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Omnichannel models, dark stores, and savvy data analytics expected to drive supply chain trends in 2021

The digitisation of supply chains has today emerged as one of the key priorities to not only achieve operational efficiencies and meet rising demand, but to also future proof business models, according to a new industry report.

The Supply Chain Digitisation: A Shift from Driving Efficiency to Building Resilience report revealed that more than 82 per cent of business leaders in Southeast Asia are now planning to adopt more forms of digitisation in their supply chains.

This is to enable them to better overcome challenges and changing consumer trends presented not only by the COVID-19 pandemic but also other significant events in 2020 including political trade wars between countries globally. Notably, the leaders also acknowledge the impact that digitisation can have on the long-term resilience of their supply chains.

Commissioned by TM Insight, an Asia Pacific consulting company specialising in supply chain optimisation, property advisory and project management services, the report analysed current sentiments of industry experts and over 250 business decision makers in the fast-moving consumer goods, logistics, ecommerce, retail and manufacturing industries, across Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Insights from the report also revealed that eight in 10 of businesses that had not adopted any forms of digitisation in their supply chains prior to COVID-19 are now closely considering options. Among the key reasons cited for this are to help the business cope with the upswing in consumer demand and reduced manpower due to distancing measures, as well as to remain competitive at a time of significant disruption.

James Christopher, President, TM Insight Asia, said the insights confirm the increasing importance of an agile and digitally equipped supply chain to weather unprecedented periods of crises.

“Supply chains in Southeast Asia are critical to the movement of goods globally and the industry landscape has undergone seismic shifts this year, mainly because of COVID-19. While ecommerce was already on the rise pre-pandemic, changing consumer demands and trends, coupled with added pressures of health and safe distancing measures, have pushed supply chains to new limits,” he said.

“As a result, business leaders are now looking at different options to futureproof their supply chains against potential risks for the long-term.”

Referencing additional insights from the report, James added that businesses recognise that going digital can enable a more holistic view of what is happening within supply chains, providing an ability to better anticipate challenges and periods of change, and weather future shocks.

Moving forward, leaders are anticipating not only a general rise in businesses embracing digitisation within their supply chains, but also the increased implementation of omnichannel models and investment in dark stores, as well as the enhanced use of automation, data analytics and telematics.

“In particular, industry leaders have observed that businesses that had invested in an omnichannel model early have come out of the pandemic situation relatively unscathed. These businesses were able to get ahead of big increases in demand, drive more sales and enhance customers’ experiences. Through our own work, we are seeing increased adoption of these models and expect it to accelerate in the near future,” said James.

“Understanding these insights, the team at TM Insight Asia is looking forward to working with businesses across the region to further optimise their supply chains as the world steps into the new normal.”

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