What's Hype and What's Ripe in Tech Trends

A veteran supply chain analyst picks the brightest ideas for 2020

15 January, 2020 // ARC Advisory Group’s Steve Banker has posted his Forbes list of “2020 Supply Chain Technology Trends.” As usual, the article is a good roadmap for its combination of industry outlook and thoughtful opinion. 

Banker splits emerging supply chain technology into categories for “hyped,” “promising” and “high ROI but not widely adopted.”  

Hyped technologies, Banker writes, “are getting a lot of publicity but have little proven value. These seem like technologies in search of a solution.” Despite industry buzz, Banker still places blockchain, 5G, artificial intelligence and transportation autonomy in this category.

That’s not to say these won’t eventually become transformative for supply chain—just that they are not there yet. For instance, “we have continued to ask blockchain providers for the names of customers that are using their technology on a daily basis as part of their entrenched way of business,” Banker reports. “Blockchain providers cannot provide these references. That is a sure sign that the technology is still in the hype stage.”

Banker’s promising technologies for the coming year are machine learning in WMS and TMS platforms, along with robotic automated storage and retrieval. Among his hidden gem “high ROI” solutions are real-time location solutions and Internet of Things (IoT) data for transportation. We agree with Banker’s assessment of location and transportation IoT data; those are integral to our own ChronosCloud visibility and analytics platform. 

Banker’s analysis shows that even revolutions proceed in steps. To be sure, there’s never been a more exciting time than 2020 to be contemplating transportation transformations. Still, though Morgan intends to remain at the forefront of future technologies like blockchain and AI, we also understand that the best optimizations are the ones you can deliver now. As U.S. General George Patton famously observed, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.”


 

Heard On The Dock

Relationships with suppliers should not be purely transactional.… I want to invest in the relationship so that we grow together in the long term.

-- Marcos Eloi, Chief Procurement Officer, KraftHeinz Company

 


 

While You Were Shipping…

More Recent Stories You May Have Missed That Caught Our Eye

Playing Ketchup In The Supplier Collaboration Game (Food Navigator USA). In the wake of well publicized procurement scandals at KraftHeinz, new Chief Procurement Officer Marcos Eloi is stressing the importance of partnering with vendors. “Relationships with suppliers should not be purely transactional,” he told a reporter. “As soon as you talk about price and payment terms, there’s potential for conflict. But there are several other things we can talk about on innovation, sustainability, growth, developing capacities.… Our suppliers are a key source of innovation for our company and we want them to be strong partners on our transformation journey.”

 

Will It Go Round In Circles? (Supply Chain Quarterly). As manufacturers re-think the traditional “take, make, use and dispose” model for supply chains, Supply Chain Quarterly reports on best practices for a circular economy. The article includes case studies from Cisco Systems, Kohler and Amcor.