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Top 3 Takeaways from the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium

Author: Suvrat Joshi
Chief Product Officer, FarEye

Today’s leaders face ongoing disruptions and volatility in their supply chains. The recent Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/XpoTM brought together over 2,600 professional supply chain leaders in Orlando, Florida to discuss challenges and solutions in supply chain management.

How do companies navigate in turbulent times and how do they thrive? These two questions formed the basis of many of the presentations. Companies must have the durability to handle multiple disruptions while also sensing and meeting customer needs in a rapidly evolving world.

New trends and insights in last-mile delivery

Speaking with various supply chain leaders at the conference, FarEye learned that last-mile delivery remains a challenge for both retailers and logistics companies. While attendee industries varied greatly, from pharmaceuticals to veterans affairs to e-commerce vendors, all are intensely focused on reducing costs and improving customer experience in the last mile.

In the presentation at the symposium titled, “Last Mile is So Last Year - Here’s How to Reach the Future Retail Consumer,” Tom Enright, vice president and analyst for Gartner spoke about expanding the definition of the last mile. He said retailers need to amend their definition of last mile.

Traditionally, retailers would drop off a package and it would be considered delivery. With more delivery options than ever before, Enright says, “locker pickup, alternative delivery locations and buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) models appearing, the collection part of the equation is becoming increasingly important. A failure here is a failure everywhere in the process.”

FarEye spoke to many managers who want to get ahead of any potential exceptions to provide a seamless delivery experience, regardless of the product’s final destination. Incorporating real-time visibility provides information to managers and information is power.

In another presentation, Gartner analysts discussed macro trends they have seen emerge in companies with superior supply chains that contribute to their success. One trend is harnessing the power of real-time inputs into real-time execution capabilities. Mobilizing actionable insights is the new standard in managing supply chains and providing an outstanding last-mile delivery experience to consumers.

Risk management: a hot topic for supply chain leaders

Increased focus supply chain professionals are bringing to managing risk in their supply chains was another prevalent trend. In order to reduce vulnerability and ensure continuity in their supply chains, companies are taking steps to identify, assess and limit risks to stay ahead of disruptions.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can deliver real-time insights and visibility for companies struggling to identify and manage risk. Kushal Nahata, CEO and co-founder of FarEye says that AI can “unearth insights and patterns in the supply chain to find correlations that escape the purview of the human mind. AI is great at telling you where to look and why, and it's now often being used for low-level decision making when analyzing patterns to balance supply with demand.”

Technology will help IT professionals become more adept at managing risk and reducing vulnerability in their supply chains. Gartner believes they should also have self-stabilizing supply chains, which means having supply chains that are able to stabilize quickly after external disruptions. Successful organizations help manage risk by creating self-stabilizing supply chains that can adjust and flex to changes in a disrupted world.

Is sustainability something supply chain leaders worry about?

A last takeaway from the symposium is that while sustainability is in the minds of executives, it wasn’t a heavy focus of the supply chain professionals we met. These professionals are deep in the trenches trying to mitigate risk and keep their products flowing, while gaining real-time visibility and orchestrating their last-mile deliveries. While sustainability is a focus in the boardroom, it isn’t necessarily top of mind for supply chain officers right now.

Final thoughts

Supply chain professionals know their roles now generate lots of interest in boardrooms as today’s supply chains are critically important to a company’s success. Limited supply chain transparency and siloed data can disable an organization’s ability to mitigate risk and exposure. Today’s supply chain leaders are prioritizing real-time visibility and ways to manage their vulnerability in a disrupted world.

FarEye is a real-time logistics platform that helps companies orchestrate, optimize and provide a superior last-mile delivery. Click here to book a call to learn more. FarEye - the first choice for last mile.

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