March 21, 2024

Embracing Technology Innovation: A 2024 Supply Chain Planning Trend

In our series discussing the key supply chain planning trends of 2024, we’ve shared a lot about the certainty and frequency of disruptions and how these disruptions will force manufacturers to adopt new ways of planning.  

And with new ways of planning come new ways of thinking about technology ecosystems. Unfortunately, legacy systems are not equipped to handle the level of complexity that today’s climate demands. As Cheryl Capps, Former Chief Supply Chain Officer at Corning and Executive Advisor, shared, “The current supply chain systems are based on very linear scenarios, but today’s supply chains are not very linear at all. Most teams are still thinking in 2D, and a big reason for that is the technology. The old ‘stuff’ doesn’t plug into the new, like AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Machine Learning.”  

Adopting a new breed of supply chain planning solutions is the way forward – the manufacturers that cling to the status quo will unfortunately be left behind.  

In this post, we’ll cover common barriers to change, as well as key benefits of autonomous, cloud-based supply chain planning solutions.  

Common Barriers to Change

At the recent World Economic Forum, enhancing supply chain efficiency was a major discussion topic of discussion. A blog post covering the event elaborated, “the acceleration in the adoption of intelligent, digital technologies is growing across industries… to create more reliant, agile and sustainable business.”

Achieving this level of sophistication won’t happen overnight, however. Manufacturers – and more specifically supply chain organizations – have made significant investments in their existing tech stacks.  

Erik Olson, Global Industrial Manufacturing Lead at Korn Ferry, shared, “there’s a bit of a ‘tech debt overhang.’ Organizations have spent decades investing in legacy supply chain planning solutions, adjusting here and there. Teams thought they had the right technology, integrations and plans, but that’s not turning out to be the case.”

As a result, “companies have a lot of hard decisions to make as they identify ways to be more proactive,” shared Bruce Richardson, Chief Enterprise Strategist at Salesforce.  

While organizations face hard decisions as they seek to modernize their supply chains, there should not be a fear of change. While change can feel overwhelming, Josue Munoz, Former Vice President Global Supply Chain at Colgate-Palmolive, and Executive Advisor, encouraged that “this is an exciting time, not scary!”  

He continued, “new technology is the biggest area of opportunity and will allow organizations to be more exception driven, more predictive and more prescriptive. The next generation of supply chain planning systems must be a planner’s partner. The ‘engine under the hood’ must be prepared to manage the complexity of today, and the cloud provides this.”

Benefits of Modern, Cloud-based Supply Chain Planning Solutions

The advantages of an autonomous supply chain planning solution are endless. Whether its scalability, flexibility, or something else entirely, modern solutions deliver results – quickly.  

Below, we highlight three key benefits that stood out in our recent conversations with industry thought leaders.  

  1. Integrations. One key capability of technology to meet the demands of today’s supply chain is integrations with suppliers. Michael Ciatto, Senior Vice President and Global Leader, Supply Chain Service Line at Genpact, said “the supply chain needs to be connected, cognitive and conversive – ushering in a new era of collaboration and integration. Transactional relationships with suppliers are no longer sufficient; instead, a holistic, integrated approach is imperative. Supply chain planning solutions need to transition from tools of efficiency to tools of enablement.”  
  2. Implementation. Speed of implementation is also a clear advantage of modern supply chain planning solutions. Mike Landry, CEO of ketteQ shared, “Implementation speed stands out as a significant advantage. In contrast to legacy systems that demand extensive consulting efforts and implementations that take years, these innovative systems can be deployed within months, swiftly revealing untapped value within supply chains. This rapid implementation and delivery velocity are poised to redefine the standard, establishing a new norm in the industry.”
  3. The Cloud. The only way to achieve the level of sophistication today’s supply chain requires is with cloud-based, AI-driven solutions. The cloud offers unparalleled scalability and flexibility, empowering businesses to adapt quickly to evolving needs. It also provides a strong foundation for growth and change, with seamless updates and upgrades. AI also helps to automate routine tasks, optimize workflows and most importantly, frees up supply chain professionals’ valuable time, allowing them to focus on proactive, strategic initiatives opposed to being stuck in a reactive mode.  

So, what happens if an organization chooses not to change?  

The consequences of clinging to outdated systems, processes and mindsets range from diminished operational efficiency to increased vulnerability in the face of disruptions. Remaining stagnant not only hampers agility, but also poses risk. Supply chain organizations need to shed legacy approaches and embrace the innovation that the new breed of supply chain planning systems offer – the evolving complexities of today’s global supply chain demand it.  

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Mark Balte
Vice President of Services
About the author

Mark has over 38 years of Supply Chain experience leading visionary technology innovations that drive transformative process changes which result in significant financial and quantitative results for clients. He is renowned for his unique ability to formulate a visionary strategic road map which applies technology to solve complex supply chain challenges.

Prior to joining ketteQ, Mark held key executive leadership positions at Logility including overall responsibility for Research and Development, Product Management, Analyst Relations, Thought Leadership, Acquisitions.

Mark received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Sewanee (University of the South) and his Master of Science in Operations Research from Georgia Tech.