Supply chain innovation spending set to rise, survey finds

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. –The appetite for investment in new technologies was up in 2019, according to a new survey.

The industry has shown movement in both technology adoption and innovation spending, as 46 percent of respondents stated that they are willing to spend 10 to 24 percent more on innovation, up from 24 percent last year.

Supply chain professionals are also looking to partners to help with innovation efforts, as 45 percent expect to co-invest with 3PLs. Investment rates are up in the following technology categories:

  • 56 percent of supply chain professionals are currently or planning to invest in sensors/IoT; up from 46 percent in 2018 and 42 percent in 2017
  • 34 percent of respondents are currently or planning to invest in AR/VR; up from 23 percent in 2018 and eight percent in 2017
  • 22 percent of supply chain leaders are currently or planning to invest in drones; up from 13 percent in 2018 and eight percent in 2017

While some technologies have seen these increases in funding, other solutions are less of a priority. When it comes to supply chain visibility, 42 percent of supply chain leaders say it is not as high a priority as in previous years. This decline interest could in part be due to challenges with data governance, as it has been difficult for businesses to define and implement master data management programs.

Blockchain, which has received a lot of buzz, is a low priority or not a priority for almost half of supply chain leaders. One of the main roadblocks for blockchain has been a lack of collaboration, and companies are not investing until there are more standards, regulation and active participation for larger enterprises.

Driverless cars/self-driving vehicles have also failed to make the shortlist for many in the industry, as more than half of respondents say the technology is a low priority or not a priority at all. Safety concerns, questions about creating the right infrastructure and the high level of uncertainty around how governments will regulate driverless cars has led the industry to focus on other projects first.

Kenco Logistics sponsored the annual State of Supply Chain Innovation Survey. The survey, now in its third year, is designed to evaluate how supply chain professionals are investing and implementing innovation initiatives.