2018 has been a year of records for supply chain professionals. Just look at the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and its traditional Global Shopping Festival generating more than USD $30 billion within a single 24-hour period, with sales in more than 200 countries from more than 180,000 brands. Alibaba used a large global network of retailers deliver the orders in less than 24 hours in China and 72 hours globally. Planning this event’s end-to-end supply chain has probably caused many headaches to Alibaba’s supply chain teams. However, they managed to optimize their flow according to all the constraint they faced. Hats off!
New technologies are still growing as many large companies started pilots about Blockchain, Digital Twins or Artificial Intelligence. 2019 will be critical in the development of many of them, and these pilots have to show concrete results in order to lead these technologies a step further. Software editors are key in this journey as they usually possess both the technical and functional background to develop useful application from these technologies. 2019 should then be the switch between concept and reality for many of them.
Alongside technologies, supply chains also benefit from processes’ evolutions, such as Integrated Business Planning (IBP) which is the natural evolution of the traditional Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) or the Demand Driven processes, such as DDMRP which has become one of 2018 buzzwords. These two processes are reflecting well the new challenges supply chain are facing: the need of visibility in order to make the right decision, and the need of agility. Again, 2019 will be key in the evolution of these processes as more and more companies are adopting them. So far, companies are noticing great benefits from both IBP and DDMRP.
When thinking about 2019, a major event pop in my mind. An event that will disrupt supply chains and create new challenges. I’m talking about the Brexit, which will take place on March 29th and impact all companies working from or with the UK. Supply chains will of course be greatly impacted by this event and will require creativity to remain competitive.
Let’s talk no further, we are the first day of 2019, a year full of challenges, yes, but a year full of opportunities. May you be successful within your operations. Happy new year!