What are the biggest drivers disrupting today’s supply chains?

Here are my top five drivers creating disruption:

  1. New Retail / O2O (online to offline) / Unichannel - Bricks vs. Clicks and Online vs. Offline are dead. Today’s New Retail is about Bricks & Clicks, Online and Offline, and Unichannel. Today’s New Retail is about providing consumers a seamless and integrated journey, regardless of channel.
  2. Retail / Wholesale / B2B, B2C, and O2O are all morphing into commerce.
  3. Customer satisfaction does not result from giving customers what they need, but rather what they think is cool. What does this mean? Give the customer more, same day delivery is really cool for customers living in a big city.
  4. Sorry, labor is not available. Robotics and autonomous vehicles are needed to get the job done. Flexible, adaptive, portable automation is available, Tompkins Robotics.
  5. Inventory visibility, availability, and flow must be optimized.

What will be the biggest change in the next five years, the key technologies that are having a major impact on supply chain? 

Here are my top four key changes:

  1. Today we deal with container, pallet, and case supply chains. Going forward we will deal with these three plus the “EACH” supply chain. Each will be used for Direct-to-Consumer, Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BOPIS), wholesale, and store replenishment.
  2. We will not be focusing on Inventory Stock, but rather on Inventory Flow.
  3. We will realize having the right answer will not be as important as being able to respond quickly when you have the wrong answer.
  4. We will be using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to address many of the key future supply chain challenges.

What types of automation are needed for eCommerce now and how much more automation will be required five years from now to keep pace with the competition? 
A year ago, we began a capital raising campaign that resulted in our presenting MonarchFx to 17 private equity and funding organizations. Out of these firms 16 of the 17 asked us a question similar to the following, “We understand how your technology is better than Amazon’s in 2018, but how are you going to be able to stay in front of Amazon going forward?” They thought they were asking a hard question. Our answer was to explain to them our next solution, our next - next solution, and our next - next - next solution. We are currently up to our seventh solution in our MonarchFx solution. The “keep pace with the competition question” used to be a good question, now we are in a time where the pace of change is so rapid that this question is not as relevant. The new question should be, “Given the rapid rate of change, how do you disrupt the competition at such a pace that you stay in the number one spot?” The answer is to always be looking out at least four or five next solutions ahead.

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Jim Tompkins
Jim Tompkins

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