10 trends in 2010

I’ve been promoted! Having chaired the well-received congress that we organised, Supply Chain in One Day, twice Iast year, I will be speaking as closing key note speaker at two different events within the space of a week this year, at a partner event by software supplier Manhattan Associates and at the Supply Chain day organised by the Vereniging Nederlandstalige SAP Gebruikers or ‘VNSG’(The Association of Dutch SAP Users) – that certainly feels like a promotion to me.

And what am I going to talk about, then, in my prestigious role as key note speaker? Well, my colourful and frank presentation is entitled ‘Ten trends in 2010 – how to deal with trends and uncertainties in the supply chain’. Why have I chosen ten trends? After all, as any journalist knows, the headline ‘9 trends’ is more likely to grab the audience’s attention, in print and in person.

But I regard each company as comprising ten different departments. As a fresh-faced key note speaker – and as, even though I do say so myself, a thought leader – I will give you a sneak preview here, briefly mentioning each trend per department:

1. Increasing dependence on IT: failed IT implementation can destroy companies.

2. The rise of supply chain finance: companies are starting to finance their key suppliers.

3. Increasingly fickle sales market: pressure is increasing on sales teams, bringing with it the risk of making (too) rash promises.

4. Service to generate an increasing proportion of turnover: after-sales service is poorly organised within many companies.

5. Logistics no longer a differentiating factor: logistics represents a clear competitive advantage in a decreasing number of cases.

6. Carbon emissions on the corporate agenda: growing public pressure on polluting sectors and companies.

7. More bankruptcy cases in the sector: companies who outsource are increasingly dependent on remaining suppliers.

8. Ever-shorter product lifecycles: pressure on innovation and R&D departments continues to increase.

9. Greying population and increased work pressure: restructuring measures are increasing the level of pressure at work.

10. Increasingly long supply chains: longer supply chains due to offshoring increase the risks to deliveries.

As a trend watcher, I am all too aware that each trend has a counter-trend. The key here is to recognise the potential consequences of these trends, and to advise companies on how to deal with them, including on how they should design their supply chains.

If companies want to hear this advice, they should come and listen to my presentation at one of the events next week. Naturally, I am open to offers to be a key note speaker at other events too, but don’t wait too long – my fee increases as my diary fills up!

Martijn Lofvers, Publishing Director & Chief Editor, Supply Chain Magazine