I was recently asked a simple question during an interview: “Where do you see supply chain in 2030?”
I started thinking about this question when it dawned on me… where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I graduated from Penn State armed with a degree in Industrial Engineering and started a consulting job implementing demand planning and supply planning modules for a large CPG company.
And when I thought of the future of supply chain, I thought to myself that the year 2030 is 14 years from now—the same 14-year span of when I started in supply chain. A lot can change in such a short amount of time!
Last month, I attended the Supply Chain Insights conference in Scottsdale, AZ. It was a great conference, and I heard from many leaders in the industry on their supply chain journeys and how they are solving key problems with people, process and technology. There were many different stories that were shared on their successes in all industries, and the theme of the conference always came back to where supply chain will be in 2030. There were some excellent thoughts on software, processes, and even how robotics will be at the forefront.
I thought back to the state of the supply chain when I was a college student at State College. While I was learning all the basics in the classroom, I was probably more concerned with the supply chain of a pizza coming to my doorstep. Just thinking about ordering a pizza from Domino’s back then makes me laugh—you would have to make an actual phone call (hopefully not be put on hold), tell them your order, ask about specials, explain your address, and hopefully, within 30 minutes, your pizza would arrive. Nowadays, you can order online and log onto the Domino’s website to track your pizza from the oven to your house!
After coming to grips that I’m no longer a carefree college kid more concerned about the supply chain of a single pizza making it to my door, I put together 3 predictions of what the supply chain will be like by 2030:
- Companies will change job functions
Companies formed job descriptions of “demand planner”, “supply planner”, and “master scheduler” because that’s the way the solution providers sold their software modules. Because technology has evolved and all of those functions can be collapsed into a single data model, in the year 2030, there will be more end-to-end network planners instead.
- Data sharing will drive the supply chain
Whether your company is a high tech manufacturer producing components for the next gadget or you’re making food products being sold into retailers, you will be leveraging the next level of supply chain data to drive your supply chain. Many enterprises have already been sharing data for many years with their trading partners. However, in 2030 this will be the standard.
- Collaboration will be more prevalent
With the solutions of the past, it was very challenging for sales and marketing to participate in scenario planning, let alone for the supply chain to communicate amongst each other! In 2030, all enterprises will rely on collaboration and scenario planning among all members of the team and be able to easily pick the best strategy based on key performance metrics.
What are your predictions for the supply chain in 2030? I look forward to hearing from you.