Prioritizing the innovative procurement programs that will last
Procurement management can benefit from new technology, but it can also be tough to tell which methods to prioritize as part of a transformation effort. Companies like Apple and Amazon have historically gained attention through big "moonshot" ideas that could take hold or fade away. Although some of these innovations can cause ripples throughout different logistics sectors, others might not have the same staying power.

The underwater storage proposal
Take Amazon in particular. The company has helped spark conversations about the role of drones in logistics thanks to its ambitious plans, and it's likely that we'll only see more of this in the future. But there are other projects Amazon may pursue which could simply fail to take off. CNET, for example, recently led readers through a detailed patent for underwater storage centers.

According to the filed patent, the centers could contain the means to keep packages submerged until it was time to transport them. CNET called the idea "crazy" and Fast Company also noted that the patent could simply be speculation and not actually lead to anything.

It begs the question: How do companies know which innovative risks are worth taking? A few years ago, it may have been difficult to see the drone-based supply chain as any less of a leap than these underwater facilities.

Telling forecasts
Related predictions for the future may tell us something about the type of logistics and supply chain advances to expect. A July 14 press release from MarketsandMarkets said that 2023's industrial robotics sector will be worth more than $71.7 billion, with articulated robots showing the highest degree of growth between now and then. These robots could reportedly influence industrial production.

Another forecast projects the drone market itself. Goldman Sachs asserted that commercial use of drones had the "fastest growth opportunity" of all applications, alongside civil government use, with an estimated $13 billion going toward these uses between 2016 and 2020.

"How do companies know which innovative risk is worth taking?"
Breaking the potential use cases down even further, the source said that the construction market would be responsible for owning the largest share of these drones, accounting for more than $11 billion. Other top uses, as the source predicted them, could include agriculture and insurance claims.

As big as it may seem, the total commercial industry contribution to possible drone use is actually small compared to the $100 billion the market may represent during this same timeframe. Outside of business, the largest potential drone users were said to be the military and consumer sectors.

An interest in disruption
In March, Fabian Heileman of Earlybird Venture Capital said that there were several signs of the need for change within logistics as it stands, even calling the industry "broken." Some of the indicators included a growing preference for fast processes, a new digitally-oriented mindset among customers and a fragmented market along with the potential efficiency that the digital options already available.
To guarantee stability alongside whatever trends arise, businesses can perform research and use insights from gathered data to source responsibly, whether a major change is looming or not.
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