Artificial intelligence, Digital transformation, machine learning, Automation, Omnichannel, and Predictive analytics are the buzzwords that controlled 2021 and will most likely remain on the radar of every business for quite some time. Lingaro's experts weigh in on the dynamics that corporate leaders and decision-makers are probable to see in the supply chain, procurement, as well as consumer sector, in addition to how analytics will form their pathways in 2022 and beyond if they have not already.

Disruptions remained in 2021, upending the ever-volatile sector. Meanwhile, clients, customers, as well as employees expect more: a comprehensive, cross-channel experience, environmental commitment, and more options for acquiring resources or consuming customized services and products upfront, when and wherever they want. The list would then grow longer, and so will the number of obstacles that decision-makers should indeed overcome.

Making informed business choices while responding quickly as well as proactively was never more important. Organizations must figure out how to use data creatively as well as efficiently to fuel their own long- and short-term strategies. The previous two years provided the impetus for decision-makers to digital format transform, and 2022 will see them embrace analytics not because they desire to, but because they must.

Sustainability: From publicity to business outcome

Take, for example, sustainability: 84% of chief supply chain officers polled said they intend to invest in capabilities that will assist their companies in adapting to and mitigating climate change.

"Sustainability will be here to stay — not just for the sake of publicity, but because the business needs it," said Mateusz Panek, a supply chain specialist and Lingaro's enterprise as well as a business solutions architect. "What we're noticing between many of our clients as well as other groups with which we collaborate is a greater shift away towards doing something that appears or sounds good again for brand and toward a holistic approach motivated by business outcomes."

Companies rely heavily on linear supply chains to maintain their operations running, and yet circular as well as sustainable supply chains are getting momentum in consumer products, high-tech, healthcare,  retail, and other industries. Industries involved in logistics. The added value as well as efficiency that reclaimed, reused, or recycled resources offer additional are significant, especially in complex, globally connected supply chains exposed by the pandemic for their fragility as well as bottlenecks.

Setting reduction targets for Scope 3 emission levels will soon be the new business norm. Industrial production, telecommunication services, transportation, as well as aviation, to name a few, are anticipated to lead the way in 2022, especially in terms of lowering their carbon footprint. This is not surprising given that the steel industry alone accounts for at least 7% of global CO2 emissions.

Panek cautioned that without the data and tools to back them up, these goals will be futile. "Businesses cannot reduce what they cannot quantify. Their goals should be in line to their actions. Many organisations struggle with sustainability because they do not concretely measure and track their own environmental effects over time. Advanced analytics can assist by evaluating data to pinpoint supply chain regions where resources can be utilised or emission levels should be lowered."

Panek added that achieving these goals will necessitate a strategic effort. Despite their best efforts, many organisations struggle to make their sustainability efforts meaningful. In fact, only 38% of the world's 8,000 largest corporations were committed to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). "It's wonderful that you've been recycling, but if the recycled materials you are using to package a new product would then end up will become trash once more, you're defeating your intent. "Analytics can shed light on these often overlooked as well as tricky details," he said.

Procurement follows the same rules.

Igor Vasquez, Lingaro’s head of practice for sourcing and procurement analytics, added that laws and regulations are also underscoring sustainability’s significance for years ahead. “Inaction poses legal risks for companies as more governments incorporate sustainability in their policies. These regulations are compelling companies to embed sustainable practices in their supply chains. The COP26 in Glasgow further fueled the conversation on the vital role of businesses in achieving sustainability. We expect that more of these conversations will be backed by legal and transnational frameworks that will directly affect global supply chains. We’re already seeing it in the procurement space,” Vasquez said.

Igor Vasquez, Lingaro's head of practice for sourcing as well as procurement analytics, got to add that regulations and laws are also trying to emphasize the significance of sustainability in the coming years. "As more governments integrate sustainability into their policies, companies are facing legal risks if they act nothing. These regulations compel businesses to integrate sustainability methods into their supply chains. The COP26 in Glasgow helped fuel the debate about just the significant contribution of businesses in addressing sustainability. We anticipate that increasing numbers of these discussions will indeed be backed by legal as well as transnational frameworks that are going to have a straightforward impact on international supply chains. "We're already noticing it in procurement," Vasquez says.

Assessing vendors and suppliers utilizing, and governance (ESG) criteria, for example, is one of the UN's SDGs.Meanwhile, the EU is going to consider levying taxes on nonrecycled plastic packaging as well as increasing the cost of Carbon dioxide emission rights. It also recommended thorough research and corporate reporting guideline that would demand companies to identify, notify, and mitigate ESG threats in their own supply chains.

These discussions are also being sparked by consumers. Shopping preferences are shifting toward socially and environmentally conscious products. Indeed, 72% of consumers globally are willing to pay more for environmentally friendly materials. They expect the business, particularly fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) as well as consumer-packaged goods (CPG), to do their part.
Bridging gaps with supplier diversity/inclusive procurement Sustainability also enables decision-makers, particularly in procurement, to view supply chains through the lens of inclusion and diversity. "At the time, regulations and laws have been the single force pressing businesses to interact with underserved populations, at least in the United States. "They are now acknowledging the possibility of supplier diversity programs designed to help their companies thrive — whether that be through greater market share, improved brand recognition, or continued to improve change in the company," Vasquez explained.
Supplier diversity, also known as inclusive procurement, actively encourages interaction with businesses that are owned and operated by at least 51% of historically underserved and underrepresented groups or individuals. Supplier diversity initiatives really aren't new; Coca-Cola,  Ford, Mastercard, and Target have all implemented them. UPS, for example, spends $2.6 billion annually on 6,000 different vendors.

Many factors contribute to its massive popularity. One thing, it's a growing reaction to social issues. Organizations are also looking into new procurement channels to improve the agility and resilience of their supply chains. In the EU, 40% of manufacturers cite a shortage of equipment and materials as a factor limiting their production.

Supplier diversity also allows companies to interact with new client bases as well as enter new markets. The combined purchasing power of culturally diverse, minoritized groups in the United States has been estimated to be approximately US$3.9 trillion. Women-owned companies in the United States produced at least $1.9 trillion in revenues in 2019. The changes are encouraging. Within the next four years, businesses in the United States are expected to boost their diversity expenditure goals by 50%. These businesses are currently assigning US$72 million per billion dollars of total expenditure.

"An inclusive procurement policy expands the pool of suppliers," Vasquez said. It inspires innovation and competition resulting in the knock-on result of increasing product quality and continuing to drive down costs. Having a such diversified group of suppliers indicates a lot in today’s dynamic times.” It also increases credibility among many of today's outspoken and socially conscious consumers, who are progressively relying on brands to fill gaps left by governments.

The major difficulty, according to Vasquez, is to keep moving beyond tokenism. Only 43% of US businesses surveyed use information and real-proof strategies to validate their own diverse expenditures. "Leaders must implement rigor to supplier diversity efforts in order to reap the great benefits. They shouldn't be concealed in the procurement cycle. They should indeed take the stage. This is where analytics can assist — it can simplify the process of reporting and measuring the firm's sourcing or procurement having spent with multiple providers. "This lays the groundwork for diverse characters in the supply chain," Vasquez said.

Personalization that cuts out the middleman

Sustainable development, as well as supplier diversity both, have an impact on the bottom line, yet there is one crucial factor that has an increasing influence on value chain decision-making — today's consumers. Their expectations require, and behavior patterns force businesses to reconsider and redefine their own operations.

"These days, expert knowledge and ease of access appear to be should indeed for this generation," said Michal Jablonski, Lingaro's information strategist as well as head of consumer data analysis practice."Under such challenges, an increasing number of businesses are rethinking how they can get closer to their own customers beyond customisation options. One of the continuous trends we see in many FMCG as well as other product-based market participants is their attempt to just get closer to the end customer in terms of both understanding and production and marketing."

Personalization, Jablonski clarified, will always be present, but a D2C approach adds a new dimension. Even though brands own their entire customer journeys, they can conduct business with customers in ways that significantly improve the product lines, business operations, and communication systems for their target market. Buyer relationships may be more individualised, providing the most value and enhancing the overall experience. Consumers in Europe, for example, rank product truthiness as the second most significant reason for buying beauty or household goods directly from of the brand, with luxury products ranking perhaps higher.

A direct-to-consumer (D2C) business model allows companies to reduce the manufacturer and consumer value chains by creating or activating with there own digital as well as e-commerce streams even while attempting to sell to numerous marketplaces. D2C e-commerce sales in the United States rose by 46% in 2020, bringing a total of US$111.5 billion. It is expected to reach 152 billion next year. It will achieve $175 billion by 2023. So many international firms and retail behemoths would then jump just on the D2C bandwagon, making investments in supply chain management, payment, as well as stock control capabilities as a way to divert customers' focus away from marketplaces or towards their own. This has been the case for companies like Nike, Walmart, even Colgate-Palmolive Nestle, and Unilever.

Adopting a D2C model, on the other hand, entails more so than simply putting your products online. "Brands, especially brick-and-mortar business owners, will confront strong competition in establishing their presence online to a wider audience," Jablonski advised. Businesses will take on even more roles and responsibilities as intermediaries are removed, such as marketing, inventory control, logistic support, as well as cybersecurity. The allure, as well as boon of D2C, may encompass more preconditions than some consumer products companies' resources could indeed handle."

Data is one of these prerequisites. But not simply any data: brands must have the right data to comprehend who their consumers are — their purchasing habits as well as demographic trends, for example — and what message will gently push them to purchase and return. Brands also request knowledge of what their own consumers say regarding their products in order to enhance them. Getting robust e-commerce capabilities is one thing, but data analysis can facilitate brands in developing an effective D2C strategy — from choosing the right audience to constructing marketing plans, defining KPIs, and leveraging advanced methods such as AI as well as machine learning to get closer to their customers.

A cloud-native, digital-first approach

The ability of a company to invest in and use technology proactively will determine its success in terms of long-term sustainability, supplier diversity, as well as the D2C model. Many companies will continue to prioritise digitalization, but in order to achieve it, they have to be capable of navigating today's as well as tomorrow's innovation landscapes.

This echoes a sentiment expressed by 80% of consumers in 2022: an all-digital globe within which the majority of exchanges, interrelations, as well as experiences will actually occur. Cloud-native apps are expected to account for 35% of production apps as well as 90% of new digital services by 2022.

People, procedures, and process flows are reinvented as well as future-proofed with a cloud-native as well as a digital-first attitude. It is no longer required to migrate application forms, information, as well as business functions to the cloud. It now involves orchestrating strategic plans.

The cloud-assisted international markets in trying to mitigate and respond to interruptions, particularly throughout a pandemic when resources have been dispersed as well as the workforce must be remote. Organizations will utilize the cloud, even more, to develop solutions rapidly, scale their execution, and enable automation. More than 90% of apps would be cloud-native by 2025, with 95% of digital workloads deployed on cloud applications. These technical frameworks will open up new possibilities for groups that are willing to just be early adopters:

Composability will be the watchword: Modularity will not simply be a principle for trying to deal with interruptions; it will also encompass corporate culture, predictive analysis, and IT infrastructure, which will all be cloud-based. 75% of enterprises would be running containerized applications by 2022. Information democratization in data analysis will enable employees to create solutions that package separate business capabilities into composable applications that utilize low- or no-code platforms.

Data warehouses, data lakes, and data fabrics: A new approach to information planning will be intertwined into the data ecosystems of enterprises. This isn't to say that data warehouses and data lakes won't exist in the future; they're separate but necessary and complementary solutions for storing, moving, processing, and reporting data. In contrast, data fabrics are deliberately developed to just provide fully integrated, consistent, and immersive access to multiple sources of information. Data fabrics have the potential to cut data management efforts in order and costs by up to 70%.

If necessity is the mother of invention, the disruptions of the past two years have forced companies to re-imagine how they conduct business and also have speeded up their strategy and necessitated that they digitally transform. This momentum would be sustained in the years ahead. Businesses are going to accelerate, and analytics will serve as the fuel that enables them to keep up.

In an uncertain world, however, every decision matters. Emerging trends and technological advances will create more opportunities, but the hype as well as the risk associated with them could outweigh their real-world value and utility. Knowing what's coming will not be enough. Organizations must examine their information in order to address their own priority areas and use analytics to eliminate the discrepancy between their vision as well as the impact.