Changing business dynamics and intensifying competition have brought about new challenges for supply chain professionals. Globalization, shortened product lifecycles, stringent regulations and volatile markets have made effective supply chain management a prerequisite for business success and growth. So supply chain professionals are constantly assessing their supply chains to make sure that gaps are filled and inefficiencies corrected promptly.

And these market demands and economic conditions have brought about some interesting and noteworthy trends in supply chain management:

More Emphasis on Visibility: Increasingly supply chain professionals are realizing the need for more visibility in supply chains. So today's supply chain solutions focus on offering analytics data that facilitate decision-making, as opposed to merely providing static visibility. These solutions provide consolidated, real-time analytics and share them with relevant stake-holders, thereby making information more actionable.

Improved Responsiveness: Traditionally supply chains have been driven by forecasts, and supply of inventory has been based on predicted demand. However, this model does not work in the current dynamic market scenario. Manufacturers are now expected to be highly responsive to changing market demands. And this has led to the emergence of tools which enable better visibility, communication, and collaboration, and empower manufacturers by making their supply chains more responsive, flexible and versatile.

Enhanced Collaboration & Communication: Globally distributed operations, outsourced manufacturing, and multiple regulatory standards necessitate better co-ordination and timely communication in supply chains. And these are crucial aspects in supply chain management today. So there is growing emphasis on the need for efficient collaboration and communication, to enable judicious decision-making. Hence supply chain solutions are also increasingly catering to this need.

Low Investment & High ROI with Advanced Software: Unfriendly economic conditions have forced manufacturers and supply chain professionals to cut down on their IT budgets. This has led to the growing use of SaaS-based applications in supply chain management, which offer advanced, and integrated information management capabilities. Unlike traditional applications these solutions are on-demand services which can be deployed easily without having to install complex software or hardware. These do not require high capital investment or expensive maintenance. These are low cost solutions, but guarantee high ROI.

Increased Use of Supply Chain Consulting: Manufacturers have realized that todays supply chains are highly dynamic in nature and therefore require dedicated time, and resources. Hence they are now resorting to supply chain consultant, who offer their expertise to help resolve issues and manage supply chains more efficiently. Their vast experience helps in overcoming challenges and in making supply chains more flexible and responsive.

Globalization of manufacturing has revolutionized economies worldwide. While low-cost regions are being used for manufacturing, they also pose a unique set of challenges which need to be addressed. Global supply chain models are susceptible to increased risks, lack of visibility, reduced control and collaboration. And the above-mentioned trends in supply chain management reveal that manufacturers are trying to overcome the limitations of global supply chain models in order to build seamless supply chains.