Personal Predictions for Supply Chain Management in 2016

I believe that SCM in 2016 will be focused on customers – more than ever before! First, analyzing customer data could become the new core competency. Many companies already got rid of non-core processes. For example, Apple has focused on R&D and marketing but outsourced production to contract manufacturers – a typical smiling curve! Now, companies are increasingly focusing on analyzing customer data and just happen to be making phones or cars. Cars could soon be offered by innovative IT giants from silicon valley who outsource engineering to traditional carmakers. Cars could become “software on wheels”. Second, production will take place closer to consumer markets. While labor costs in China continue to increase (and there is no “new China”!), new technologies make production close to major markets affordable again. For example, Adidas will start production in Germany in 2016 – in its new “Speedfactory”, which is operated largely by robots. This could dramatically speed up delivery to fashion-conscious consumers. Finally, what we will see in 2016 are truly sustainable business models (see my previous blog post). I wish you a good start into 2016!

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Risk Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

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