Business Network & Supply Chain Trend Predictions for 2024

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Embracing conversational AI across tomorrow’s supply chains

Companies have been embarking on a journey of digitizing their supply chains for many years. In fact, that journey started in the 1960s as large companies around the world started to embrace EDI communication and document standards. It is surprising today how many companies have not completely digitized their supply chain operations, and as a result, they are not able to realize the significant benefits and ROI that digitizing the supply chain can bring.

In 2024, we will see more companies looking to obtain greater value and insights from the data being exchanged across their business ecosystem. As a technology, ‘Big Data’ has been around since 2010, but in 2024, we will see explosive growth in the use of Generative AI solutions and especially Conversational AI solutions in the supply chain sector.

The ability to have a ‘conversation with a business network’ that is connected to all your business systems and your external trading partner community will be of tremendous value to companies of all sizes, offering accelerating supplier onboarding to optimizing logistics flows, from improving inventory management to accelerating payments between parties. Conversational AI is set to change how users interact with their business networks.

How intelligent command centers provide supply chain leaders with actionable insights

As global supply chains strive to mitigate the risk and impact of disruptive events; visibility is key to making timely and accurate decisions. However, simply having access to relevant information is not enough, but users will need to identify the right information to focus on at any given time based on their role and responsibilities. Supplier risk indicators, performance benchmarks, extreme weather phenomena, labor disputes, and many other pieces of information are all potentially relevant to supply chains operations, but only meaningful if you can identify how they will impact your business and what steps can be taken to mitigate these impacts. To move from simply having information to leveraging it to drive meaningful action, organizations will need enabling technology.

In 2024, we are likely to see the traditional supply chain control towers increasingly being replaced or complemented by intelligent command center capabilities that go beyond KPI tracking by allowing users to access more insights and get guidance on where they need to focus. This will require bringing together various technical capabilities from role-based access and diverse data integration to specialized user interfaces and AI-assisted analytics features. As with most complex IT solutions, one size will not fit all, and flexibility and adaptability will be crucial for success.

Digital Product Passports will simplify the journey towards the Circular Economy

Digitizing a product is not a novel concept as the digital twin has gained traction in product design, testing and usage. But adding in the identity-centric models, such as a digital passport adds new use cases and also some new challenges.

2024 will see a renewed interest in digital twins leveraging the digital passport to drive sustainability projects, especially those mandated by government regulations. The Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation in the European Unionis a good example of these regulations. The proposal for a new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), is the cornerstone of the Commission’s approach to more environmentally sustainable and circular products. One of the key challenges is governing who should have access to the digital passport data, such as location or the personal data of the user of the product. This could be especially problematic in highly regulated industries such as healthcare where patient data must be protected but still be utilized by the authorized groups.

The digital passport needs a strong governance and authentication system for its true value to be realized. If implemented with a strong security posture it can be a key part of a product’s digital transformation that gives insight into the initial use and throughout the product’s lifecycle. Digital passports will give manufacturers of any size, valuable data that can be used to improve product design as well as enhance the customer experience.