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Big data and 3D printing ‘will reform 2014 supply chains’

Dec 19
Tags: Crimson & Co
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Big data and 3D printing ‘will reform 2014 supply...

The rise of ‘big data’ and the emergence of 3D printing will be two of the biggest issues that will affect supply chain leaders next year, according to end-to-end supply chain consultancy firm, Crimson & Co.

Issues facing supply chain leaders will become increasingly complex and more challenging in 2014.

The continuing growth of online shopping this year has caused some recovery within the retail sector. Open discussions are now being held to focus on the real price of ‘low-cost’ emerging markets, such as China and India.

Richard Powell, managing director and co-founder of Crimson & Co, said: “When considering the increasing manufacturing costs, quality challenges, shipping and stock coverage issues, how sensible is it really to put all manufacturing eggs in one Far Eastern basket?” 

According to Mr Powell, there was little advancement in supply chain techniques and any developments appear to be around maturing issues rather than new ones. 

He stated that although the term ‘big data’ has become widespread, most supply chains do not understand what they need to do about it.

Mr Powell added: “ Looking forward, there needs to be more thought about the use of data, and supply chain leaders will have to work out how to incorporate it in their plans if they want a competitive operation.”

Supply chain analytics appear to be on the horizon and Crimson & Co note a shift in the balance of power in supply chain thinking. 

Even dedicated manufacturing companies have moved from wholly focusing on factories to a clear view of the end-to-end supply chain. Mr Powell believes that this change in thinking will heavily influence change as companies begin to realise the potential of streamlining processes.

Although 3D printing is not yet a mainstream issue, Mr Powell feels that it cannot be ignored, as any advances in technology will be a driving force across all industries. 

Mr Powell concludes:  “2013 was not a particularly progressive year for supply chains but next year will be, and it will be exciting to see how processes develop with the increased significance around ‘big data’ and 3D printing.”

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