CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
December 19, 2018
Forward Thinking

Three supply chain software trends to watch

Look out for more consolidations, analytics, and automation in 2018, says the analyst group Nucleus Research.

Many of the trends that gripped the supply chain software market in 2017 will continue to deepen in the coming year, says Nucleus Research. In a recent report, "The State of the SCM Market: 2018," the Boston, Massachusetts-based analyst group issued the following three predictions for 2018:

1) More consolidation. Last year was marked by a number of mergers and acquisitions in the supply chain software space. Nucleus expects this trend to continue in the coming year, as vendors look for ways to grow and keep pace with new technology developments. In part, this trend is being driven by the fact that many cloud-based vendors have open application programming interface (API) architecture that makes integrations easier and less costly, says Nucleus.

2) More analytics. Nucleus Research anticipates that more and more end users will select supply chain software based on the strength of its analytics. For supply chain applications, analytics are no longer a "nice-to-have," they are a "must-have," says report author Seth Lippincott. According to Nucleus, the right analytics can help create a more accurate demand forecast, which in turn leads to more accurate inventory levels and greater cost savings. 3) More automation. Supply chain software will grow increasingly more sophisticated this year and will be able to perform more processes without human intervention, according to the report. Instead of just sending out an alert when an issue or exception arises, more supply chain solutions can now review possible actions to take and select the best one based on past historical outcomes. For example, supply chain software will be able to analyze point-of-sale data, identify stock-keeping units that are in danger of running out, and then issue an order to the trading partner with the most available supply.

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