The global spread of digitization has opened up numerous markets to companies that were previously relegated to domestic operations. In addition to being able to sell wares and services to mature markets such as Japan and Germany, businesses can now take advantage of emerging markets like India and China and the billions of potential consumers. Market research firm Gartner recently identified these regions as a key area of economic growth over the next century, Logistics Management reported.
"Businesses are positioning to take advantage of the most explosive growth opportunity since the Industrial Revolution," Gartner vice president Mike Burkett stated, according to the source. "That growth won't come from existing developed markets but from expanding into less-developed emerging markets."
Burkett noted that entering into these far-flung markets will present numerous challenges, however, particularly in regard to maintaining a reliable supply chain network. However, for businesses that plan accordingly and employ robust supply chain management solutions, the financial rewards can be substantial. Data collection software can be utilized to identify performance bottlenecks and other network inefficiencies, allowing administrators to resolve any issues, streamline operations and improve output. In addition, inventory management systems can analyze the market demand for certain products and wares, and increase or reduce warehouse supply counts to meet those needs.
"The ability to plan demand better is a tremendous advantage, as accurate demand plans help supply chain leaders align end-to-end supply chains correctly, and forecast predictable outcomes and profitable responses to demand," Burkett said.
Addressing Supply Chain Resiliency Concerns
The increased supply chain complexity that will inevitably arise from expansion into new markets has made some CEOs hesitant to take advantage of these promising trends. According to Gartner, 51 percent of surveyed executives stated that the complexity of a globalized supply chain made it less resilient to latency issues, as operational disruptions could have far-reaching impacts. After expanding operations globally, business leaders do need to be more cognizant of disruptive events that could delay shipments. Stephanie Miles, vice president of commercial services at trade management software provider Amber Road, argued in a recent Supply Chain Digest post that one of the key factors of preventing these incidents from grinding operations to a halt is enterprise visibility.
"Using visibility technology during disruptions allows you to manage critical supply chain issues and expedite resolution through automated notifications, increase visibility of inventory in-transit for internal and external customers who may be aware and concerned about the issue; and make accurate decisions relating to diverting inventory or resolving bottlenecks," she stated.
A sophisticated supply chain management system will help administrators identify latency issues early on, giving them time to seek out other suppliers and make necessary adjustments to optimize operations under difficult conditions.