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Supply chain professionals show increased interest in technology in 2019: survey

Chattanooga, TN — In 2019, the supply chain industry has shown movement in both technology adoption and innovation spending, according to the State of the Supply Chain Innovation Survey.

According to he findings, 46% of respondents stated that they are willing to spend 10-24% more on innovation, up from 24% last year. Supply chain professionals are also looking to partners to help with innovation efforts, as 45% expect to co-invest with 3PLs. Investment rates are up in the following technology categories:

  • 56% of supply chain professionals are currently or planning to invest in sensors/IoT; up from 46% in 2018 and 42% in 2017
  • 34% of respondents are currently or planning to invest in AR/VR; up from 23% in 2018 and 8% in 2017
  • 22% of supply chain leaders are currently or planning to invest in drones; up from 13% in 2018 and 8% in 2017

“Supply chain professionals are evolving from transactional relationships with 3PLs and increasingly are looking for partners that can offer innovation,” said Denis Reilly, President and CEO, Kenco Logistics. “We recognize this market need and recently announced the opening of a 10,000 square foot warehouse test lab in Chattanooga.”

This increase in investment demonstrates that supply chain professionals are starting to think differently about how to solve their problems and moving beyond just process improvements, efficiency gains and productivity efforts. As technologies are increasingly adopted, organizations are seeing enough proof points in the industry to invest themselves, and this investment now means organizations must focus on proper implementation to generate results that justify the spend.

While some technologies have seen these increases in funding, other solutions are less of a priority. When it comes to supply chain visibility, 42% of supply chain leaders say it is not as high a priority as in previous years. This decline interest could in part be due to challenges with data governance, as it has been difficult for businesses to define and implement master data management programs.

Blockchain, which has received a lot of buzz, is a low priority or not a priority for almost half of supply chain leaders. One of the main roadblocks for blockchain has been a lack of collaboration, and companies are not investing until there are more standards, regulation and active participation for larger enterprises. Driverless cars/self-driving vehicles have also failed to make the shortlist for many in the industry, as more than half of respondents say the technology is a low priority or not a priority at all. Safety concerns, questions about creating the right infrastructure and the high level of uncertainty around how governments will regulate driverless cars has led the industry to focus on other projects first.

“The results of this year’s State of Supply Chain Innovation Survey reveal promising trends in adopting cutting-edge solutions that have the potential to transform the logistics industry,” said Kristi Montgomery, Vice President of Innovation at Kenco. “As more and more organizations look to co-invest with 3PLs, we are able to leverage our Innovation Test Lab to trial the solutions that are top of mind for industry leaders and provide our expertise to optimize innovation efforts.”

The survey, now in its third year, is designed to evaluate how supply chain professionals are investing and implementing innovation initiatives and is published by 3PL Kenco Logistics in partnership with Peerless Research Group.

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