Supply chains are the critical components of any business. The supply chain landscape continues to evolve because of the ongoing developments in supply chain management, allowing suppliers to operate more effectively and efficiently.
In today’s world, with changing consumer demands and supply chain disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses ensure that all supply chain components run as smoothly as possible, to provide on-time delivery of products and services. Not only that, they work round-the-clock to make improvements, in anticipation of future events and the world of commerce in general.
Fulfilling the customer’s needs has never been so challenging. However, the supply chain management in b2b marketing has managed to face the complexity and ensured the continuity of the business. Businesses can grab opportunities, drive innovation, and manage disruptions effectively so that they can bring vast business outcomes.
How does this work, and where are eCommerce supply chain models placing their bets? How can technological advancement enable B2B operational excellence in pleasant times and flexibility in difficulty?
To assist you in answering these questions, we have identified six future trends in supply chain management that the established enterprises are adopting to alternate how their supply chain works.
B2B Supply Chain Management Trends You Must Know
Let us look at some of the supply chain management trends that will help B2B businesses optimize their operations and work to deliver better outcomes:
1. Green Logistics
Since consumers are growing their efforts to be more environmentally responsible, the supply chain has been forced to become less damaging to the environment. The major contribution to greenhouse gas emissions in the US is transportation and electricity. Hence, green logistics is gaining popularity among B2B companies today.
For example, eco-friendly warehouses attribute advanced energy management systems to evaluate the employment of heat, electricity, water, and gas over other facilities. These systems promote optimum utilization of the resources. The supply chain management has also started using electric and solar machines, thereby minimizing the overall carbon footprint of supply chains.
Likewise, climate-oriented smart supply chain planning is projected to play an even more crucial role in the times to come. The environmental changes create an adverse effect on the availability of resources and materials, fabricating disturbances in the supply chain.
The businesses that adopt environmental sustainability are more likely to gain in terms of customer loyalty and profitability. As consumers are going green, the companies are also expected to implement green logistics in the future.
2. Blockchain Technology To Handle Information
The visibility of the supply chain is one of the fundamental problems the companies face today. So, it is not astonishing to witness the eCommerce supply chain models to integrate blockchain technology.
The integration of blockchain technology into businesses can help create lucidity in their entire supply chain. This, in turn, reduces disruptions and enhances customer service. With the help of blockchain technology, you can streamline all the components of the supply chain management into an individual platform.
The same platform can further be used by logistic providers, shipping lines, carriers, and forwarders to keep the customers and companies updated about the product journey. Businesses can even make payments through the same system. This blend of blockchain technology simplifies the entire supply chain process and assists the managers in determining the problems before they arise.
Moreover, blockchain technology offers substantial information security as the decentralized methods of the technology prohibit the editing of the data. Every person in the business should agree to the modification or update before it is implemented.
3. Substantial Adoption Of Internet Of Things (IoT)
Several other companies are integrating IoT devices into their business to improvise the visibility of the supply chain. For example, the installation of sensors in trucks, airplanes, and other modes of transport can help in keeping a track of shipping and delivery. Integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) in warehouses and retail stores can also lead to visibility enhancement in inventory management, production, and predictive maintenance.
The B2B businesses can implement this technology that provides real-time data to cater to the demands of the customers proactively, reduce server downtimes, and enhance the overall efficiency of the supply chain. The IoT devices are also helpful in optimizing the assets and ROI of businesses.
Numerous businesses integrate IoT technology with fundamental business applications like business intelligence software. This blend will allow the companies to use the gathered information to make data-driven decisions to strategize the supply chain.
4. Automation Through Artificial Intelligence (AI)
One of the massive future trends in supply chain management is artificial intelligence. The B2B businesses use this trend to automate the procedures with the help of algorithms keeping the data of the previous processes in mind. Automation is the best way to streamline supply chain management and minimize human errors.
Artificial intelligence can help companies to identify the patterns in the supply chain and make an estimate of the buying demands and inventory management. It eliminates the guesswork in the process of planning and procurement.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are other great ways of making the supply chain efficient. The AR devices, for example, have helped workers multitask more productively. Businesses can also use these devices to improve the efforts of product development.
5. Hike In eCommerce Integration
eCommerce sales have flourished during the times of the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, the emerging B2B businesses require third-party systems to streamline the huge data present in different sources into a unified version.
In simple words, the concept of eCommerce integration has become prominent. It generates dual connectivity between the company’s eCommerce platform and the backend accounting and inventory systems (ERP). It has proved to be of great use to the manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. This way, they can enter the data into a single system.
The eCommerce integration uses the benefits of application programming interfaces (APIs) to bind the platform and data. It has also authorized businesses to deliver data and place orders through progressive web apps and native apps.
An in-demand face of eCommerce is online marketplaces. Online marketplaces are gaining a lot of popularity in the B2B space. The reason lies in the convenience of both buyers and sellers. Covid-19 has also been a major push factor to catapult the popularity of marketplaces. Online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, etc. have their own brand identity that attracts buyers.
These marketplaces offer a set of benefits to the sellers to make the business a matter of convenience. Marketplaces give you selling opportunities beyond geographical boundaries, higher traffic, low cost, translation security, and convenience.
6. Omnichannel Is The New Normal
You might have heard about omnichannel through analysts and organizations alike. But, omnichannel sales and operations are another supply management trend of the time. Providing all the facilities to the consumers, from letting them buy online to getting direct delivery, has been a driving force in the market.
The retail giants are leading the market by shifting their traditional businesses to the online world. Along with them, several vendors are utilizing marketplace integrations to their existing traditional retail partnerships. This omnichannel trend is expected to continue growing in the future, where suppliers and retailers will try to take a chunk of the omnichannel pie.
The BOPIS option, same-day delivery, curbside delivery, and visibility into fulfillment options are the key aspects of omnichannel integration. Therefore, this trend has been adopted by several businesses, and it has become a new normal in recent times.
The supply chain management in b2b marketing is relatively challenging, and it is not straightforward as it used to be before. But, these technological trends offer substantial advantages to business owners. Through this technological advancement, companies can optimize and streamline their supply chain processes.
If you keep a track of these trends, you can ensure that the supply chain disruptions have little or no effect on your business. You are never too late to start planning about supply chain management with the integration of these trends. Furthermore, it ensures the flexibility of the supply chain to handle the adverse effects of workforce shortages, global trade issues, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other unexpected issues.