August 17, 2019

The 4 Ds for future supply chain success

Diversity, Digitisation, Data and Disruption will drive the highest performing FMCG and retail supply chains according to CHEP as the industry enters a new year.

Helen Lane, Vice President, Northern Europe at CHEP, says: “The way the world makes, moves and sells goods is changing. People want more. They want more choice. They want it cheaper. And they want it now. Yet society is increasingly expecting business to reduce the impact of meeting this demand because the world needs less waste, less CO2 and less environmental damage.

She added: “How we make both these things happen is the challenge for our age. A challenge that is unprecedented in its complexity and its scale, and one that is more urgent than ever. We need to move more with less. In doing so we need to look differently at the way our whole supply chain works. We need to share more, reuse more and collaborate more. We need to use new technology, new insights and new thinking to make the world’s supply chains work better, and work better together, to become radically more economically and more environmentally sustainable. All of these requirements will gain momentum during 2019.”

Helen Lane highlighted that CHEP has made diversity and inclusion the number one priority to provide the future skills base that will help the company and its customers move with the times.

She said: “We need teams of people who are inherently more diverse in their experiences, approaches and backgrounds. Therefore, we are spreading our net wider in our search for the next generation in our industry. That’s because we cannot help make the real changes needed by our customers, our society, and our planet without their new perspectives, new passions and new ideas. We believe that the supply chain industry needs to open up and to be challenged by different ways of looking at the world.”

Helen Lane, Vice President, Northern Europe at CHEP

Helen Lane also believes that the supply chain will be “illuminated” by the unabated pace of digitalisation through making what has been invisible in the past visible in the future through new levels of insights it will provide. This brings with it new opportunities to look at the supply chain in new and exciting ways.

Katie Wilkinson, Customer Transformation Director, Northern Europe at CHEP, added: “Statistically, if we look within the four walls of our organisation, we can reduce waste by 35%. But if we look beyond our four walls, across suppliers and customers and neighbours, that figure is more like 65%. So that’s a much bigger opportunity.”

Katie Wilkinson also announced how CHEP is introducing digital tags to its pallets which link to goods for sale in store and notify shoppers with loyalty cards about special promotions. She said: “Digitalisation is about getting stuff out there, trying it, and not being scared of it failing.”

Katie Wilkinson believes that it is big data and Artificial Intelligence that will have the most profound impact on the supply chain. “It’s not just the Amazons of this world that will increasingly rely on algorithms to compete. This is something that we are investing significantly in at CHEP drawing on our huge supply chain data network to create optimisations and collaborations that couldn’t have been dreamt of otherwise”.

“We are also exploring disruptive technologies such as blockchain, not as a cryptocurrency but as a way of creating an unalterable record of events. So, every single thing that happens to goods on their way through the supply chain can be recorded, and that record can be verified. Having a blockchain verified record of every movement of goods – and of their condition – will help us build trust all the way along the supply chain, right to the consumer. And this trust will also help enable much deeper and more valuable collaboration across supply chains.”

Helen Lane concluded: “The supply chain of the future needs to be much more than pallets, trucks and sheds, with goods moving in a linear way from A to B to C along “the chain”. The supply chain needs to be described in much more profound terms – autonomous vehicles, big data, collaboration and sustainability.”