According to Mark Woodward, 2013 will be the year of the network for supply chains. The expanse, power, and rapidity of one company's network will be the determining factor in their competitive advantage. As Woodward explains: Harnessing the collective brainpower of a trading network’s supply chain practitioners and leaders provides a formidable competitive advantage and the kind of agility and flexibility needed to handle an increasingly volatile world. This is the derivative factor – the speed at which the trading network can adapt to a new opportunity, business model, or product introduction. Smart people, all working together with timely, accurate data on a platform that coordinates business processes across the global network can make faster, better decisions that provide more profit for them and more satisfaction for their customers. His predictions include:
- Fast data becoming the new Big data
- The “Social supply chain” will transform the way we work
- Supply Chain control towers will transition from concept to adoption
- Dynamic cost will transform decision making
- Risk management will move from static to dynamic
The overarching theme is one of many-to-many growth in fields that were traditionally one to many. Instead of one company attempting to corral vendors and partners into silos to complete the work they need to complete, many companies will work together to determine how to best serve all customers, leading a more effective, collaborative environment. Likewise, this massive flow of data will become equally important in regard to speed of sharing as well as accuracy. This is a new challenge, as networks of competing companies will require the ability to rapidly change course based on new data and the needs of customers.