The theme of Trade Winds 2018 is Humans Vs Machines or Humans and Machines! In line with the theme, the National Operations Summit will be based on "Automation, robots and AI: The rise of digital supply chains". The automation changeover is already evident across most industries. The world now includes 1.1 million working robots. About 80% of the work in manufacturing a car is allocated to robots. As robotics and the aforementioned emerging tech become commonplace, supply chain executives will no longer be solely concerned with the traditional ERP upgrade or supplier master data review, but will need to increasingly spend more time figuring out how to handle the brave new world of exponential data. Think of it as the data supply chain itself growing exponentially. Creating this new supply chain reality comes at cost. More robust IoT security, inter-operability, and more universal interfaces to the cloud will be needed. Information needs to be stored in a way so that third parties can process it. Nobody is able to crack the Big Data challenge on their own. Leaders in supply chain, sourcing and procurement should prepare their processes and infrastructure to embrace new technology and their ability to harness more data than ever before. By using technology such as machine learning, AI and IoT to improve supply chain transparency, leaders in the back office are able to drive product excellence, accelerate time to market, and develop new products and services.
The future of business belongs to companies that are able to adapt to the accelerated change in sourcing, production, and distribution that we are witnessing today and those that are able to really take advantage of these new sources of information.