Gartner predictions for supply chain technology trends in 2021

Feb 12, 2021
Supply Chain
Innovation

Gartner has released a report outlining their top supply chain technology trend predictions for 2021, to aid supply chain leaders in mapping out and developing their ongoing digital transformation initiatives.

The key findings outlined were:

  • “Although 72% of supply chain organizations view technology as a source of competitive advantage, only 47% manage SCM technology horizontally and holistically across functional domains."
  • “While the pace of change in supply chain accelerates, only 42% of supply chain organizations have adopted agile methodologies, breaking projects into smaller increments and allowing quicker realization of failures and reallocation of efforts."
  • "More than half of supply chain leaders now have a variety of IT roles specifically within their supply chain teams" as "Information and technology (I&T) is becoming an increasingly important role directly in the supply chain organizations."

A recent survey they conducted, Gartner Supply Chain Disruption Management and Impact Survey, determined that “real-time visibility is one of the key capabilities companies use to handle their supply chain challenges.” In fact, Gartner predicts that “by 2023, 50% of global product-centric enterprises will have invested in real-time transportation visibility platforms.”

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2021 real-time visibility predictions and recommendations

Gartner says, “Real-time visibility is a key focus for many shippers and 3PLs. Therefore, this market will continue to grow at a rapid rate over the next few years.” However, Gartner views “the market is very fragmented from the vendor perspective in terms of modes, geographies covered, as well as the size of carrier networks connected.” This results in “the need to ensure due diligence to identify the right technology partner to work with on their endeavours”.

Gartner suggests there are four key things supply chain technology leaders should do to ensure success in selecting and implementing real-time transportation visibility solutions.

The first is to “Identify requirements around transportation visibility by initiating discussions with internal stakeholders and external customers.” The benefits of RTTV go beyond benefiting only supply chain operations. They also provide value for customer service, marketing and sales and operations planning teams to name a few. Here are some of the key criteria Gartner recommends considering when defining an organization’s visibility solution needs:

  • “Enterprise (plant, factory and warehouse) versus multienterprise (including business partners) visibility
  • Asset (truck, trailer and container) tracking versus product tracking
  • Shipment (load) tracking versus product (down to box and SKU) tracking
  • Real-time tracking (for example, updates every 15 minutes) versus milestone insights
  • Positioning tracking versus conditioning tracking (for example, temperature, humidity, pressure and damage)
  • Single transportation mode versus multimode coverage
  • Visibility only versus visibility plus advanced capabilities (intelligence)
  • Domestic versus international or even global scope”

The second is to “Provide real-time transportation visibility for internal and external customers by identifying the best platforms for connecting to carriers. Select vendors based on regional and modal coverage and how they align to the company’s carrier network.” Capabilities relating to these areas vary a lot between vendors, so it’s of critical importance when selecting a solution.

Thirdly, Gartner recommends “Collaborating with different stakeholders to identify and document the benefits of these solutions for each group.” This is key for building a strong internal business case and ensures that a solution delivers the expected ROI.

Finally, “Achieve the benefits from implementing real-time transportation visibility capabilities without high upfront costs by using cloud deployments that are integrated with large carrier works as well as with other transportation workflow and visibility tools” Solutions that take advantage of highly compatible integration technologies and which leverage automation will help to accelerate ROI of a visibility project.

Beyond real-time transportation visibility, you can download the full report to discover predictions for other supply chain technology topics. These include supply chain robotics, control tower challenges, the growth of IT roles within supply chain departments, and the growing role and value of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics capabilities within the supply chain space.

As the leading European provider of real-time visibility, tracking more than 10 million shipments across over 70 countries thanks to a network of over 140,000 carriers, we lead the European market when it comes to tracking quality, predictive analytics capabilities and leveraging automation to improve workflows and processes. We’re also proud to have been recognized as a Representative Vendor in the Gartner Market Guide for Real-Time Visibility Platforms, 2020 for a second consecutive time. Having worked on dozens of visibility projects for global leaders, we can help you determine which supply chain transportation visibility technologies are best suited as part of your ongoing digitalization initiatives.

Feel free to reach out to our team of experts today to discuss your visibility project.

Gartner, Predicts 2021: Supply Chain Technology, 2 December 2020, Dwight Klappich, Bart De Muynck, Greg Aimi, Christian Titze, Andrew Stevens
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