What are the top eight supply chain tech trends?

17 June 2021

Hyper-automation and immersive experience are among the top supply chain technology themes this year, according to research.

Gartner said the themes were important for their transformational potential and ability to foster operational resiliency across business functions, technology, and service delivery.

Gartner's 2021 supply chain technology themes are:

1. Hyper-automation

This combines machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation.

2. Digital supply chain twin (DSCT)

DSCT is a digital representation of the physical supply chain, ensuring that decision-making is aligned horizontally and vertically throughout the network.

3. Immersive experience and applications

Head-mounted displays, wearables, smartglasses, 5G, and smartphones or tablets provide immersive experiences through a mix of graphic processing, AI and other individual business applications.

4. Edge ecosystems

This is where technologies can be used, for example, to track and monitor condition or temperature requirements across multiple phases of a product’s life cycle.

5. Supply chain security

A new generation of scalable technology solutions are anticipated to evolve, bringing together a more comprehensive approach to embrace security risks such as counterfeits or cyber crime holistically across the supply chain.

6. Environmental and social governance

Global supply chains have a pivotal role to play in their contribution to both map and assess ESG risks and opportunities.

7. Embedded AI and analytics

These deliver real-time reporting, interactive data visualisation and advanced analytics and intelligence directly into a business enterprise application.

8. Augmented data intelligence

This combines several technologies that facilitate advanced data processing, delivering insightful information, predictions and suggestions.

Christian Titze, vice president analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, said the list focused on broader technology themes because individual technologies are often combined to solve specific supply chain business problems.

“Immersive experience technologies have the potential to radically influence the trajectory of supply chain management,” said Titze. “It presents new interaction models through the product life cycle, not only with humans, but with other processes, machines and applications.”

He said modern supply chains were highly connected and interdependent.

“Organisations need technologies to map and prepare for ESG opportunities, risks and impacts,” said Titze. “Failure to invest in tools and solutions that govern, predict and adapt to new ESG impacts could have a significant influence on brand or company image, customer value perception, and the cost and availability of goods.”

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