The emergence of 3D printing and rise of ‘big data’ are set to be the biggest issues facing supply chain leaders in 2014.
Richard Powell, managing director and co-founder of supply chain consultancy Crimson & Co, said the term ‘big data’ had become widespread this year, “but most supply chains are yet to really understand what they need to do about this”.
He added: "Looking forward, there needs to be more thought about the use of data, and supply chain leaders will have to work out how to incorporate it in their plans if they want a competitive operation.”
3D printing is another area that must not be ignored because “it is remorselessly advancing and will wholly transform the supply chain universe”.
Powell also said companies should consider the increasing manufacturing costs, quality challenges and shipping stock coverage issues among emerging markets such as India and China.
He added: “As organisations continue to overestimate changes over the next three years and underestimate changes over the next ten years, it will be those who recognise these emerging trends and incorporate them at the earliest possible stage who soar.
“2013 was not a particularly progressive year for supply chains but next year will be, and it will exciting to see how processes develop with the increased significance around ‘big data’ and 3D printing.”
☛ There will be analysis of the impact 3D printing is having on supply chains in the January edition of Supply Management.