- Kenco's recent State of the 3PL Innovation survey of supply chain leaders found that the three main areas of current innovation investment are supply chain visibility at 83%, robotics and automation at 58% and sensors and IoT at 42%, Kenco reported Wednesday.
- Though drones and self-driving trucks are on supply chain leaders' radar, ultimately they're seeking tried-and-true technology innovation for a more immediate ROI.
- Innovation maturity prompts supply chain leaders' interest: once a technology reaches a proven level of success, it's more likely to be adopted.
Supply chain leaders are looking for a sure thing. While drones and augmented reality are exciting and popular subjects for industry news, both ranked lowest in actual investment plans at 8%.
What this indicates is a basic conservatism within the supply chain, an area of production generally charged with a demand for process improvements and subsequent economic savings. Demonstrable improvements that managers can point to and then expect to positively impact balance sheets are first in line for future investment.
Managers also want new technology to be immediately available and reliable. In general, 3PLs are engaged to research and take on the risk of advanced industry technologies, which allows the supply chain manager to sit back and study value, then make the best decisions for his supply chain to reach maximum efficiency.