A lot of where Supply Chain Management is by 2020 depends on things like the Cloud. Right now we are in the early days of cloud computing, with many companies taking their baby steps. But by 2020 Cloud will be the heart of the enterprise computing infrastructure. We have already told the story (Vision 20-20) of what will happen in Procurement by 2020. Collaboration will become more important as supply chains share data with customers and vendors. They will start acting like the virtual extended enterprise which they are.
When it comes to supply chain management execution, we have all sorts of great tools (ERP, EDI, SCM). They are mostly designed for traditional manufacturers who own their factories. But we may be ignoring a new reality: the “virtual manufacturer”, one who outsources production. For them, the “tool of choice” is sometimes an Excel spreadsheet.
Managing to meet customer expectations is not like what ERP vendor’s glossy brochure say. In reality, it is not only spreadsheets, but is phone, FAX, email and lots of sweat. Some of these folks who shepherd global supply chain operate with complex “jury rigged” routines.