Modern supply chain management is entering the third wave of a multi-decade progression towards greater levels of sophistication in addressing
increasing levels of product variety, fulfillment options, and customer engagement, at the lowest possible cost.
A nexus of business process and technology forces is ushering in unprecedented change for supply chain and retail operations within all companies across the globe.
A third revolution (third wave) in supply chain management is upon us. Modern supply chain management, leveraging engineering, math, and computers, started in the 1970s.
Since then, it has gone through two twenty-year periods, each with distinct characteristics, and each driven by supply-side technology paradigms.
In the past ten years, demand-side thinking has started to play an increasing role.
Now, a confluence of technologies, conspiring with customers and the end-consumer, has established a breakpoint for the advent of the third revolution.
This paper investigates and describes the future of modern supply chain management, including perspectives from the past and present.
While supply chains and supply chain management have been around in some form for centuries, this article begins its perspective using the term “modern supply chain management,” which is assumed to start in the mid-1970s, as companies began to leverage computers and information technology in this area of their businesses.
The paper describes trends and characteristics that will be prevalent across all functions of supply chain management, including demand, supply, fulfillment, transportation, warehouse management, category management, and retail operations.