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Supply Chain Trends and Predictions 2018


Supply Chain Trends and Predictions 2018

Since there are always articles on trends this time of year – and predictions being made, we thought we’d throw our hat in the ring and talk about supply chain trends we see ourselves. When we discussed internally, people shared trends and predictions they saw coming on everything from supply chain and technology to war and economic strife caused by catastrophic events. Although all are equally valid (predictions can be wacky, wild, safe or sensible, right?), we chose to highlight the brighter predictions and supply chain trends here.

Proliferation of autonomous vehicles in the DC

While there are autonomous vehicles in distribution centers all over the globe, bringing goods to workers instead of workers going to the goods, we predict that there will be a more widespread adoption of this approach. With Amazon driving the bulk of consumer expectations for delivery (2 days, 2 hours, etc.), it seems likely that adoption of some of the same kind of automation used to meet those expectations will increase. The benefits to AV’s are numerous, including more efficient use of existing space (which can sometimes equal being able to handle increased volume in the same facility vs. expanding). Here’s another article from MIT Technology Review about driverless vehicles. And while this isn’t on logistics specifically, here’s an interesting take on what autonomous vehicles could mean for American workers.

Higher level of comfort and usage of cloud for supply chain software

We will see more and more customers decide that they can’t beat the speed of things like AWS or Azure for hosting their critical systems like Warehouse Management, unless they spend a lot of money getting a faster network of their own. And we all know that getting a network of your own, regardless of the speed, has added recurring costs to ensure redundancy and reliability. Someone has to manage that in-house, there needs to be a server room, air conditioning, power, etc. Now that more and more companies are trusting cloud software for other functions, they will begin to trust it more for their warehouse, labor and transportation management software and begin to reap the cost-savings of that as well.

More affordable technology

This is more of a hope than a prediction, and definitely sits outside of supply chain. One of our employees recently purchased his eldest son an entry level smartphone for $100 and after helping to set it up, he was thinking, “What am I paying several times this for???” Apparently, entry level has gotten pretty good – that same employee is going to audit what he uses vs. what he pays for a little more closely in 2018 to see what other changes he can affect in his family finances.

If you’re on a roll and want to see some more supply chain trends and predictions from various sources, here are a few we thought were interesting:

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Jeremy Hudson

Vice President of Client Services

Jeremy’s focus is on the products and services clients need to stay competitive. Open Sky Group’s mission is to deliver technology-enabled solutions that allow our customers to achieve more while having the flexibility to adapt to change. Jeremy lives the core values and mission by bringing the best experience possible to our clients. He is an essential member of implementation teams, working alongside clients, and encouraging them to use innovation and best practices instead of customizations for success.

Jason Yantiss

Vice President of Client Services

Jason provides leadership to a variety of teams focused on implementation and integration. With 27+ years of experience holding operational and technical management roles in transportation, billing, and warehousing across a vast array of industry verticals, Jason is adept at driving multiple complex projects, understanding customer needs at all levels of the operation and providing viable solutions. Jason’s resume of 150+ implementation projects include Warehouse, Labor, Transportation, Yard Management and multiple AR/AP Freight Pay and Customer Billing systems. 

Eric McPherson

Vice President of Client Services

Mac works to oversee implementation and integration projects. A former Marine officer and military police officer, he brings over 27 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years at Blue Yonder in both delivery and service sales. Mac is a dedicated, team-oriented professional with a background in business management, professional services, customer service, and supply chain technology. His specialties include sales support, supply chain execution systems, project management, fulfillment operations, distribution operations, and GSA contracts.

Shannon Caflisch

Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Shannon is responsible for the strategy and management of all sales, business development, and marketing programs. With over 25 years of sales experience and 15 years focused in the supply chain space, Shannon focuses on building strong relationships with clients and partners and strives to deliver the right software solutions to help conquer supply chain challenges. Shannon believes in learning by listening to understand clients’ goals, struggles, and what is important to their business to build lasting, successful relationships.

Alan Prillaman

Senior Vice President of Client Services

As Senior VP of Client Services, Alan oversees all consulting services and account management at Open Sky Group. Possessing over 30 years of combined industry and consulting experience, Alan leverages his unique background in IT, logistics, quality management systems, manufacturing and distribution operations, and facility and strategic account management to provide clients with creative resolutions to complex challenges. His core philosophy and passion are to deliver tangible value for and establish long-term trusted partnerships with our clients.

Mike Noble

Senior Vice President of Technology

As Senior Vice President of Technology, Mike leads Open Sky Group’s Managed Services, Software Services, Infrastructure Services, and Information Technology teams bringing 35+ years of experience in Supply Chain Execution and Information Technology. Mike and his teams ensure we maintain the highest levels of customer service in a secure and reliable environment, constantly reviewing and evaluating new technologies, their appropriateness and applicability so we can safely and securely transact our own business – and help our clients accomplish the same.

Chad Kramlich


Joining Open Sky Group in 2015, Chad, served as Chief Revenue Officer for three years prior to his appointment to CEO in 2022. With over 25 years of experience delivering results for high-growth software and consulting organizations, Chad is leveraging his background in building efficient and effective implementation teams, establishing high-impact services operations, achieving revenue growth, and deepening executive-level client relations to help propel Open Sky Group into a very successful future.