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The supply chain goes digital

Material Handling Institute, Gartner predict greater adoption of AI, blockchain and other technologies to improve performance
Monday, June 3, 2019 - 07:00
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The Material Handling Institute (MHI) and Deloitte have released their annual report on supply chain trends, this year focusing on how technology is making an impact on logistics operations. The report, “Elevating Supply Chain Digital Consciousness,” found that 80 percent of respondents think digital supply chains will be the predominant model over the next several years, and that technology spending will increase by as much as 95 percent in 2019.

According to MHI, 57 percent of respondents are planning new technology investments that could total more than $1 million in the next two years (a 10 percent increase compared to last year), while more than a third plan to spend more than $5 million on technology, and nearly a quarter have plans to invest more than $10 million in supply chain technology.

“The pace of supply chain innovation over the six years of our survey is truly astounding, creating real and measurable competitive advantage for early adopters,” says George Prest, CEO of MHI. “With supply chain complexity showing no signs of slowing, the risks of inaction is only growing. Leading manufacturing and supply chain executives agree that technology is the key to future success.”

The report identifies 11 technologies that are poised to help transform the digital supply chain, including blockchain, robotics, predictive analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles/drones, wearable/mobile computing, inventory optimization, sensors/automatic identification, cloud computing, and 3D printing.

According to the report, the technologies that respondents believe will be the source of disruption or competitive advantage are:

  • Robotics/automation (64 percent)
  • Predictive analytics (59 percent)
  • Artificial intelligence (55 percent)
  • IoT (52 percent)
  • Autonomous vehicles/drones (51 percent)

However, the technology with the highest current adoption rate is cloud computing/storage (56 percent), and adoption of that technology is expect grow 91 percent in the next five years.

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