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Future of Supply Chain: Trends and Analysis

By Nick Vyas, Executive Director, the USC Marshall Center for Global Supply Chain Management

Nick Vyas, Executive Director, the USC Marshall Center for Global Supply Chain Management

Tariffs and renegotiation of long-standing trade agreements by the U.S have made supply chain and logistics prominent subjects for the last few years. However, the interconnected network of supply chain, logistics, and manufacturing has been powering the business and technology world for significantly longer.

One reason supply chain is an important area of focus - for everyone from CEOs to board members to managers - is due to drastically altered roles of key stakeholders in organizations. Enabled by the greater availability of real-time data, managers and decision-makers are given more opportunities to make agile and productive arrangements. In the coming years, BlockChain, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and integrated smart devices will enable companies to make further efficient decisions as well as reduce menial and repetitive work currently performed manually.

The businesses and professionals that will thrive in supply chain in the coming years will be those who seek new opportunities for growth, who understand and analyze risk effectively, and more importantly, who recognize and prioritize the value of innovation in their business model and plans.

"In the next decade and beyond, supply chain is likely to grow even more connected, transparent, and efficient– fueled by innovation and the willingness and drive to embrace new opportunities for growth"

As seen from the current trend in business, various companies and professionals not only embrace the changes but actively plan for the future of supply chain. For example, there is a marked shift in young professionals coming into the supply chain field. For the last several decades, supply chain professionals have emerged from various disciplines without proper academic and practical training; however today, young professionals are aware of the vast opportunities presented by fields such as supply chain, logistics, and manufacturing. This allows them to be increasingly well-prepared to address the current challenges of the industry and solve complex business problems.

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The increasing number of young professionals with structured training in supply chain will likely have a positive impact on the supply chain workforce need and affect business worldwide. There are currently supply chain programs that give young professionals hands-on training such as experiential trip, internship opportunities, and mentorship programs, in addition to traditional classroom education.

Amidst the rapid growth of innovation and technology, supply chain professionals have more resources and tools at their disposal than previous generations. In the next decade and beyond, supply chain is likely to grow even more connected, transparent, and efficient–fueled by innovation and the willingness and drive to embrace new opportunities for growth.

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