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The value of installing new technologies in supply chains

Incorporating new technologies into supply chains offers the business a range of benefits that leads to much-needed and wanted growth. Whether a business is in need of cost optimisation or to grow its revenue, adding new technology can contribute enormously to these goals.

Adding new technology is also necessary for a business to thrive within today’s digital business sphere. Technologies like artificial intelligence, process automation, and deep analytics have become a must have in order to compete. Here are a few of the ways that new technologies incorporated into supply chains can add value to a business.

What is a supply chain?

The network between a company, its suppliers, and buyers is known as a supply chain. Supply chains consist of a range of different participants, like activities, people, entities, information, and resources. Supply chains are used by businesses to increase the speed of production and reduce production costs to be able to compete and excel within their field.

What is a supply chain

Increased access to information in supply chains

Adding new technology to supply chain functions to locate and connect data that has been isolated within the supply chain. Data within the supply chain allows you to improve the supply chain’s performance, and if data has become isolated the supply chain will suffer. A range of issues and problems may arise, like inaccurate forecasts, inaccurate executions, and reaction times that are unnecessarily long. All of these will inevitably impact the level of customer service and in turn the business profit.

As supply chain technology gathers and connects information within the supply chain, visibility is increased. Visibility within a supply chain is crucial to have a clear picture of supply chain activities, demands, and disruptions. Today’s technology allows supply chain participants to view inventory status, warehouse activity, and product movement to easily satisfy the needs and wants of their partners and customers.

Increased access to information in supply chains

Increased insight into supply chains

Insight within a supply chain is necessary to make well-informed decisions. New technology incorporated into supply chains allows participants to view data, gain insights, and make informed decisions that affect all processes and people involved in the supply chain.

Increased agility in supply chains

Technology in the supply chain offers participants access to information which results in increased agility. Access to information allows participants to locate issues faster and find solutions quicker, which increases the supply chain’s agility. New technology used in supply chains is likely to recommend “best” activities that can be used if necessary.

Increased collaboration in supply chains

Collaboration within a supply chain is crucial. When two or more participants within the supply chain team up to achieve the desired goal, collaboration takes place. Well-designed supply chains have systems put in place, as well as technologies, to enable, monitor, and evaluate collaboration between participants. This allows a smooth transfer of information, analysis, and decisions.

Successful supply chains require synchronisation across an extended network. Once this has been achieved, businesses are sure to excel and achieve greater inventory turns, cost savings, and service levels.

Increased customer loyalty

One of the main goals of any business is to keep their customers, and potential customers, happy. If this is achieved the business is likely to have higher rates of customer loyalty. New technology incorporated into supply chains offer information when needed, visibility, and agility which is used to increase customer loyalty.

Clients and retailers can use this technology to know when their complete shipments will arrive so that they can inform and offer their customers the desired product. If this is done on time, the customer will be happy and will be likely to build a connection with the business.

Increased customer loyalty

The bottom line

Incorporating new technology into supply chains is the key to a business’s success. New technology will lead to saving of money, more access to information, and increased visibility for everyone involved in the supply chain.

If you wish to take your career in supply chain management to the next level, look no further than the IMM Graduate School. We have a range of CILT accredited programs for you to choose from.

Are supply chain issues slowing down online shopping deliveries?

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an array of obstacles and issues to supply chains across the globe. But these issues cannot be solely blamed on the pandemic, as supply chains were under pressure and buckling before 2020. Now, these supply chain issues have diversified and intensified to not only affect manufacturers, logistics firms, and retailers but also you, the customer.

What are supply chains?

A supply chain is a complex network made up of manufacturers, logistics firms, retailers, and delivery companies. Supply chains function to create a product and distribute it to the consumer. To function optimally, supply chains need a wide network of people, processes, and resources.

supply chain network

Are your online shopping deliveries being negatively affected?

In short, yes. Due to the pandemic, many people who were able to do their shopping online chose to do so for convenience and to maintain social distancing practices. This caused the demand for large amounts of goods to increase. Once the goods in demand depleted, many of the depleted goods were unable to be restocked and manufactured due to lockdown restrictions preventing factory work.

Once these goods were eventually manufactured, they had to be shipped to the distribution centres. Whether it was transported via truck, air freight, or boat, they could not be processed as fast as they were pre-pandemic due to lockdown restrictions. The staff in the distribution facilities has been limited due to social distancing practices, with some distribution centres closing for periods due to COVID-19 infections amongst the staff.

Once the products have been processed and been released to courier companies, the delivery people become faced with large amounts of products that need to be distributed as soon as possible. Due to staff limitations, the deliveries of these products were delayed due to the sheer number of deliveries.

What are the current supply chain issues?

  1. The COVID-19 pandemicThe pandemic placed major unexpected pressures on local and global supply chains. Due to hard lockdowns and restrictions, supply chains were forced to come to a halt. These pressures and effects caused major geographical shifts in supply and demand, which snowballed causing major issues for supply chains locally and globally.As mentioned earlier, supply chains had faced issues before the pandemic. Examples of these issues were increases in online shopping, delivery driver shortages, and skill shortages during production. These issues became amplified due to the pandemic.

    The COVID-19 pandemic

  2. Doing business has become more challengingDue to the pandemic, and political factors, the economic and business environment has become more complex which has made business processes more challenging. A global example of this would be the effects of Brexit. The UK and Europe felt supply chain issues due to an increase in red tape and cross-border checks resulting from Brexit.Other, more common, examples of supply chain issues would be fluctuating exchange rates and the building of global management teams. This is all due to globalisation. Globalisation has offered many benefits and has made the movement of products easier but has also offered supply chain issues.
  3. The environmental impactSustainable supply chain practices have become a necessity as countries have pledged to meet specific emissions targets and commitments. To meet these targets and commitments means that many businesses need to change and revise their processes. This has proven to be a big supply chain issue as sustainable supply chain practices typically mean slower production.To resolve this issue, businesses have had to put time and effort into supply chain risk management. Supply chain risk management functions to find and determine where risks currently exist or may arise in a supply chain network. It also includes assessing the damage these risks might bring and putting specific mitigation strategies into place.

    The environmental impact


Challenges Supply Chains will have in 2022

Supply chains had been experiencing challenges for years before the COVID-19 pandemic. Once the pandemic hit, supply chains faced countless more challenges that are still affecting markets across the globe. Shipping costs have been uncharacteristically high with delivery periods being unusually long. This has led to a lack and shortage of certain available resources. The effects have been so prominent that musician Jack White has named his 2022 tour the “The Supply Chain Issues World Tour”. As prices increase, political tensions intensify, and delivery delays get longer, it is clear that supply chains will experience a range of challenges in 2022.

Port congestion. Port congestion has been a challenge in recent years, as ships across the globe have had to wait in queues to get into ports, creating bottlenecks. According to Maersk, yard density at Bremerhaven was 131% and ships have to wait up to 10 days to berth at Felixstowe in the UK. Yard density at Prince Rupert in Canada was 113% and delays to berth see some ships having to wait between 38 and 45 days. This issue is sure to continue and even worsen through 2022.


Inflation. Inflation affects all aspects of the market, and supply chains are sure to be heavily affected. Supply chain challenges are known to be a cause of inflation, but now we see inflation affect the supply chain. As the supply of goods and services slowly deplete and struggle to satisfy the high demand, which continues to increase, prices are sure to increase while commodities decrease in availability.

Uncertainty regarding manufacturing. The pandemic, specifically the Omicron variant, has caused major uncertainty regarding the manufacturing of goods. As the Omicron variant caused harsher lockdowns across the globe, factories and manufacturers have had to slow down or completely stop business for the duration of the stricter regulations. The stricter regulations cause a decrease in production which results in a lack of goods as well as shipping delays. This also affects the marketing industry as marketing campaigns based on goods that are not available go to waste.

A shortage of labour and materials

A shortage of labour and materials. Due to quarantines around the world paired with crashing economies, supply chains in 2022 will be affected by less available labour. Millions of people across the globe have either quit their jobs or been retrenched due to the pandemic. Now the manufacturing sector has millions of unfilled jobs which will prove to be an obstacle in 2022. Unfilled job positions result in the operations of manufacturers being stunted. Supply chains will also be challenged by materials not being readily available. All major commodities have experienced a spike in price or its scarcity, which causes shortages.

Uncertainty of demand. Due to the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, it has become a challenge to successfully forecast demand. This will continue to affect supply chains throughout 2022 as data from the past two years is unreliable. What is sure is that consumers are sure to support the brands and suppliers they trust. This was seen over the festive season as out-of-stock messages increased. According to Adobe Analytics, out-of-stock messages increased by 172% when being compared to 2020.

Shipping delays will be blamed on courier companies. Regardless of the known supply chain challenges and challenges brought on by the pandemic, consumers still expect fast and safe shipping. According to Deloitte, at least 30% of consumers put the blame on couriers and delivery companies for delivery delays. When in fact, delivery delays are mainly due to port congestion, the labour shortage, and lockdowns across the globe. As these issues continue to affect the supply chain throughout 2020, consumers will continue to blame couriers and delivery companies for shipping delays.

Although this wide range of challenges has been forecasted to challenge supply chains this year, every cloud has a silver lining. The challenges provide an opportunity for supply chain leaders to rebuild the affected supply chains. To do so, supply chain leaders will need to successfully budget, use new and improved technologies, and elect people well suited for specific leadership positions.

Supply Chain Management – What 2022 holds for the Supply Chain and logistics industry

Supply Chain and logistics industry

The unprecedented risks and trials brought forth by COVID-19 has placed great pressure on managers within the logistics and supply chain industry. While most of the population was in lockdown, several logistics companies had to see to the deliveries of whole goods, foods, products and minerals against the backdrop of a shutdown infrastructure and slowing economy. Add to that issues of riots and looting (read about that here), many of these companies had to ‘get creative’ in how to move forward.

As the dust settles for what has been a trying 2021 year, it is clear that this industry – from house-to-house couriers to cargo flights and ships – is in need of greater efficiency and support in order to maintain supply in the face of possible disruptions in future.

In this blog we review what this industry can do to ensure that 2022 does not look as bleak as 2020 and 2021, especially in the face of increased COVID-19 cases globally. (Sky News, 2021).

supply chain management 2022

A few ways the supply chain management and logistics industry are set to change in 2022

Unleashed Software has published a report listing 10 major trends expected to emerge in 2022 for the SCM and logistics industry. Many of these trends will emerge as a consequence to the backlogs on deliveries and returns for retail shopping that companies and consumers alike, struggled with in 2021.

We have summarised three of these trends for you below. You can read the full article here: https://www.unleashedsoftware.com/blog/10-trends-in-supply-chain-management-logistics-for-2022


1.  Automated Vehicles and Robotics Equipment

As more companies gain access to the wonders of robotics and automated vehicles, the market is expected to explode within the next few years. Companies need automated services that are no longer just PC-based. The game now is to optimise time taken for mundane tasks such as packaging, stamping or sticking on labels with automation technology. Included in this is automated storage and retrieval, automated trucking and automated delivery.

Automated Vehicles and Robotics Equipment

2. Circular supply chains

Circular supply chains entail the sustainable aspect of logistics – giving both the company and the consumer the ability to reuse, recycle or resell goods. Unfortunately, the technology and infrastructure required for breaking down and reusing materials is not yet available. It is however believed that 2022 will be a defining year for mapping out and designing the intricacies and particulars of such a process.  What the circular supply chain could include in future is still unknown, but it has the potential to drastically reduce consumer-based waste.

Circular supply chains

3. Local expansion of warehouses, storage facilities and courier services

Sourcing logistics services locally offer lower risk during times of turmoil where freight is restricted or slowed down as a result of tightening of borders, provides better control of delivery turnaround times, reduced carbon emissions and offers better branding opportunities for organisations.

Multinationals are expected to focus on smaller, more concentrated areas, which will help the supply chains to continue functioning on land, within borders, should another global lockdown occur as experienced in 2020-2021. While international logistics services are still an important aspect of the global supply chain, the push for small, local businesses has been great, with communities looking to support their own rather than big multinational corporates – read more about that here.

Local expansion of warehouses, storage facilities and courier services

In conclusion, 2022 holds great promise and prosperity for the Supply Chain and logistics industry. More consumers are adopting online shopping, more businesses are in need of good logistics partners and more warehousing and supply chain management skills are required for businesses to develop and grow in local markets.

The future of these two industries is moving towards a technology-based system that encourages a more environmentally friendly approach to supply chain and logistics as a whole.

There is currently a worldwide shortage of supply chain management skills and a critical skills shortage in Sub-Saharan Africa. The IMM Graduate School has risen to the challenge by launching a BCom in International Supply Chain Management – the ideal qualification – as it positions IMM graduates to build a successful career in this industry. For more information visit our website.

The effects of social issues on the supply chain

The effects of social issues on the supply chain

While consumers might not consider it when doing a grocery run, there are many processes that go into delivering value to consumers. In 2021, the supply chains that service consumer markets involve many players and often span more than one country – if not more than one continent. The purpose of Supply Chain Management (SCM) is to improve the profitability of businesses by streamlining these processes. The supply chain has many aspects that need attention, not just the economic, technical and legal ones. The biggest of these is the growing ethical and social interest from consumers about how products are sourced, produced and delivered.

Moral Rules

Any product or process-related facets of a business that have an impact on human safety, well-being, and community development are considered to be social issues. Labor conditions, child labour, human rights, health and safety, minority empowerment (including marginalised groups), and gender are a few examples.

The Global Web Index confirms that consumer awareness around social and environmental issues is at an all-time high. NGOs and civil society are demanding ethical and accountable behaviour from corporate players and this mindset is beginning to reflect in consumer buying patterns as can be seen in the infographic below:

demanding ethical and accountable behaviour

As businesses begin to reimagine their chain of supply, the hope is (from a consumers perspective) is that this will lead to better standards of living, better working environments and guaranteed safety for workers globally which in turn should lead to a better world.

Ethical cunsumer

As companies start taking these social pressures more seriously, they should do so responsibly and with the right intentions. Consumers social expectations go further than just what stickers are placed on products and see through shallow brand promises made by those that just want to fill their pockets. What consumers want and expect from brands more than anything is long-term change and commitment.

While the average consumer may not have a full understanding of the intricacies of SCM, they certainly have their own subjective perceptions of businesses, suggests the Regent .

A Business Wire article further explains that consumers expect corporations to deliver goods and services and to deliver them against a commitment to ethical practices. Businesses who are ‘caught’ in controversy about the ethics of their operations face an inescapable reckoning across social and digital media platforms. Such controversies threaten to erode the consumer’s trust in the brand and with it their likelihood to purchase. For this reason, it is crucial that decision-making at all levels of the supply chain takes into account how best to address social issues.

At a surface level there appears to be great tension between the interests of external stakeholders who demand accountability and businesses whose goal is to improve profitability. Forbes suggests that if social issues are regularly considered in decision-making and processes in the supply chain, they can be a strength instead of a liability waiting to happen.

In conclusion, social issues should be factored into the SCM process in a way that attempts to balance the expectations of external and internal stakeholders. There are numerous ways in which this can be achieved, including through improved business reporting on corporate social responsibility (CSR), implementing codes of conduct, and collaborating with suppliers about social issues in a similar manner.

Developing a trust culture, fostering commitment, collaborating, and developing a solid foundation will be necessary for addressing social issues in the supply chain.

Logistics and Supply Chain Management when unrest hits South Africa

When unrest hits SA - IMM Blog Image

The recent unrest in South Africa and particularly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng demonstrates how fragile the local, national and international supply chain and pipelines are. After experiencing the continued onslaught of COVID-19, the latest and almost unabated riots, pillage and attacks on people and property have created even greater impacts on general life in South Africa as well as critical shortages of food, medication, vaccines, fuel and other vitals in many suburbs in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng. It goes without saying that political undercurrents can cause disruptions in sourcing, manufacturing and transportation in a supply chain, denying people of the fulfilment of much-needed physiological and security needs as per Maslow’s famous Hierarchy.


Supply chain management’s (SCM) solid foundation lies in logistics and the 13 activities pertaining thereto. Its main objectives are to get the right product, to the right place, to the right customer, in the right quantities, at the right price, in the right condition and very importantly the right time. When unexpected riots and mayhem occur, every single right is negatively affected because need-satisfying products and services cannot reach customers who have become deprived of possession utility, even though they have the means to pay for the offerings.


PicknPay Looting - IMM Blog Image


The thought of potential deprivation as a result of such havoc has the unpleasant consequence of herd behaviour, leading to Maslow’s hierarchy becoming almost meaningless as people procure not what they need but rather what they want. The resultant chaotic ‘feeding-frenzy’ behaviour plays into the hands of the perpetrators of the unrest as what little is left for the community to buy after the wake of the unmasked marauders’ looting, is selfishly purchased by inconsiderate consumers, without giving any thought to the elderly, the poor and needy, the infirmed and the shoppers behind them.


As mentioned above, because of the violent upheaval, the right products are not reaching desperate consumers and businesses resulting in even basic consumables such as bread, vegetables, milk, eggs and so on being deprived because of shortages at retail level and the hi-jacking of trucks trying their best to deliver their cargos.


The right places sadly have been burned down and destroyed and the content stolen not by the starving but by vandals who blindly obey those who are hungry for power. The right customers (in this case consumers and business owners) have been denied possession utility as the offerings are not being delivered to their retailers or even their homes (as a result of online buying), with the result that people are literally starving as the freebooters purposely and violently plunder the stores and transport trucks.


Because of the illegal actions of these uncaring ransackers, there is a dire dearth of food, mediation, fuel and essential services, resulting in the right quantities not being forthcoming, thereby providing selfish opportunists scope to charge what they will (up to R70 for a loaf of bread and R80 for a litre of petrol) … making a joke of getting offerings to customers at the right price. What does come through, when it does, is oftentimes of poor quality, especially perishable products such as fresh vegetables and fruit (not the right condition), which usually arrive late (if one is lucky), resulting in the products not arriving when customers need and want them.


Game Looting - IMM Blog Image

Although attempting to pen this comment is like shooting at a moving target, one thing is certain and that is the ramifications of this chaos, both social and financial, will be felt for years to come.


From a Supply Chain Management perspective, the once solid supply pipeline has become permanently fractured as offshore and onshore organisations ponder whether to operate under this fragile blanket of uncertainty, move offshore to a safer and more secure environment or even conduct business with South Africa at all. Either way, all South Africans will bear the brunt of escalating prices, longer and more uncertain lead times, input shortages and above all reputational damage that will take eons to heal.


Covid-19’s impact on supply networks is slowing down the fight against climate change

Solar Energy


covid-19Solar energy developers around the world are slowed down by a spike in the costs of materials, labour and transporting as the world economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic (read more about that here). . An Economic Times India article suggests the zero-emissions solar energy market is showing slower growth at a time when world governments are ramping up their efforts against climate change, and marks a reversal to growth after a decade of lowering prices. One of the greatest challenges to solar energy manufacturers is the soaring cost of steel, which has risen three times in the past year, not to mention the unsteady cost of transportation and the uncertainty of when materials will become available for manufacturing to continue. The pandemic has caused inflation to occur at a staggering rate and many industries are struggling to keep up.

What does this mean for climate change

An online poll by Power Technology readers showed that 54.1% believe a pandemic induced recession could hurt renewable energy development, which in turn, puts us further behind in addressing the climate crisis. With the Covid-19 outbreak hitting the global supply chain and single companies alike, renewable energy growth is expected to slow, with projects consistently being delayed or cancelled as a result. The consequence of this is globally the fight against climate change as per the Paris Agreement, will be put on hold for an extended period of time. While the pandemic has forced us to slow down, the rate of climate change has not. A Time article explains that “Every day, due to rising water levels, some part of the world must evacuate to higher ground.”


Climate Change

Demand for solar energy

The demand for solar energy is higher now than ever before. More countries are facing longer, hotter summers and the energy source itself can easily be distributed and rerouted into national electricity lines as Australia has already done. The booming demand for solar energy is however only as in demand as it is available and affordable. With the rising costs of solar energy materials and installations, more and more companies and individuals alike could turn it away for a longer period of time than what the earth can afford. Without renewable energy sources like solar energy, the world depends heavily on non-renewable sources like oil and coal. If we don’t act now, Octopus Energy predicts that global oil deposits will deplete by 2052 and coal and natural gasses are expected to last only until 2060 (read more here).


Global warming, pandemic

How the pandemic has affected global warming and in turn, slowed down supply chains

Global logistics industry leaders, EY, conducted a survey on the impact of Covid-19 on the industry and its effects on the job market. The report comes as no surprise that only 2% of companies surveyed stated they were fully prepared for the pandemic. 72% of those affected reported experiencing serious disruptions, while 17% reported significant disruptions (55% reported mostly negative effects). The graph provided by EY illustrates this finding.

Pandemic Chart

Although many employees were requested to work remotely, others – especially in factory settings – had to make new arrangements to ensure physical distancing and were required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). High-tech industries and industrial products manufacturers are investing heavily in technology to limit employee exposure to COVID-19.  Additionally, 47% of all companies reported workforce disruptions due to the pandemic. These are just a few examples of changes affecting supply chains across various sectors. Thus it’s unsurprising that more logistics companies are looking to further empower their labourers through reskilling to help the workforce readjust to the new normal the pandemic has forced the industry into. A Price Waterhouse and Cooper report from April 2020 suggests that there has been a global decline in transport activity and this in itself has forced many workers in the supply chain to be jobless for months on end due to lockdowns. However, in 2021 it is evident that the demand for at-home deliveries has increased.


The Covid 19 pandemic has put immense strain on the world’s resources. Solar energy production has not been spared. We are already in a race against time to reverse global warming. We must seek ways to shorten supply chains by sourcing locally available materials to create renewable energy sources that are  sustainable and more robust against something as unpredictable as a global pandemic. Who knows when the next one could hit.

Supply Chain Management trends in 2021 to take us to infinity and beyond

Supply chain Man image

The number one factor to impact, well anything, in 2020 was of course COVID-19. Supply chains were not spared. International trade ground to a halt with the volume of Global trade in May of last year down by 17.7% compared to the same month in 2019, economies crumbled and global GDP for 2020 contracted by an estimated 4.3% and Supply Chain Managers were throwing their demand forecasts out the window.


The global pandemic has both battered the supply chain industry and at the same time brought to the fore how vital it is. Discussions that revolved around lean management and the almighty JIT system have been replaced with finding ways to make supply chains more resilient to change and more agile so as to be able to adapt to unforeseen change more quickly.

Here is what the experts are predicting will trend in the supply chain management industry in 2021.

The rise of the machine

Robots don’t get sick (although they too are susceptible to viruses) they also have a number of other advantages over humans: they work faster, don’t need breaks, and make less mistakes. Amazon currently has over 200 000 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) moving stock around their warehouses. Drones are beginning to be used to make light deliveries and driverless trucks are about to come rumbling over the horizon. Development of these technologies will continue to grow.

Robot Image

But automation isn’t only about robots. It can come in the form of software too. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software or Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) are helping more and more SMEs go paperless and improve their supply chains.

AI will continue to develop, and process more big data allowing Supply Chain Managers to develop more efficient systems, and make more accurate projections as well as respond to changes faster – saving time and money.

There will be more ways to track, manage and report on the exact status of inventory with technologies such as GPS and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. These developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) arena will feed data to AI systems so that they can develop process models which in turn will enable the robots to make more autonomous decisions.

Other digital developments that are being repackaged for use in Supply Chain management are Smart Contracts, which are transaction protocols that are meant to be executed when certain conditions are met automatically. Wider adoption of blockchain, with research suggesting it can save the food and beverage industry $31 billion by 2024 alone.

Cloud-based technology will enable users to work from anywhere and will be especially beneficial to smaller organisations that cannot afford to invest in costly and extensive infrastructure.


What about the humans?

The humans will be at home, not because they have been replaced by robots but rather because the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many countries including South Africa enforcing strict lockdown periods. Many companies were forced to find ways to allow their employees to work from home and it is anticipated that this trend will continue. There are many advantages to working from home such as better work-life balance, increased productivity/better focus, less stress and avoiding the commute, to name a few. The lockdowns meant companies had to invest in infrastructures that could support remote working. There are of course also advantages for the organisations as they no longer have to facilitate a large staff contingency, and research has shown that contrary to initial fears, productivity as a whole increases when people work from home.

Human Image

SCM Dojo also predicts there will be more focus on employee development across the following 3 dimensions:

  • Technical Supply Chain Competencies (also includes Materials Management & Logistics)
  • Digital Supply Chain Knowledge, and
  • Soft Skills

The Age of Ecommerce is Upon Us

The combination of people being locked down and working from home resulted in an astounding jump in online retail purchases. Even helping to make Jeff Bezos the world’s first man with a net value of over $200 Billion. To put it another way ecommerce experienced 10 years of growth in just 3 months.

Ecommerce image

And this is not expected to slow down. In fact, a global growth rate of 8.1% is expected between 2020 and 2024 with Turkey in the lead with a 20.2% forecast.


Ecommerce 2

Source Statista

B2B online transactions will also grow and are expected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023.

Consumers will also increasingly turn to their social media platforms for retail therapy with recent developments such as Facebook’s and Instagram’s Shops.

Disaster-proof supply chains.

Remember at the beginning of last year when suddenly toilet paper became a rare commodity, or when SAB had to dump millions of litres of beer because of lockdown?

Shelves Image

These are two classic examples of the unexpected impact that COVID-19 had on supply chains. Supply chains are now being re-engineered to be more agile and able to respond to unforeseen circumstances more quickly.

Organisations are using AI and machine learning to develop models that can be used to predict future events and prepare for it.

Organisations are looking to supplier diversification to bolster their supply chain. What this means is they are hedging their bets between international and local suppliers to get the best balance of price, production capacity, shipping costs, lead times and quality so that if one channel closes down they can increase demand on the other.


2021 will mostly be about recovering from the whirlwind that was 2020. It’s time to take stock and build better, more robust, agile and diverse supply chains. We will do it using robots, powered by AI and informed by IoT while we work from home on cloud-based systems and keep the wheels of commerce turning with our online purchases. Necessity has forced us to find new and innovative ways to overcome the roadblocks the pandemic has put in front of us and now we are set to leverage these solutions as the trends in SCM in 2021. The future remains a mystery but two things we know for sure: The world will never be the same and whatever the future holds, Supply Chain Management will, as always, be at the centre of it all.

Supply Chain Meme

Are you interested in a career in Supply Chain Management? The IMM has a number of Supply Chain Management academic programmes and short courses to suite your requirements and your pocket. Visit our website for more details or call us on 0861 466 476 to speak to one of our consultants.

IMM Launches Brand New Supply Chain Management Qualifications

IMM Launches Brand New Supply Chain Management Qualifications

Never before has the active integration and coordination of superior supply chain activities, that provide the best value for customers, been as important as it is right now. As an unprecedented 2020 draws to a close, with an uncertain future for businesses across the globe, it has become abundantly clear that competent and proficient Supply Chain Management (SCM) is a major catalyst when it comes to sustainable economic growth.

With this in mind, the IMM Graduate School has added two brand new, cutting-edge SCM qualifications to their offering. What makes these new programmes significant is that they are accredited by the internationally recognised Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT); a first for any SCM qualification in South Africa. This offers valuable professional recognition worldwide.

The Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management is an introductory course (NQF 5) which provides students with a holistic understanding of both supply chain and business management. Along with the CILT accreditation, the Higher Certificate is also accredited and registered with the DHET/CHE/SAQA.

The BCom Honours in Supply Chain Management is the most up-to-date SCM qualification in the world, with modules that cover many never before inclusions, namely;

  • A brand new, uniquely tailored SCM Management Synchronisation and Orchestration model.
  • Additional SLC’s in terms of SCM services not found in traditional textbooks.
  • An entire chapter devoted to Supply Chain Analytics, including all the formulae pertaining thereto.
  • A customer-centric downstream approach, as opposed to upstream supply partners.
  • Artificial intelligence, digitalisation and blockchain technology which is collectively covered for the first time in any SCM qualification.

The BCom Honours also includes the design of brand new responsive organisational structures hinging on the fact that so many companies are now working remotely due to Covid-19, an integral part of a future-focused approach to SCM, that is really only coming to light as businesses start to react to new ways of managing their structures. Also new to this particular qualification is an entire Ethics and Risk Management module, again stemming from a new approach to Covid-19 business practices, that no textbook in the world has yet included.

Registration for both programmes is now open, so for more information or to register please visit imm.ac.za.

Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management

Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management

SAQA ID: 117683

Our Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management is an IMM Qualification on NQF level 5 and is quality assured by the Council on Higher Education (CHE). You have 12 months to complete the qualification although should you require it for whatever reason you may complete the qualification within 4 years.

Supply chain management is the management of the flow of materials, goods and services and includes the transformation process, which converts inputs such as materials and components into final products and services.

Logistics, which is an integral part of supply chain management, lies at the centre of almost every consumer requirement worldwide. In South Africa it is a scarce skill – the country is in drastic need of skilled talent in this field, with a shortage of somewhat 130 000 logistics managers recorded. One global study estimates that demand for supply chain professionals exceeds supply by six to one.

Once qualified you will have learnt the fundamental skills required to engage in the processes and inter relationships across the supply chain so as to create sustainable value for organisations. The Higher Certificate also provides you with a ‘foot in the door’ in a variety of industries that is desperate for these skills.

After completion of your Higher Certificate, you can continue your learning with IMM Graduate School and apply to do our BCom in International Supply Chain Management and then follow on with our BCom Honours in Supply Chain Management. Your learning path with IMM Graduate School is clearly laid out and will open many career opportunities for you.
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Qualification: NQF level 5. 135 credits
Duration: Min. 1 year. Max. 4 years.

Full qualification cost from:
R28 900*
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Programme Exit Level Outcomes

There are seven learning outcomes in this programme

  • Demonstrate an elementary understanding of literacy with respect to academic writing, technology, numeracy and communications.
  • Display an elementary but broad scope of knowledge in the field of Supply Chain and be able to link supply chain activities to the functioning of organisations.
  • Associate and describe within a business context the systems within which organisations operate and be able to link these to supply chain opportunities.
  • Explain the typical elementary methods and procedures involved in supply chain.
  • Explain the theories typically applied in the field of business management.
  • Solve elementary supply chain and business problems in organisations.
  • Access, process and apply elementary business information, considering ethical behaviour.


IMM Graduate School’s Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), the global body of international professionals for everyone who works within supply chain, logistics and transport.


The Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management is offered as a basic entry-level supply chain qualification at level 5 of the NQF (HEQSF aligned) and consists of 135 credits. The Higher Certificate in Supply Chain Management comprises seven modules:

  • Academic Literacy (15 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Business Management (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Business Numeracy (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of International Trade (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Operations Management (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management (20 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Transport and Logistics (20 credits)



Fees for Certificate Programmes SA Fee per module
New student registration fee (once-off payment) R2 100.00 (non-refundable)
Semester fee R750.00 (non-refundable)
Assessment fee per module R3 900.00
Professional Development fee R1 500.00

View other African country fees

* Assumes completion over a 1 year period and
** Prices subject to increases on an annual basis
* The above pricing applies to distance learning and excludes eTutorials and Contact Tutorials offered by the IMM Graduate School. For a complete breakdown of costing, please contact an IMM Graduate School regional office and we will be able to assist in providing you with a full cost breakdown.

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