Material growth in the value of global goods traded over the last five years represents the evolution of globalisation, increasing incomes in many locations, and the need to connect people and devices. Baseline forecasts for 2022 exceed anything seen in the prior six or more years.
ABI Research forecasts e-commerce revenue to grow from US$560 billion in 2020 to US$8 trillion in 2026. This explosive e-commerce growth underscores the need for supply chains to become more flexible and agile to address future disruptions and create more resilient value chains.
“The pandemic exposed the weaknesses of fragmented, regionally dependent, and inflexible supply chains. Even as current challenges subside, new, and potentially unforeseen challenges will become the norm, and companies will need to ensure supply under a more volatile business landscape,” explained Susan Beardslee, supply chain management & logistics principal analyst at ABI Research. She noted that companies need to be willing to invest in next-generation technology, infrastructure, and human resources to build resilience and efficiency into their constantly evolving operations.
This includes digital twins for retail – a US$888 million opportunity in North America by 2027, to optimise forecasting and adjust pricing like those offered by HERE Technologies.
Asset tracking informs the supply chain in real time on product location, users, replenishment and more. Fulfilment operations can save 20% of their time via hands-free solutions like those from Datalogic. Greater sustainability is needed including circular economies as supported by Cisco. Companies like Blackberry and Akrose Labs provide critical security to protect the connected supply chain.
“There is no singular “silver bullet” to address the multiple supply chain challenges, and not all challenges can be addressed purely by technology. Technologies can, however, improve visibility, flexibility, efficiency, and profitability, repairing numerous challenges, many of which existed pre-pandemic,” concluded Beardslee.