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Understanding megatrends is important to help businesses maintain their competitive edge, Kasravi says. "Industries no longer have the luxury of waiting for a new market trend to develop before strategizing and responding to it," he says. "By the time they do that, the competition will eat them alive." A good grasp of megatrends will help companies stay ahead of the curve. "Knowing today's megatrends will give you better insight into what is likely to happen in the future. It helps you anticipate and prepare for the next big thing, so you will be ready to respond to challenges or to take advantage of new opportunities when they arise," Kasravi says.
Analyzing megatrends is not simple because they involve a convergence of very complex factors, some that actively shape conditions and others that act as constraints. To anticipate the effect on particular industries requires further distillation. The impact of an aging population on the healthcare industry will be far different from the impact on housing or banking, he notes.
One interesting megatrend for businesses to think about today is the aging of Generation Y, says Kasravi. "These are the kids who were raised in the information age. They use information for everything and they don't want to wait for anything." To anticipate the impact that this mindset might have on logistics, Kasravi points to the emerging use of 3-D printers to make objects like small parts.
As the price of 3-D printers goes down and their precision and capability goes up, "it is not difficult to foresee where this technology will be a few years from now," says Kasravi. "Combine that with Gen Y's expectation of fast results and you can envision someone at home wanting something, but instead of going to a store or ordering online, he prints it.
"Now keep in mind that these printers are very easy to use. If someone wanted something like a set of dinner plates, they could download the file and print them at home. So what will this do to the volume of products that are manufactured and shipped? People would be buying fewer finished products, but they would need to buy different raw materials that could require special handling, so now you have an opportunity. It is a very interesting scenario for logistics because you would not only have new materials to deliver, but many more places to deliver them to."
This is just an example of what megatrends can teach us, Kasravi says. "Megatrends help us see the convergence of different factors - what is possible and what the challenges and opportunities are."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, , supply chain management scm, transportation management, logistics management, logistics & supply chain, logistics services, supply chain solutions, supply chain planning, supply chain services
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