Supply-Chain in year 2018: OBOR, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) & IoT (Internet of Things)

Date : 27 December 2018

Unlike many of the Industries, Supply-Chain was one of the most talked area for organizations across the world. Organizations present in developed nations were trying to upgrade their old Logistics infrastructure and further control the market through Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A). Whereas organizations present in developing/poor nations were trying to solve the puzzle associated with high Logistics cost and associated complexities.

Apart from above, every organization associated with Logistics was trying to evaluate the possibilities of starting something new related to buzz words like- Blockchain, Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT (Internet of Things) etc. Only time will tell, who will achieve how much success, but one thing is sure that customer is going to be benefitted maximum out of this entire competition.

Supply chain

Some of the most talked topics about supply-chain during 2018 were:

1) OBOR (Project of the century or something else?): China envisions a vast global network of trade, investment and infrastructure that will reshape supply-chain and associated business-practices across world. Many experts/countries are very critical of OBOR, but whatever critics may say about ambitions of China, one thing is sure that supply-chain and world-trade is not going to remain same in coming years.

China-Europe freight trains already connect 56 Chinese cities with 49 European cities in 15 European countries. The number of trips from Europe to China has increased drastically in last 01 year. Apart from this, Chinese companies have invested heavily (direct or indirect) in major ports across different trade-routes in Asia, Europe and Africa.

2) Blockchain: Still in its infancy, Blockchain is one of the highly debated subject in both Logistics and IT companies. IT companies considers Blockchain as their next Holi-grail, whereas supply-chain companies look at it as their next competitive advantage.

Managing today’s supply chains- all the links to creating and distributing goods is extraordinarily complex. Depending on the product, the supply chain can span over hundreds of stages, multiple geographical (international) locations, a multitude of invoices and payments, have several individuals and entities involved, and extend over months of time. Due to the complexity and lack of transparency of our current supply chains, there is interest in how Blockchains might transform the supply-chain.

3) Artificial Intelligence (AI): Logistics is one of the key area where Artificial-Intelligence will play very critical role in coming years. Already big Logistics and Shipping companies are harnessing the Artificial-Intelligence (AI) and machine learning to inform and fine-tune core strategies like, warehouse locations, as well as to enhance real-time decision making related to issues like availability, costs, inventories, carriers, vehicles, personnel etc. Artificial-Intelligence (AI) and associated technologies promises to enable leaders to achieve greater optimization and responsiveness across the whole of their supply-chain network.

4) IoT (Internet of Things): Transportation delays, careless monitoring of cargo, theft, operator errors, outdated IT failures. All these factors and more can jeopardize profits and increase up the cost pressure, which remains unrelenting, no matter the business. The next generation of successful supply-chain management will leverage edge computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) to yield real-time automated, sense-and-respond feedback mechanisms.

IoT will extend its benefits across the entire supply-chain from the Procurement, Manufacturing, Operations, Warehousing, Transportation to the last-mile deliveries. IoT technologies also enable productivity, higher efficiency, safety and security and more collaborative operating model.

Apart from above, many interesting things happened in supply-chain during 2018, which we will keep sharing from time to time in coming week’s.


1) https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/18/world/asia/world-built-by-china.html

2) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201812/14/WS5c1363eda3107d4c3a000e58.html

3) https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/02/02/why-is-china-buying-up-europes-ports/

4) https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/03/23/how-blockchain-will-transform-the-supply-chain-and-logistics-industry/

5) https://www.forbes.com/sites/insights-inteliot/2018/06/14/logistics-4-0-how-iot-is-transforming-the-supply-chain

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CONBOX Logistics is an end-to-end supply-chain services partner. We strive to bring-in most advanced solutions & practices into existing supply-chain of our customers, leading to cost-reductions and strengthening-of-operations. For customized solutions & rates, please contact us