Global Survey Highlights Rise of Technology-Infused Supply Chains to Address Disruption, Uncertainty, and Cost Pressures

52% of companies host enterprise applications in the Cloud; 76% anticipate AI integration in supply chains by 2026

More than half (52%) of companies currently host critical enterprise applications in the Cloud while 76% believe artificial intelligence (AI) will be an important part of their supply chain within the next three years, according to an  annual report published today by Loftware, the largest global software company specializing in Enterprise Labeling and Artwork Management solutions.

The global survey, which draws on insights from over 300 labeling, packaging, and supply chain professionals across industries in 55 countries, found that investing in cutting-edge technologies such as cloud computing, AI, and IoT solutions is no longer a tactical necessity but an enabler for business growth and agile supply chain operations. This shift in prioritization has primarily been driven by ongoing supply chain disruption, heightened consumer expectations, and growing sustainability demands.

“As companies plan for 2024 and beyond, the combination of geopolitical uncertainties, climate instability, and the threat of recession continues to impact companies of all sizes. Organizations are grappling with disruptions that extend far beyond the traditional scopes, requiring a strategic recalibration to weather the storm and emerge stronger in the face of adversity,” said Josh Roffman, EVP of Marketing at Loftware. “With this in mind, a commitment to bolstering digital transformation strategies through investment in innovative technologies will be critical to streamline operations, drive growth, and increase profitability.”

Gartner, a leading technology analyst firm, supports this notion and reports that global end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 20.4% to total $678.8 billion in 2024, up from $563.6 billion in 2023.

The Loftware report also revealed that sustainability has become a crucial strategic and operational priority for organizations of all sizes around the globe. Of those surveyed by Loftware, 78% said they have already adopted sustainability initiatives across their organizations due to increased regulations and shifting consumer preferences. In fact, 77% of respondents believe stricter regulations and compliance requirements are pushing businesses to adopt sustainability practices, while 82% reported that consumer preferences for sustainable products are driving this approach.

Facilitating transparency is a vital step in creating resilient supply chains and fostering better sustainability practices, so it’s no surprise that 79% of respondents flagged global traceability as a priority for their company – an increase from 70% just 12 months ago. Using cloud technology, digital traceability helps companies to ensure sustainable sourcing, protect consumers, streamline the location of inventory, guarantee on-time delivery to market, and address the growing issue of counterfeiting. Indeed, 48% of those surveyed believe the inability to effectively manage recalls is the biggest risk of not being able to track products through the supply chain. This compares to 33% five years ago.

As highlighted by Loftware’s report, Industry 4.0 will continue to have an impact on companies and their manufacturing operations. Organizations operating across a range of industries, from automotive, electronics, and manufacturing to consumer products and life sciences, are embracing automation and standardized solutions which help them meet their own unique requirements. This is especially true for mission-critical business processes such as cloud labeling and printing, with 91% of respondents reporting seeing an advantage of using a single platform to support thermal transfer labeling and direct marking and coding. By adopting such a solution as part of a cloud-first strategy, businesses gain printing flexibility, accuracy, production line uptime, and efficiency to manage costs and support global growth.

For more information about the trends identified by Loftware, access the  full report and sign up for the  ‘2024 Top 5 Trends in Labeling & Packaging Artwork’ webinar.

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