Advancing technology to tackle ambitious goals is one thing, but what underpins those bleeding-edge innovations?
There are plenty of dynamic startups out there that capture the hearts and imaginations of wishful space tourists and prospective robot dog owners. From life-changing scientific breakthroughs to revolutionary applications of artificial intelligence – being in-the-know about these buzzword-filled innovations makes for particularly inspiring virtual happy-hour conversations.
Although these ‘moon shot’ startups produce great headlines and Twitter chatter, inevitably a huge number leave investors holding the proverbial baby. Moon shots – or hyper-ambitious innovation projects – that actually work have the potential to bring about fundamental change. They impact how we work, live, die, eat, sleep, drink and move around the world every single day. Some of these innovations will make us happier. Some will lift the fortunes
of those who need it most. Others might give us a slight chance of saving the planet.
However, have you ever considered what underpins every single great invention? From widgets, to gadgets, to robots and rockets – it’s a supply chain that transforms napkin doodles into tangible products that can be used in the real world.
A healthy supply chain is to a new invention, what a healthy blood flow is to a human brain. Without it, great ideas wither and die.
With the brightest innovative minds gravitating towards creating the next big thing, it leaves one important question: Who’s innovating the supply chain?
New innovations that promise and ultimately deliver more efficient, transparent and trustworthy supply chains are able to meet enormous addressable global markets. Experts estimate that the global supply chain market size was valued at $15.85 billion in 2019 and it’s not expected to slow anytime soon. By 2027 it’s projected to reach $37.41 billion and grow at a CAGR of 11.2% from 2020 to 2027.
Although these numbers paint an exciting story for investors, the reality is that global supply chains are riddled with costly inefficiencies. In the UK alone, over 100 million hours of time are wasted each year in procurement, supplier management and freight-administration functions. These inefficiencies are costing companies a staggering $1.98 billion annually.
Much like within any industry sector, innovative ideas are needed that solve supply chain pain points, some of which have existed for decades. Once properly addressed they have the potential to help companies lower costs, increase agility and efficiently react to fluctuating markets. They can also present opportunities to make supply chains more transparent and trackable, meaning ethical and sustainability practices can be monitored far more effectively.
Smart innovators who want to shoot for the moon and fundamentally challenge the status quo will always get a warm reception from investors. However, for the best and brightest to see their innovations come to fruition, we must ensure the global networks they rely to hit their mark are efficient, effective and sustainable. Ensuring the supply chain infrastructure that will inevitably underpin each new moon shot – as well as the smooth running of every essential service we depend on – is key when attracting innovators to reimagine its next generation.
By backing brilliant minds with the resources they need to future-proof supply chains now, we will inevitably be supporting those who back the moon shots themselves. By giving every technology innovation a fighting chance to meet its potential, more will go on to produce the rewards we can all benefit from.
Dan Lionello is the Founder & CEO of Omnae, a collaborative cloud-based Supply Chain Management (SCM) platform.