The Design of a Futuristic Supply Chain System
The design of a sustainable supply chain system that will address key areas and create a flourishing industry in 2025 should necessarily anticipate the key forces of change that will impact supply chain and evolve the approaches accordingly. Given the uncertainty as to how the changes will unfold, planned steps need to be taken now to set in motion a sustainable model that will address future scenarios.
- Labour: The dynamics of supply chain labour will be affected by two main contributing factors, migration and automation. Studies have predicted mass migration on a scale not predicted before that will create volatile changes in the supply chain labour dynamics. It is also anticipated that a significant number of workers will be displaced by automation. Companies will need to evolve the approach fostering responsibilities and propagating inclusive labour policies to help mitigate. Businesses can also support the empowerment of workers within their supply chains by enabling them to participate in and lead trade unions and other forms of worker representation using technology.
- Sourcing: Growth and change in new market demands and demographics will create new requirements for on-demand goods and services. This will require thought and understanding to meet the new consumption patterns and preferences and in providing goods and services in new formats. The need will be to develop lean regional supplier networks that can fulfil commercially and be sustainable models.
- Digital Assessments and Engagement: The volume of data that will be produced and disseminated will create an opportunity to review and reconsider how supply chain data is collected and interpreted. There will be a need to disseminate and segregate decision impacting data from the large chunks of available data and audit reports. The challenges will be to re-skill, responsibly downsize and having a plan in place for sustainable partnerships with suppliers.
- Regulatory: Considering the high levels of uncertainty about the future of regulations that will shape mandatory practices it is advisable to be prepared for a variety of possible future scenarios and stand ready should regulatory requirements increase. Factoring in climate risk and preparedness into supply chain planning models and reaching for alternative materials and resources where necessary is also important. One could also look for new ways to secure supply and minimise disruptions in supply chains. This would, of course, also mean partnering with suppliers that share a common commitment and action and providing incentives and creating access to skill-building to suppliers that lag behind peers.