Supply Chain Management in the Future

I’ve been asked to speak at a global supply chain management conference about the intersection between the field and marketing.  I’m interested in stress-testing some relevant big ideas and new trends that inspire me.  I would later boil these down into a manageable talk..

First, some of the big ideas:
1) I have an abiding interest in what is now being popularized as “Big Data.”  Namely, the rapidly growing amount of stored/accessed data that is the topic of almost all of my blog posts over the past few years.  What excites me about the topic is that the way people think and organize themselves is dramatically impacted by the type of information that they have available, and how they find that information.
2) Materials allocation is a central social activity.  Supply Chain Management is one of the key fields where information distribution and materials allocation intersect.  This makes it an area of rich interest for looking at how technical changes will affect social development.
Here are some new trends that interest me:
1) Open Source Manufacturing: I’ve been very excited to come across Open Source Ecology, which promises the creation of “a single burned DVD [that] is effectively a civilization starter kit
2) Distributed Manufacturing: Efforts, such as those above, and others, such as WikispeedShapeoko and MakerBot, promise the possibility of the eventual distribution of manufacturing, due to a decreased initial investment threshold and an increased efficacy of individual/small group planning (by means of computing power).
3) Supply Chain Analytics: One excellent writer, Lora Cecere (“The Supply Chain Shaman“) provides a perspective at how “Big Data” can revolutionize business/tecnnical innovation/distribution, by means of supply chain innovation (You can read her general comments on Big Data beneath the “Trends . . .” heading on this page or find more specialized comments here.).
My goal will be to explain how the potential for the decentralization of manufacture, while far from being realized, highlights the direction in which the Information Age is pushing the fields of distribution and logistics: towards more rapid development cycles and, flowing from that, towards a closer understanding of market forces.
I’m interested in your thoughts on these trends/topics.
Thanks so much!

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