Modern technologies are heralding the next era in supply chain management. Today, as technology has blurred lines between the digital and physical worlds, erasing traditional organizational boundaries, supply chains have become more efficient and resilient.
The confluence of different technologies has driven the digital revolution in the supply chain industry.
Below are the most influential technologies transforming traditional supply chains
Supply Chain Analytics
As automation and advanced analytics continue to accelerate, they will help businesses with agile supply chain management. Leveraging big data, algorithms, robotics, predictive and prescriptive analytics, supply chain managers are achieving data-driven decision-making, greater visibility, predictability, execution efficiency, and profitability. Below are some reasons why analytics will continue to serve as a critical component in supply chain management.
- With the help of analytics, businesses can collect, evaluate, and act upon the data generated by their supply chains.
- Companies can identify risks and optimize their operations accordingly.
- They can make immediate and long-term adjustments to gain a competitive advantage.
- Businesses can analyze data to predict what customers will order.
- They can efficiently manage their inventory.
- Accurate demand forecasting eliminates overspending on procurement.
As global supply chains continue to generate massive amounts of data every year, supply chains are becoming increasingly complex to maintain. As we advance, the digitization of global supply chains through massive IoT adoption and paperless systems will help businesses in the following ways.
- Enhance transparency
- Demolish silos
- Improve responsiveness
- Increase the efficiency of supply chain ecosystems
Internet of Things
This technology is changing how delivery and fulfillment companies are conducting their operations. With IoT, companies can easily track goods, their storage conditions, and when they will arrive at a specific location.
This technology can change inventory and logistics in the following ways.
- With the help of asset tracking, companies can make better decisions and improve asset utilization.
- Businesses can streamline supply availability and inventory.
- They can make their work environments safer and more reliable.
- They can reduce costs while saving time.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
These technologies can deliver unprecedented value to businesses in the supply chain industry as we move deeper into 2022. From risk mitigation to reduced operational redundancies to supply chain forecasting, AI and ML can help the industry in a big way. Some of the most significant implications of AI in the industry will be:
- Supply chain managers can predict unforeseen abnormalities and building-up bottlenecks.
- Due to AI’s accurate predictions and quantification of expected outcomes, optimal alternatives can be scheduled when interruptions occur.
- These technologies assist supply chain managers with important decisions using cognitive predictions and recommendations.
- Manufacturers can gain complete visibility of the entire supply value chain.
- Businesses can get actionable insights to drive timely decisions.
- It allows businesses to maintain optimum stock levels to avoid ‘stock-out’ and overstocking issues.
- It improves operational efficiencies.
This technology has been around for more than two decades, but businesses have been hesitant to migrate their systems to the cloud. In 2022, several supply chain companies will move to the cloud shedding their hesitations. Cloud migration is a smart move for this complex industry due to the following reasons.
- It enables businesses to make quick decisions and communicate effectively.
- Businesses can closely track a product throughout its lifecycle.
- Cloud management solutions offer real-time accuracy and 360-degree management of products.
- It allows businesses to scale without the need to overhaul their entire system.
- New software can be implemented quickly within existing systems.
- The onboarding process of new trade partners presents significant challenges to supply chain managers. It takes months to merge large volumes of data into internal IT systems. Cloud computing makes this process a lot easier.
- Companies can monitor delivery networks and prioritize slow-moving shipments using geoanalytics.
- It facilitates better collaboration in supply chains for product development optimization, market expansion, and cost reduction.
Today’s customers are very conscious of their choices. They want to know where the different parts of their products come from. But supply chains are very complex, consisting of millions of people and other elements. Therefore, they suffer from many problems, such as:
- Complicated record keeping.
- Difficult tracking of products.
Blockchain can revolutionize the supply chain industry in the following ways:
- Easy record keeping and provenance tracking.
- The ability to track products in a supply chain reduces the overall cost of moving items.
- It can help establish trust by preventing tampering.
- Improved inventory management.
- Issues can be identified quickly.
Technology is constantly evolving, with innovators coming up with novel solutions every year. The below technologies have already found applications in different industries, and the day is not too far when they will disrupt the supply chain industry.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMR)
These devices can be programmed to perform tasks with minimal to zero human intervention.
They can be programmed with AI to learn from their surroundings and make independent decisions. These autonomous devices can define the supply chain of the future by:
- Improving speed and accuracy of routine operations.
- Increasing efficiency.
- Reducing risks and errors.
- Reducing frequency of inventory checks.
Autonomous Mobile robots can assist humans in the following tasks:
- Optimizing picking, sorting, and storing
- Truck collaboration.
- Providing access to difficult or dangerous locations.
The covid-19 pandemic brought several supply chain issues to the surface. Some of the most critical issues were – ensuring timely deliveries, ensuring continuity of services during unpredictable times, keeping humans safe, etc.
That’s when businesses started thinking of drone technology as a possible solution. These flying devices can change product and service deliveries in the following ways:
- They can efficiently deliver in urban areas with heavy traffic congestion.
- They can ensure security surveillance of factories and warehouses.
- They help ensure the integrity of terminals, yards, and warehouse roofs.
- They can be handy for inventory audits.
The future of supply chain management will depend significantly on modern era innovations. The innovations listed in the article help businesses address contemporary problems with current strategies. If you haven’t started using one or some of these technologies yet, now is the time to start planning for technology investment and upgradation.