The Supply Chain Trends Of The Future: You Need To Know That

The secret of successful supply chain management is to bring the right product to the right market in the right amount at the right time. But in the age of increasing dynamism in the corporate world, companies are confronted with numerous changing challenges.

KPMG, one of the world’s leading auditing and consulting firms, has analyzed the megatrends in supply chain management. We have summarized the most important things for you so that your supply chain management is also successfully set up for the future.

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The Top 6 Trends In Supply Chain Management

The New World Order Of Trade

The trend: The economic focus of our world is changing. It used to be between Western Europe and North America, but today there is a clear shift towards the east. Accordingly, both imports and exports to and from Asia have risen sharply in the last 20 years. 

Tip: Adapt the organizational structures of your company better and, above all, faster to the new market conditions. Do not trust that your know-how will secure your market leadership in the long term. Instead, it would help if you relied on a global network and, in this context, ensure an intensive and transparent exchange of goods, services, financial resources, and information.

Networked Value Creation

The trend: global structures with increasingly open networks of employees, customers, partners, but also competitors are creating entirely new business models and products. 

Tip: Try to reinvent your company over and over again. Strategic cooperation’s and partnerships enable you to keep pace or even to advance in fluctuating markets. In this context, discover the advantages of social media: Web-based platforms offer you various options to collect ideas together with customers and suppliers, test them, and integrate them into your processes. This increases the efficiency of your development processes and reduces product flops. It would help if you also considered letting competitors become partners: These so-called “coopetition” approaches offer you the opportunity to develop new markets together to later divide them up in competition.

New Strategies

The trend: In the age of changing global trading rules with many unknowns, high dynamics, and few certainties, it is becoming increasingly difficult to plan strategically. Classic, planning-oriented strategies quickly reach their limits here.


  1. Don’t develop and implement your strategy as a detailed plan that clearly shows a line of development.
  2. Think about it: Instead, it is better to pursue a network strategy where there can and must be options for action.
  3. Define specific goals, but leave it to the responsible managers to determine how the individual plans are achieved.

In this way, you retain the flexibility you need to react to changes at short notice.


Risk Factors

The trend: globalized retail chains bring many unmanageable risks with them. Natural disasters, wars, and the increasing legal complexity of transnational business processes (such as data protection, product liability, etc.) confront companies with increasingly demanding requirements. Weighing up the most diverse dangers and the associated costs for maximum security will be one of the most critical decisions in the company in the coming years. 

Tip: Create continuously learning risk management systems that are centrally controlled but still allow rapid reaction patterns. Do not just change the course strategically, but generally rethink: Accept that uncertainty and vulnerability are a normal part of all trading processes. We have for you here again together what to look for in supply chain risk management particularly.


Future Technologies

The trend: Even if the dream of the flying car is still being dreamed of: machine-to-machine technologies, 3D printing, and online services are already firmly established in the markets. Technologies like these will increase significantly in the next few years, permanently change consumer behavior and create new business models.

Tip: Don’t expect the revolutionary promises made in science fiction novels. Instead, sensitize your technology radar in supply chain management, even when it comes to not so spectacular innovations. Implement “Innovation Scouts” in the right places and ensure a healthy exchange throughout the company network. In this way, you can recognize innovation potential at an early stage and assess it correctly.


Future Scenarios

The trend: classic, strategic planning has so far left no room for games and experiments. Instead, it has so far been about aligning planning linearly and executing it strictly. But this way of thinking has not helped many companies in recent years. In the future, “scenario planning” will play a more significant role in companies, in which decision-makers can systematically run through various cases using “future simulation.” The future is viewed multi-dimensionally and divided into occurrences such as “likely,” “surprising,” “possible,” or “desirable.” 

Tip: Do future research or gain access to important related information—possible approach perspectives in a playful way. Try out new instruments and experiment with your points of view and methods. Studies show that this systematic form of future planning achieves a significantly higher total shareholder return than the approach characterized by classic forecasts.



Globalization can hardly be seen anywhere as clearly as in the worldwide networking of companies. Framework conditions are changing rapidly and require even more flexibility from many companies. To survive successfully on the world market despite these demanding conditions, it is essential to view supply chains as global value creation networks and use their opportunities.

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