As international consumption trends fluctuate and new clusters of nations ascend to the "emerging market" category, some experts are wondering whether the current global supply chain model is becoming outdated. Solutions found in standards adoption and improved data collection are seen by some as ways suppliers and distributors can protect themselves from a shuffling of the global resources.
Global Manufacturing and Distribution Here To Stay
The way in which goods and components are outsourced among manufacturers throughout the world and acquired at an assembly point for distribution is not going to go away. Rather, where and who is doing the component manufacturing, assembly, and distribution is being reconfigured.
According to BusinessDay Live, the dynamics of the global economy have changed, with economic growth in "mature economies" having slowed while the emerging economies were "still growing strongly", meaning businesses had to manage "very different strategies" for their operations in different economies.
As markets become more diffuse, supply chain tracking technology is needed more than ever for players throughout the process to protect companies from experiencing disruptions. For instance, a product component previously manufactured at a factory in Shenzen, China, might suddenly find itself sourced from a company in Bangladesh.
"From a supply chain perspective, it creates a whole new paradigm in terms of the consumer supply chain, and that's affecting both retailers and manufacturers significantly," said Hamish Brewer, a supply chain expert.
Standards Adoption, Data Gathering, Address Supply Chain Inefficiencies
While globalized markets continue to accelerate, the supply chain finds itself increasingly relying on a more horizontal international manufacturing process. One solution identified to increase supplier efficiency is through the adoption of more universal supply chain standards. A report released by Capgemini Group called on industries to introduce simplified programs to help users embrace and deploy standards while enabling the provision of standardized product data.
An analysis of the report provided by Canadian Transportation and Logistics noted that since the first barcode reader in 1974, standards have enabled more efficient flows of goods and information. Furthermore, mobile data collection technologies and automated data collection systems have driven up the demand for real time updates that allow for greater flexibility and informed decision making throughout the global supply chain.
Unfortunately, there are still many companies that lack integrated data collection and analysis tools to better anticipate potential supply chain disruptions. Those utilizing the latest in standards and technology, however, may soon find themselves as leaders among the competition.