The Future of Operations and Supply Chain Management: 4 Trends to Watch

4 min read
Oct 6, 2023 2:11:00 PM

To achieve success and meet revenue expectations, your operations must be ready and willing to adapt to change.  

In this article, you’ll forecast and evaluate the present and future conditions of the supply chain. Together, we’ll consider the ways operations and supply chain management may change in the future, and how your business can capitalize and adapt.  

The Current State of Supply Chain Operations 

Supply chain operations involve each step that must be taken to deliver a finished product or service to the customer. Traditionally, it starts at the moment a business receives an order for purchase. It may include sourcing raw materials, moving the product to production and, finally, sending the product to a distribution center or store where it is delivered to the buyer.  

Supply chain management (SCM) focuses on the control of the entire supply chain process from production to delivery. By reducing variation in the process and increasing efficiency, your business can deliver faster, at a lower cost and with less waste. SCM includes overseeing the movement of products, data and finances linked to the product or service with the goal of maximizing efficiency and improving customer satisfaction.  

While the goal of SCM is to exert control over the supply chain process, outside factors will have an impact on both the process and deliverables. Looking ahead, there is a shift in factors that supply chain leaders must manage. 

Looking to the Future of the Global Supply Chain 

In the year 2023, the supply chain was affected by economic instability, lack of visibility, fluctuations in demand, inventory shortages, ESG concerns and cybersecurity threats.  

While industry leaders continue to address the challenges facing the global supply chain, looking ahead, there are new technologies and new challenges. 

Here are four trends you can expect to impact the supply chain in the immediate future: 

Increased Adaptability  

COVID-19 proved the susceptibility of the supply chain, and that even with adequate planning, manufacturing operations can be shut down at any moment and for an extended period. To further protect operations and the business, leaders and business owners must embrace increased adaptability and flexibility.  

To overcome future challenges, manufacturers should examine their current operations: 

  • What are the weak links in the supply chain?  
  • In what areas do you have the least control, or are you at the highest risk? 
  • For your single-source items, are there any alternative sourcing options? 
  • Are you receiving enough data to stay informed of any changes that may arise?  

During this examination, bring in relevant partners to discuss how to overcome weaknesses and further protect the business. Start with your concerns, and then look for suggestions or ideas that will address them. Don’t focus on fixing problems alone, but also on how to improve and increase resiliency.  

Lean on your existing partnerships and build new ones with viable suppliers and vendors. Use their strengths and expertise to bolster your business. 

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence  

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has rapidly moved from science fiction to the mainstream. At this point, industries and businesses have embraced AI to the point that companies and businesses no longer can safely ignore the technology. We are at the point where companies either adapt to AI, or they risk operating in a world that is leaving them behind. 

One common misconception about AI is that it will “replace” human workers. The reality is that AI works best as a tool for your employees. Workers can do their jobs better and more easily with AI. It can increase efficiency, provide greater automation, and give workers valuable data and insight.  

Some positions may not be necessary once an AI system is in place, but human workers will still be needed. Rather than embracing a lower headcount and throwing AI into your processes, look at slowly incorporating AI where it makes sense. Provide training on the new tools to your employees because they understand your processes. Let them shape how AI is used. Don’t be afraid to move employees to higher priority and more valuable work with AI support. 

AI is here, and how you use it can be a strategic advantage for your business.  

Supply Chain as a Service (SCaaS)  

Supply Chain as a Service is the division of the supply chain into sections that can be outsourced to, or accessed by, third parties. This service allows companies to evaluate their current supply chain management and decide which areas could be improved by outsourcing it to expertise companies.  

SCaaS has proven to be cost saving for many and has increased operational growth for businesses. It has also allowed companies to evaluate their current supply chain management and decide where improvements could be made.  

As you evaluate your supply chain resiliency, consider where it makes sense to utilize SCaaS. 

Emphasis on Sustainability 

Supply chain sustainability is a company’s efforts to consider the environmental and human impact of their products’ journey throughout the supply chain cycle. The objective is to lessen environmental damage from factors like energy and water consumption to waste production while still contributing to the people and communities in and around their operations.  

While sustainability is important for environmental factors, it also makes business sense. Reducing energy use, eliminating waste, finding ways to operate more efficiently, and managing work smarter are not only good for the Earth, but also the business. Company leaders are embracing sustainability not only as corporate branding but also as business improvement. 

As ESG regulations increase, companies will continue to emphasize sustainability and green technology and will quickly see rewards for their efforts.  

Help with Your Supply Chain Management  

Good supply chain management is key to lowering a company’s expenditures and increasing profits. Even one mishap can disrupt the process and affect the entire chain.  

With the intricacies of your supply chain process, it’s essential for your company to stay ahead of change and keep an eye on future events that could affect operations. 

GO2 Partners is made up of a team of marketing and operational professionals here to help you succeed. We keep an eye on trends and stay on top of developments that could affect the supply chain to keep things running smoothly so you can focus on your business. Contact us to learn what we can do for your operations today!  



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