I interviewed Richard Sherman who discussed Supply Chain and Technology Trends for 2017.







Today we're speaking with Richard Sherman about Supply Chain and Technology Trends for 2017. Richard, can you first provide a brief background of yourself?


Sure, Dustin.First of all, it's always a pleasure to speak with you. I think you're bringing some very valuable information to the supply chain community. I've been around for about 35 years, largely in supply chain technology and helping companies apply technology to improve their operations in their overall performance. I'm currently a senior fellow in the Tata Consultancy Services Global Supply Chain and Center of Excellence. So I work with our principals and our different business units at best practices, research and technology trends and kind of what's going on in the business that can impact their clients and how can we develop services around helping our clients meet those challenges.


What changes or trends do you see happening in 2017?


That's a great question. Everybody likes to look at the crystal ball, but we certainly have kind of a base of change, which has been occurring over the last few years. So I think today everyone realizes that e-commerce is here to stay. I think that people realize the internet is clearly becoming more pervasive. The computing power is becoming more and more affordable and available. The basis is cloud deployments. So companies are very rapidly deploying new technology and solution in a hybrid cloud environment where they're using a combination of new cloud-based applications to extend and enhance their on-premise and traditional proprietary positions. So clearly, we've got the internet of things — more and more sensors, monitors, devices that are collecting data across the supply chain and in real time. And of course, from a social perspective, you've got the social media where more and more people are connected to the internet almost 24/7.


I think I saw a research report not too long ago that said that something like 85-90% of all adults have their smartphone within reach 24/7. Increasingly connected, which is presenting a lot of challenges in the supply chain. How do we compete with bricks and mortars in the e-commerce world? So omnichannel fulfillment and omnichannel marketing are becoming very, very important because we really can't transmit everything electronically. So we've got last mile delivery issues. We've got volume and scale issue. All of that data out there is becoming a risk.


So security and cyber security is extremely critical, and certainly here in the US, the prime example of that is the hacking that went on during the election. However, at that same time, we've got to look at all of this data that is becoming available that help us predict consumer behavior.


So more and more data is being collected about you personally than ever has been before. And so with that, there are issues beginning to emerge around privacy and data ownership. Companies are monetizing and benefiting from having all of this personal data about you. Shouldn't they share in that revenue?So personal data may come at a cost in the future.So we'll probably see some legislation around security, privacy, and data ownership coming up.


There's a lot of conversation and a lot of testing going on relative to autonomous vehicles. And so the driverless commercial vehicles, the autonomous personal vehicles change, for example, the entire automotive ecosystem. So it's not just the transportation equation that changes, it'scar ownership that changes. It's Uber-like commercialized ride sharing. There are all types of changes to the ecosystem. Insurance changes, revenue for municipalities change.


So the entire ecosystem changes, and the learning from that is that companies can no longer just look at their customer’s suppliers for what's happening in their marketplace. They have to look at the entire ecosystem and see what kind of repercussions these different changes can have to their overall market ecosystem that they play in.


So I think we're seeing a lot of changes. Robotics are here and growing in popularity. With all of that data, obviously companies have to engage in more sophisticated analytics for demand forecasting, demand shaping, demand response. And with all of those analytics, there is a maturity cycle. And companies have to be aware of the fact that a lot of the more sophisticated analytics, such as predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics, it takes time to build a history of behavior upon which those predictive and prescriptive analytics systems can be built.


So companies can fall behind very, very rapidly. So my advice to companies going into 2017 is that you really have to take a look at number one, what's happening within your market ecosystem and what potential changes can have a disruptive effect. I think companies have to anticipate disruptive change to their market ecosystems with all of this change. We've evolved into this service type of an economy and more of a sharing economy. Democratized commerce follows connected commerce, and so that has a lot of changes to how companies buy and sell products. So it's going to be critical that companies create a vision for their future, that they lay out a digital strategy, and they develop a road map for how they are going to architect their enterprise in this future digital age.


Thank you, Rich, for sharing today.


Thank you, Dustin. Always a pleasure speaking with you.



About Richard Sherman






Richard Sherman


Senior Fellow, Supply Chain Centre of Excellence at Tata Consultancy Services


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