Hyperautomation 2.0, next generation robots, autonomous things, digital supply chain twin, analytics everywhere, security networks, ecosystem collaboration and sustainability tools. These are the key technology themes for the logistics chain in 2022, according to Gartner. Market analysts have selected these technology themes for their potential to deliver automation, intelligence, and robustness across the supply chain within the organization.
In a December 2021 Gartner survey of 211 supply chain professionals, 34 percent of respondents said adapting to new technology is the most important strategic change supply chain organizations will face in five years. According to Dwight Klappich, Vice President of Supply Chain Analyst at Gartner, supply chain executives need to take a multidisciplinary approach to identifying innovative technologies and orchestrating the right technology investments in the right place, at the right time.
Challenges and opportunities
Gartner analysts discussed the challenges and opportunities of adapting supply chain technology at the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium / Xpo, held in Orlando through June 8. The key supply chain technology themes of 2022 identified by analysts are:
Hyperautomation is a business-driven approach that organizations use to quickly identify, examine, and automate as many business and IT processes as possible through the orchestrated use of multiple technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Hyperautomation 2.0 bypasses this initial focus on AI and ML and integrates other technologies and tools from the technology portfolio.
Over the next five years, hyperautomation 2.0 will be part of initiatives in areas such as warehousing, transport and manufacturing. The solutions include intelligent remote fulfillment networks in warehouse or farm management domains and personalized e-commerce applications.
Next generation of robots
Next-generation enterprise-oriented robots are rapidly evolving from the science fiction realm to real-world production platforms transforming a wide range of industries. These robots are more flexible and adaptive and can now be used for different tasks. In the future, companies will have heterogeneous fleets of robots, where the work will be orchestrated across different robots. This means that robots must communicate with each other and interact with other types of automated equipment such as elevators and doors.
Autonomous things, such as robots, vehicles, or drones, can enhance traditional manual-intensive physical tasks with greater efficiency, clarity, and safety. By working independently or in networks, they also enhance a new generation of immersive work and customer experiences through improved service efficiency and transparency. Autonomous things support safer, more efficient and optimized processes and operations in supply chains.
Digital Supply Chain Twin
The digital supply chain twin (DSCT) is a digital representation of the physical – often multi-enterprise – supply chain. It is the basis of local and end-to-end (E2E) decision making that ensures that all decisions are aligned horizontally and vertically across the supply chain. The connection to the real world greatly improves situational awareness and enables decisions to be made faster and more accurately.
Analytics are features that provide reporting, interactive data visualization, advanced analytics and intelligence – including ML – and predictive and prescriptive analytics. With the ever-increasing availability of data, AI can now be used to transform data into information and deeper insights as part of a DSCT.
Security mesh is a structured framework for managing, collaborating and applying technology applications orchestrated from within supply chains with the aim of ensuring that supply chain systems, tools, applications and people are secure at all times.
“Security in supply chains is only as strong as its weakest link,” Klappich explains. “Security networks embrace the reality of dynamic, interconnected and increasingly digitized supply chains by addressing an evolving context of cyber, digital and data threats.”
Ecosystem collaboration tools are digital technologies and services that create a collaborative work environment for people and generate new and continuous opportunities for shared value. The pandemic has led supply chain leaders to believe that many supply chains lack basic communication or digital connectivity with key stakeholders such as multi-tiered supply or packet networks, affecting decision making.
Collaborative solutions and services for ecosystems are basic network visualization and mapping tools to support continuous maturity in moving towards real-time digital connections between people, data, machines, systems, processes and things.
Sustainability tools are an evolving spectrum of applications, services and capabilities that support events related to sustainability guidelines, environmental and circular economy impacts and mandates. They improve the level of digitization, collaboration and visibility, which is often crucial in formalizing the processes and management disciplines necessary for the gradual development of sustainability programs.
“Sustainability has implications that span the entire value chain: from plan, to source, to production, to delivery, to the service domain,” Klappich concludes. “Supply chain executives who do not invest in tools that address a wide range of sustainability goals and support statistics risk having a significant impact on brand, corporate image and consumer perception of value. There is also a risk of stranded assets, vulnerability to carbon taxation, unpreparedness for climate-related supply chain disruptions – and corresponding shareholder value. “