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Supply chain: 5 trends that will be important in 2021

In 2021, the uncertain future is still the problem for the logistics industry. With this in mind, we have compiled the 5 most important supply chain trends to spark new discussions, overcome critical hurdles and ensure a successful supply chain business in the years to come.

1. Sustainability is crucial for success in 2021

A key point that often comes up when discussing supply chain trends in 2021 is green logistics. In addition to benefiting society as a whole and protecting the environment and natural resources, sustainable models are also becoming cost-effective and improving customer loyalty. For Millennials, the trend is to continue to choose companies that support green initiatives and have environmentally friendly protocols. Trends have shown that the broad customer base is now moving towards a more environmentally conscious business model overall.

2. Greater automation and AI systems will find greater focus across all companies

Automation has become a key trend across many industries over the last decade. The continued success of supply chains using automation and artificial intelligence (AI) points to more than a fad. Automation in the supply chain industry is becoming essential for the ever-changing marketplace. Automation has the potential to make all supply chain operations more efficient, reliable, profitable and successful – one of the key supply chain trends 2021 to watch over the next year.

3. Automated communication and smart contracts speed up workflows

Smart contracts are another key supply chain trend for 2021 that will improve efficiency and value for supply chain managers. Automated contracts and communications are systems that initiate protocols for the next step and send data automatically when certain criteria are met. This can take the form of automated invoice submissions or automated emails along the shipping timeline in the supply chain. This automation in logistics aims to make it easier for managers to keep everyone in the loop and save time by automating essential functions and tasks.

4. Agile supply chains are the growing trend

In 2020, the supply chain industry has learned agility and adaptability. The supply chain network of any shipper or carrier needs enough flexibility to handle unforeseen obstacles, challenges, delays and problems. An agile system makes it easier for managers and suppliers to deal with shortages and disruptions in the market and changing customer demands. Supply chain managers can predict and identify potential problems and solutions early by paying attention to 2021 trends in the supply chain market. And inherently, this means they will need to use analytics and deep learning to unlock new value as well.

5. Customer-centric services will gain value in 2021

End-to-end visibility is the ultimate goal for supply chain managers and partners. Customer-centric service will also become a key focus for suppliers, manufacturers, drivers and team members. This is because the focus enables better service from start to finish. Customer requirements change by season, bringing with them the need for supply chain management to be adaptable and easy to execute. Knowing what the customer needs and ensuring satisfaction from start to finish will be the name of the game in 2021.

World events have impacted global and national shipping and logistics trends, making it more important than ever to prepare for the upcoming supply chain trends for 2021.  Preparing now will ensure industry success in 2021 and beyond.

Daniel Mahnken
Daniel Mahnken is a Senior Corporate Communications Manager at Saloodo!. As a qualified journalist, writing is practically in his blood. After studying sports journalism, he wanted to become Germany’s Next Sports Commentator, but then he discovered logistics and has been stuck with it ever since.

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