increased discussion around organization structures that can handle the global nature of business. Many of these discussions will center on building an organization that thrives in different environments. While this structure will vary based on the business, the trend will be focused less on departments and more on building teams to solve problems in the organization.

While it will be hard for some organizations to give up their org charts, in the long term, a more fluid structure will prevail for businesses in the coming years.


  1. Continued Talent Pressures

Across the supply chain we are still seeing major drives to attract and keep top talent. As attendees of many job fairs, we see where students stand in line for a chance to get their resume noticed.

Many students want to work for brands that have a purpose. Companies like Tesla, Apple, or Unilever have done an amazing job of attracting talent. We find that talent is moving to brands they identify with and not looking for “just another job.”

This puts pressure on businesses in 2016 to do a better job of creating a talent management initiative that tells the story of a company and why the roles they are hiring are important to the organization. This will make training and education initiatives in companies more important to attract new talent that will lead your business in the future.


  1. Shift in global movements of freight

West Coast Port CongestionThe big news at the end of the third quarter of 2015 was West Coast Port congestion. While labor at the ports was one issue, there were a large number of factors that affected the ports. As the widened Panama Canal comes on line, there will be more opportunities to move freight to less congested East Coast ports.

Many companies will also want to move east for the 2016 Christmas freight as a way to reduce the risk of delayed shipments because of congestion.

As Amazon looks to move more of their freight by air in 2016, this will force parcel carriers to push more companies to use the extra capacity that Amazon might vacate.


  1. One Partner Solutions

Another challenge for 2016 will be to find One Partner Solutions for many of the big supply chain challenges. At the beginning of 2015, you might have considered one partner for consulting, one for the software, and one company to provide hardware.

As companies look to streamline their internal processes, it will make more sense to select one partner that manages the supply chain consulting projects from conception to maintenance.

Blue HorseshoeThat is one of the reasons that so many companies chose to work with Blue Horseshoe in 2015. We provide a complete end to end supply chain solution. From analysis of Global Supply Chains to small facilities, Blue Horseshoe provides strategy, analysis, design, and execution of Enterprise Resource Planning, Automation, Supply Chain Software, Transportation Management, Transportation Execution, and Training Solutions. We are a one stop shop for companies big and small.

As you look to who you will partner with in 2016, you must consider all the trends that you will face and work with the industry leaders who can guide and enable your supply chain and business in the coming years. While we can’t exactly see the future, we can see the trends developing and will best guide your strategy and execution in years to come.

Have a great 2016!

Additional Articles:
2016 Supply Chain Trends:
Top Supply Chain Trends 2016 – Part I

2015 Supply Chain Trends REVIEW
2015 Supply Chain Trends – In Review

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