The challenge of disruptive trends in Global Supply Chain

Dr Rajiv Aserkar, Professor & Head of Logistics and Supply Chain at SP Jain on  managing these challenges with technology.

global supply chain trends

The world is witnessing technology-driven disruptive trends in every trade including its backbone – the global supply chain.

Policy makers, industry stakeholders, and academicians are grappling with solutions; amidst the lack of skilled manpower.

With technologies undergoing rapid changes and upgrades while markets undergo frenetic geopolitical upheavals, it won’t be easy.

With the advent of e-Commerce, it has split the infrastructure-constrained supply chain network.

The internet connected customers/consumers, especially the Gen X, Y & Z, want online/offline deliveries at a speed, and more and more of them are exploiting Omni Channel network.

On the other hand, the thrifty conventional consumers – many nearing retirements but with a good level of disposal incomes – want stable, quality and reliable services at bargains.

In the midst of managing the fast-changing trends, the marketing industry is flashing out information on products and services at lightning speed just to stay ahead of competition. Meanwhile, social media is being exploited to its full potential.

With the smart consumers of today, punctuality has a new definition for supply chain operators – it is a challenge.

Information; gathered through Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, or human interface with computers, are proving to be good but is also causing a “stressed-pace” in the supply chain.

Financial institutions play supporting role from manufacturing to e-payment at delivery point using the latest online payment modes. Yet there is undeniable concern.

But a dissatisfaction level is emerging amidst some of these exciting eco-systems with the man moving at a slower pace or unable to cope with the speed created by technologies backed by in-depth knowledge for management.

With that said, top decision makers will have to move fast, invest heavily in technologies to keep pace with new dynamics created by advanced technologies and the insatiable expectations and anticipations of consumers-customers.

Among other issues are the environmental concern, leading to change in packaging, discarding the simple but environmentally-unfriendly plastics. Plastics packaging costs are part of parceling, which, though, more and more environment-conscious governments are banning.

The indiscriminate disposal of this simple plastics has resulted in piles of litter on land and or in water bodies, making it one of the most pollutive elements, especially killing marine lives.

Such thoughts have created challenges for the industries, the governments and the thought leaders.

But in some cases, politicians have not given this issue a due thought. Washington, where American thought leaders have often addressed global affairs vociferously, have withdrawn, without any concern, from the Climate Change movements/initiatives.

Though he has outlined these concerns, Dr Rajiv Aserkar, Professor & Head of Logistics and Supply Chain at S P Jain School of Global Management, is sure of managing the challenges with technological solutions.

Dr Aserkar sees global supply chain going through a rapid but “stressed-pace” of change. He believes not enough thought is being given to climate change and real-time changing values of trade, commerce as well as buying patterns and trading trends.

Dr Aserkar’s challenge is to educate the next generation of business executives in managing the global supply chain with deeper understanding of the markets as well as movements of products from factory to the consumer and customer anywhere in the world. Technology is on top of his agenda.

What we have in hand is “just too little which, at best, is just about to help manage the digital pace”.

What is being worked on, albeit at a slower pace yet with a strong political willpower, is the sharing industry knowledge from the ground level.

Academicians are arranging curriculum as a way forward to ensure there is no shortage of skilled manpower to manage the future technologies. But they need the industry input.

“We need to have a world-wide approach to today’s Internet of Things (IoTs) eco-system,” stressed James A. McCarthy, Executive Vice President at Digital Guardian, an American data loss prevention software company from Waltham, Massachusetts.

In conclusion, we have everyone working on managing technologies, perhaps a little late but better than never. There are ongoing programmes involving the will-power of governments, the industry concerns about getting the right skill and the academicians’ efforts on seeking solutions for sharing with business executives for the future.

Tomorrow’s fast-pace markets need nimble-foot tech-savvy chief executives for making big investment decisions in the technology-driven exciting times ahead.

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