For supply chain leaders, the future has arrived – a digitalized landscape that is redefining the role of supply chain in organizations around the world. With a forward-looking focus on emerging business opportunities, new strategic models and the latest supply chain technology, Gartner’s research-driven 2015 agenda is structured to address every supply chain management priority, role and maturity level – offering objective advice and actionable steps for next-generation supply chain strategy, planning, segmentation, performance management, analytics and more. 

This year’s conference theme, “The Art of Supply Chain: Creative Solutions for the Next Generation,” will explore the new meaning of supply chain excellence in the digital age – empowering leaders to push past traditional boundaries, drive innovation, and uncover new sources of value for the enterprise. Supply chain leaders must merge the “science” of supply chain technologies with the “art” of processes, talent and metrics.

In today’s fast-paced world of business, owners and managers are looking for ways to streamline the supply chain process, reduce costs and increase efficiency. When looking to implement the most effective supply chain, many would note that technology plays a pivotal role. 

Thanks to advanced breakthroughs in high-tech labor management systems, wireless devices, apps and cloud technology, great strides have been made to enhance supply chain performance. It is important to note two key factors that come into play to create a smooth, agile and aligned supply chain. 

One such example comes from the One such example comes from the supply chain solutions company, Savage, which has acquired third-party logistics company Trans Dynamics, an established provider of over-dimensional, intermodal, LTL and specialized logistics services. 

Another example comes from Descartes Systems Group, which acquired Airclic Inc., a leading U.S.-based provider of mobile solutions that help companies reduce the cost of delivering goods by automating traditional paper-based processes.

Manthan released a free guide for retailers and their suppliers titled “Three Steps to Next Generation Supplier Collaboration in Retail.” This guide lays out a step-by-step approach for a retailer to activate shopper demand and deliver a better shopper experience by improving inventory availability, product assortment, pricing and promotions; while driving down operational and logistical costs.

Need for Change

According to Manthan, Nikki Baird, an analyst at Retail Systems Research, emphasized the need for collaboration in a recent blog post - “It’s Finally Time to Get Serious About Supply Chain Collaboration (Again).” Competitive pressures, such as Amazon’s strength in fulfillment and Wal-Mart’s same day delivery capabilities, combined with elevated shopper expectations, are forcing retailers to take a closer look at supplier networks and capabilities to optimize the shopper experience.

According to a recent study from the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Chain Institute, the relocation of manufacturing and product sourcing to emerging economies is no longer the gold standard for global businesses. The Global Supply Chain Institute is part of UT’s Haslam College of Business.

False Promises

The rush to Asia in the last decade promised major cost reduction, but financial gains for many have been short-lived. The study delves into the downsides of outsourcing by putting the complexity and risk of the global environment into context. Evidence from the research, compiled in “Global Supply Chains,” the fourth installment in the “Game-Changing Trends in Supply Chain” series from UT’s supply chain faculty, suggests a more localized supply chain for many products may soon make a comeback.

Late last year, Gartner released its sixth annual Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 ranking. The 2014 ranking identifies organizations across the value chain that are focused on reducing supply chain inefficiencies, while improving the quality of healthcare. Healthcare supply chain leaders continue to optimize their capabilities, while preparing for changes that population health models will drive through the supply chain. 

“The Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 for 2014 reflects the metaphorical middle part of a marathon journey to build patient-driven supply networks,” said Eric O’Daffer, research vice president at Gartner. 

The difficult part is finding a reliable logistics and supply chain partner. Food and beverage companies need partners with industry-specific expertise that can devise customized solutions. Taking a look at what others have done can help food and beverage producers find the right partners for their needs. 

One such example comes from Avery Brewing. Founded in Boulder, Colo., in 1993, Avery Brewing is a relatively small craft beer company known as the brewers of Avery IPA, White Rascal Belgian-Style White Ale, The Maharaja Imperial IPA, Mephistopheles’ Stout and more than 20 other year-round and seasonal beers. Avery Brewing will move into a new $27 million, 96,000-square-foot brewery in early 2015. 

As a specialized, global expert services firm, Navigant focuses on assisting clients in creating and protecting value in the face of critical business risks and opportunities. Its services extend from expert and advisory work through implementation and outsourcing. 

The Navigant team’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of these industry sectors. The report examines the significant forces shaping the global wind power industry’s supply chain, including analyses of more than 500 component and materials suppliers. Innovation and lean manufacturing are resulting in a highly competitive wind industry, the report concludes.

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