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What are the Latest Trends in SCM?

What’s happening with supply chain management (SCM)? The latest trends in SCM are centered around shifts in how you’ll keep your competitive stronghold, including factors like security, green logistics, social media’s impact and strategies that reflect a serious commitment toward a demand-driven supply chain network.

Security From Ground up is Reflecting Latest Trends in SCM

As raw materials are moved through your supply chain, and as products are freighted to customers, the latest trends in SCM are looking more closely than ever at security – both for your customers and your supply partners. Surges in identity theft and ecommerce information theft are placing more emphasis on secure online transactions. At the same time, trends toward stronger international trade (with tougher regulations) mean customer and supplier security will be even more challenging. One new strategy for security has emerged as a collaborative effort between seven major supply chain software vendors, including Microsoft, SAP AG and Symantec. The new supply chain software controls have been created to make the processes for developing and sustaining software more secure, including the ways contract partnerships are made with suppliers and the creation of secure source code repositories.

Green Logistics: More than Hype, Another of the Latest Trends in SCM

Now more than ever, your supply chain leadership and partners will be called upon to implement green supply chain practices. You can see changes in profitability by implementing more sustainable transportation or packaging processes, while at the same time reducing harmful emissions and environmental wastes. Similarly, more and more organizations will find savings in reducing the levels of energy consumed in the production and distribution of products. Additionally, more organizations will explore the closed-loop supply chain in which all materials are reused, and leadership toward this effort can stem from entities like your packaging partners.

Using Social Media to Forecast Demand, One of the Latest Trends in SCM

Your customers’ demands will fluctuate more than ever as you enjoy a more diverse and immediate customer base, but this also brings a greater need for channels to effectively listen to buyers and dialogue with them on a more intimate level. Social media metrics platforms are making this challenge easier to implement, track and manage for tangible returns in customer loyalty and inquiry. Some major distributors are already using Twitter to communicate across their supply chain to make a better link between available freight and available carriers, while others are using social media trends on Facebook to try to better predict surges in product demand.

Light and Mobile: Latest Trends in SCM Show Growth in Handheld Technology

Going hand in hand with new tools for conversation with your partners and buyers through social media are new tools for synchronizing your supply chain processes from anywhere, in real-time, with mobile technology from smartphones. The latest trends in SCM are offering more functions than ever, shortening the time it takes you to make total-organization decisions and giving higher than ever visibility across your total supply chain to all your partners. This visibility means your ability to effectively link up efficiency across your supply chain with pricing will also be increased, such as more custom discounts and special pricing for in-stock products in a highly time-sensitive format. Experts say supply chain technology that aligns with latest trends will ultimately be value-based, but also light, Web-oriented and tuned in closely to your cash flow.

Latest Trends in SCM Point to Demand-Planning Software

Naturally, a stronger emphasis on demand-planning is also emerging as you work through shifts wrought by globalization. Tools for more accurate demand planning, especially from a Software as a Service platform, are becoming more fine-tuned in the ways they help you forecast demand. New demand-based software for SCM will help you watch new demand patterns, keep your eye on competitors and formulate alternate plans for demand management, all within specific goals related to individual product lines.

Ultimately the latest trends in SCM still reflect the need for excellent customer service, but within the framework of sustainability, smarter security and smarter conversations with buyers and partners across your supply chain network.