Get the Scoop on Sparkasse Bank Malta's Supply Chain Tech Industry View.

For the largest retail and consumer brands, technology now powers a wide array of functions for warehouses, product merchandising, dispatch, product replenishment, distribution, packaging, supply chain, and the entire supply chain. Marketers can’t forget that consumers will pay more attention to value when online, and the customer experience also becomes more critical than ever before.

Technology companies have begun to offer cloud-based warehouse, fleet management, and business operations software that operates via the Internet and e-commerce platforms. The advantage is that companies that have done little to optimize their operations can suddenly see their processes at work and make course corrections immediately. The downside is that the shift to cloud-based infrastructure involves a vast re-architecting of data pipelines and customer and warehouse interfaces that can cause challenges for anyone unfamiliar with the technology.

Some of the newer cloud-based applications also represent the application-centric approach. These provide greater flexibility and customization. But they are typically slower to deliver results because they require more time to evolve from proof of concept to revenue.

Sparkasse is a commercial bank in southern Germany with a different approach to banking and IT.

The bank’s primary focus is to increase its profit through various digital technologies, emphasizing artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, big data, and machine learning.

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The massive market for supply-chain management software is dominated by large enterprise software players, such as Oracle, IBM, SAP, and SAS. They provide end-to-end solutions for warehousing, inventory control, distribution, transportation management, and even material management.

Despite the complexities involved in the supply chain, the value of E-commerce’s expansion into the supply chain is evident. According to Gartner, the global logistics and supply chain software market will reach $16.7 billion in 2018, up 24.6% from $13.8 billion in 2016. Nevertheless, the head said there is value in both approaches, which rely on technology to enable a more streamlined and efficient supply chain.

Sparkasse Bank Malta believes that e-commerce is the underlying driving factor in all of this. Therefore, it plays into a larger trend pushing retailers to “digitize” their businesses and migrate from a brick-and-mortar model to a hybrid of online and in-store distribution.