Fall 2014 Edition
Planes, trucks, trains and ships. These are about the only elements in the global supply chain that won't change much in the next twenty years - though they'll be a lot more efficient by the time we get to 2034.
But as for the rest? Be sure that the continuing global demand for faster, cheaper, safer and simpler fulfilment systems - accessible and fully visible, day and night, seven days a week - will mean we'll all have to make huge changes to the way in which we do business.
The supply chain of the future won’t look all that different, but in twenty years time its visibility will be extraordinary, with an entirely new level of near-molecular precision. For example:
- we'll be able to tag every individual item in a shipment - tiny embedded sensors will provide an unprecedented degree of real-time tracking and tracing;
- new technologies will provide ever more accurate monitoring of the exact status of a shipment – location, temperature, humidity etc. - and make any necessary interventions more instantaneous, precise and certain;
- supply chain management will be truly personalised - individuals will be able to take and change delivery decisions via hand-held devices;
- ever more advanced algorithms will compute speed versus cost ratios and generate global options to re-route, accelerate or slow down shipments to take account of changing circumstances;
- a whole range of new options will be built into the supply chain e.g. it will be possible to de-consolidate a shipment to remove a portion - or even a single item - so that it can be sent on its way by itself to meet a sudden urgent delivery need;
- manufacturers will be able to code products to determine their final resting places - even including data to ensure that they will eventually be delivered to approved reclamation centres for their components to be recycled;
- increased flexibility coupled with the imaginative use of logistics data will enable us to continue to optimise the sustainability of our operations; strategies to reduce our carbon footprint and create an ever greener supply chain may indeed encompass the entire life cycle of a product.
That's the future.
And that's why right now we're at the forefront in developing new systems to make sure that this exciting vision becomes a reality. That's why you can already use our SenseAware multi-sensor device for your high-value shipments to give you better, clearer visibility through all stages from pickup right through to final delivery.
But that's just the start. We're continuing to enhance the ways in which we can capture, store and use metadata whilst making every use of every improvement in micro-technology.
So you can be sure that here at FedEx SupplyChain we're building an even more finely tuned, accessible, secure, reliable, and sustainable service - to make sure we'll always be able to meet your future needs.