News round-up: customers in the driving seat of supply chain innovation

The future of the supply chain industry has long been held in the hands of technology and innovation. These have shifted the goalposts, placing customers in the driving...

The future of the supply chain industry has long been held in the hands of technology and innovation. These have shifted the goalposts, placing customers in the driving seat and changing how they engage with brands and business. In a recent article by James Manyika and Susan Lund in the Harvard Business Review, this shift is taken into deeper context as they examine how the ‘Next Era of Globalization will be Shaped by Customers, Technology, and Value Chains’. Kicking off with the statistic that three quarters of companies say that their global investment strategies are changing thanks to uncertainty over trade policy.

At the NRF 2019 Big Show, this trend was placed in sharp relief as brands showcased the technology designed to drive customer experiences. From artificial intelligence to virtual reality, numerous solutions were on display, all providing the sector with much-needed insight into what could potentially lie ahead and what could be used, right now, to transform customer experiences.

While on the topic of experiences, Ford has decided to shift its focus from comfortable cars to intelligent beds. The company believes that these high-tech beds will save marriages as an embedded conveyor belt – built with car technology – gently rolls unruly sleepers back into position. Using the Lane Assist technology, it’s called, somewhat unimaginatively, the Lane Keeping Bed.

Pensa Systems and Birdzi, two startups immersed in the development of retail experience technology solutions, have revealed they’re joining a Dallas-based venture firm called RevTech. The company specialises in retail technology and tools that allow stores to become part of the so-called Age of Amazon with innovations in in-store drones, voice-activated assistants and more.

Retailers are under pressure to invest in digital and its potential. The question is – who will succeed? The digital leader or the digital explorer? An in-depth article in Retail Customer Experience tries to answer the question as to which mindset is winning the race to digital transformation, and why.

In New Zealand, the government announced a proposal to merge all of the 16 polytechnics around the country into a single national institute. The goal is to reform the organisations in an attempt to redress some of the challenges it faces in falling enrolments and increasing debts.  According to the report, out of the 16 institutions, nine were in deficit while 11 suffered falling enrolments in 2017.

Also in the news was: the Selfcare Summit 2019 that reimagines retail for wellness, Virtual Vision’s launch of a platform designed to create smarter physical stores, the partnership between the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the startup Smarter Sorting for AI-based compliance,  an analysis as to what lies ahead for retail with regards to predictive analytics, and FDA testing of a secure supply chain pilot programme.

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