Two days, three keynotes and 2,800 attendees — the recent Modern Supply Chain Experience conference held in San Jose, Calif., had one primary purpose: to bring together the strongest minds in supply chain to uncover and address the top challenges facing today’s supply chain leaders. From the Internet of Things and predictive analytics to big data, new technologies are touching every part of the business – particularly the supply chain.

But what are the implications for businesses? What exactly is changing in supply chain? Here’s what thought leaders in the industry predicted at the conference:

  • By 2020, over 50 percent of manufacturing supply chain models will benefit from investment in new technologies and 50 percent of manufacturers will be using cognitive computing and artificial intelligence as well as advanced analytics for planning and long term forecasting.
  • Ecommerce will be imperative for business expansion and will help to drive growth in the supply chain. Roughly 90 percent of product businesses will be using B2B and B2C ecommerce in the next 10 years, and 50 percent of manufacturing supply chains will reach the end consumers directly for increased profitability.
  • Businesses will need to prioritize improving business processes and streamlining the supply chain to most effectively reduce costs and improve efficiencies, drive growth, and improve the customer experience for long-term business success. The supply chain is the lifeblood of the business, and those that choose to innovate and invest their time into it will have the opportunity to not only succeed, but rather thrive in our increasingly connected business world.
  • Moving to the cloud will be the natural choice for any business managing or preparing to manage a modern, digital supply chain. The cost advantages of a cloud solution - from decreased investment in software development to lower maintenance costs - are only part of the equation driving businesses to the cloud.
  • Businesses leveraging innovative process changes, tech transformations and cloud applications – or some combination of these – will be the ones to get ahead. Supply chain management will be no exception. The businesses to innovate and capitalize on new technologies will thrive, while those who do not will become obsolete.

Regardless of whether these predictions are 100 percent accurate, one thing is certain - continuing the same supply chain strategy is not the answer. Change is inevitable, especially in an age when technology is constantly advancing and businesses are innovating and iterating day after day. With this in mind, as hard as investing in your supply chain may seem, can your business really afford to stay the same?

For more on what NetSuite can do to transform the supply chain, read this story on how Epec Engineered Technologies transformed into an agile, innovative manufacturer with a remarkable five-day turnaround from product design to customer delivery.