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The Future of Supply Chains for the Next Challenges
The Future of Supply Chains for the Next Challenges



03 March 2021

The Future of Supply Chains for the Next Challenges

More than before, we require full traceability and stakeholders that implement transparency solutions, despite of any emergency.

Before Covid-19, globalization in supply chains was considered a golden standard so trade flows were encouraged across borders and main ingredients are bought from different countries in which appropriate skills and raw materials are abundant and cheap so the finalized products can be affordable to buy.


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Unfortunately, COVID-19 was the main catalyst for a big alteration in supply chain structures, due to lockdowns, restrictions on export/import trade flows and diversions, therefore increasing drastically the lack of visibility and flexibility for the whole business process. Whereas manufacturers and supply chains become more localized, it will directly impact companies’ operations, costs and sourcing that require a radical change to be prepared for the next new normal, the post-covid period. 

Future of Supply Chains is Traceability


More than before, the global supply chain market requires full traceability and stakeholders that implement transparency solutions to gain greater efficiencies, better return on investment and adapt quickly to meet new market demands despite of any emergency. A digitized, standardized, and transparent supply chain can mitigate supply chain shocks and provide sustainable and agile solutions for recovery and resilience.

In fact, healthcare, pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries are vital to public health and safety, so they cannot stop or delay fulfilling all the needs anywhere anytime. From one side, they must ensure the safety, quality, and timely delivery of products as top priority. From the other side, the costs associated with these efforts are rising to guarantee the right product in the right dose to the right person at the right time through the right route (5Rs human rights). For such reasons, it is becoming crucial to proactively monitor the supply chain through innovation and technology.



A recent survey had been conducted by Gartner to hundreds of CEOs dealing with global supply chains about the main lessons learned from this pandemic. They all agree that to be prepared for future demands proactively, five main changes are in top priorities besides the companies’ cultural agility in their business model and skills:

  1.  Supply chain digitalization: 23% of supply chain leaders expect to have a digital ecosystem by 2025, up from only 1% today. They anticipate declines in globalization and offshore manufacturing, respectively, over the next five years.
  2. New business models: 79% of supply chain leaders think that an internet-/platform-based approach is the most critical new business model to support post-pandemic recovery. Supply chains empowered with Internet Of Things sensors (the digital supply chain twin), cloud/mobile computing and Track & Trace solutions to monitor in near-real time data end to end from the source to end consumers involving manufacturers, distributors, warehouses, retailers and consumers. Cold chain environment monitoring for sensitive products, predictive analytics to avoid stoppage, tracking to avoid counterfeiting and diversion and tracing back to avoid shortage for raw materials are just common use cases. Strategy: to customize products and services that require more flexible processes to fulfill needs.
  3. E-commerce shift for an omnichannel consumers’ engagement: 69% of supply chain organizations expect a decrease in consumer willingness to visit stores over the next five years. Strategy: to offer personalized, purpose-driven products and services delivered anywhere, at any time and in any supply condition.
  4. Remote and distributed teams: 98% of supply chain leaders believe working from home will increase over the next five years. Strategy: to prepare hybrid environment for work for on-site and remote skills.
  5. Global harmonization and Transparency: based on open standards communication such as GS1 to identify each product through its life cycle, track its location anytime and capture data and share it in real time about its conditions for all players as well as end consumers.



In conclusion, to rebuilt a more efficient, resilient, sustainable and responsive supply chains post-covid, CSCOs (Chief Supply Chains Officers) must focus on the above best practices and enhance CX (Customer Experience) with digital supply chain solutions based on technologies to implement a robust, transparent ecosystem capable of:

  • Tracing components/parts and finished goods;
  • Monitoring Real-time supply chain/cold chain environment;
  • Ensuring Compliance management;
  • Providing Predictive analytics.


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