The Global Language of Business

7 business trends transforming industries

By analysing business trends that span a variety of industry sectors and investigating other sources of “mega-trend” and sector-specific trend research, our team identified seven current and near-term top business trends.

This article is part of a series of stories sourced from our report Trend Research 2018-2019: Identifying opportunities for GS1 to address today’s industry challenges.

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1. Data security and privacy

 The security of information is more important than ever.

The proliferation of connected devices is on track to reach as many as 500 connected devices in the average home. The cyber security market already exceeds US $100 billion. Security and cyber security are important underlying business trends that are driving significant investment across the GS1 value chain, from upstream providers, through manufacturing and transport.

2. Traceability

 Traceability has become a key enabler for trust and safety in the supply chain.

Approximately one in ten people worldwide get sick every year from eating contaminated foods, according to the World Health Organisation. As a result, detection equipment is becoming more sophisticated and food safety regulators are recalling about twice as many products as a decade ago. And as the number of recalls rises, so does the general awareness of food safety.

While end-to-end supply chain traceability has been possible thanks to GS1 standards for some time, companies are now looking for greater opportunities to improve automated visibility across their supply chains.

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3. Sustainability

 A real consumer priority that companies, brands and retailers need to embrace.

Sustainability is a global “mega-trend” that encompasses both environmental and social issues such as reducing waste, new ways of optimising the use of resources, finding new opportunities to recycle and reuse packaging and products at end of life, and ensuring the fair trade of products. Businesses are striving to reduce plastic waste, lessen food waste and improve fuel efficiency in transportation. These, and other business strategies and initiatives, are closely related to GS1’s core sectors.

4. On-demand logistics and services

New opportunities for on-demand delivery of products and services.

With almost two-thirds of the population living in urban centres by 2050, consumers’ expectations for on-demand services and delivery are escalating. Additionally, business-to-business (B2B) companies are looking to reduce inventory and streamline their processes to serve their end customers better. All this calls for more and more automation throughout transport and logistics processes for increased efficiencies when making on-demand deliveries.

5. Automation and Smart Everything

 Everything that can be connected, will be connected.

Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and devices along with high- bandwidth wireless communication and data transfer are all becoming cheaper and easier to implement.

Today, these technologies are making a huge impact in the automation of existing processes— estimated to save over $1 trillion per year for asset operators. For example, sensor-enabled systems are improving manufacturing efficiency, enabling new opportunities for adaptive process control and predictive maintenance. To make all thispossible “things” need to be identified more broadly and more permanently

6. Empowered consumers

 Retail is significantly transforming due to the rise of e-commerce and immersive mobile interactions.

Mobile retail sales are growing at an ever faster rate, and are projected to exceed $1 trillion in China in 2018. This, along with the proliferation of social media sharing, means that consumers are more powerful than ever before. Companies are now even considering consumers as co-collaborators for developing products and services.

While the mobile device is a key enabling platform for the empowered consumer, other major technologies include IoT, augmented and virtual reality, and autonomous logistics.

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7. Mass customisation

Extreme customisation called “order of one” and “batch size 1,” enables factories to ship single orders directly to a customer.

Mass customisation of products and services—whether uniquely made for each customer or extensively configurable to meet their needs—requires success in two areas.

1- Identify opportunities for customisation that create value for the customer and are supported by smooth, swift and inexpensive transactions for both consumers and producers.
2- Achieve a manageable cost structure and cost level for the producer even as manufacturing complexity increases.

The extension of the foundational GS1 Registry Platform to include the ability to register increasingly granular products is an opportunity for GS1 in this space.