I was speaking with a colleague of mine last week about a company that his fund has recently added to their portfolio. The conversation topic was overall trends in supply chain that he could pursue to capitalize on their brand while improving their bottom-line. I thought I’d share a couple of the items that we chatted about:

supply_chain_omni-channel_dataFirst one was “Omni-channel”. He asked if they should look into an omni-channel strategy… I am going to start with saying that merely stating that a company needs to look at omni-channnel doesn’t really say much. Anyways, during our discussion we talked about their current channels and how they might benefit from distributed order management to help manage (and monitor) their cross-channel order management. We ball parked the amount of investment that would be required to pursue this, but looking at the long-term benefits and the ability to manage their distribution network and supply points, from order-entry through invoice settlement, it seemed like a no brainer to at least research, especially given that the results, years down the road, would positively impact his exit strategy!

The second was around “data”. At first, he asked about Big Data, but we adjusted the conversation to data in general. Their company’s supply chain is fairly complex, or so it seems, but is that level of complexity required? He had no idea, as their current systems were antiquated and they really had no data being extracted, analyzed or captured as metrics to understand performance. This was an instant take-away: get some historical data and start to understand what’s happening before trying to change things.

I won’t go through everything we discussed, but one final item related to capturing “remote data”. Everyone has likely heard of RFID and the benefits, shortcomings, etc. but as the “smart wave” continues, sensors and the ability to gather and analyze remote data will take understanding a supply chain to a deeper level.   I can easily see this one being a popular trend in supply chain over the next several years. I can’t lie, I am excited to work with companies on this one!