How are emerging technologies transforming the supply chain?

Technology is improving every day and it is affecting every part of the society including businesses. The increasing use of technology in supply chain has had transforming effects on the market system around the world. As Dave Waters said, “Machine Learning will revolutionize supply chain automation.” And it has. The need for real-time tracking and accurate delivery systems makes supply chain management ripe for technological innovation and such innovation is drastically improving supply chain managements around the world.

In fact, Accenture in 2018 suggested that a majority of industry professionals (70%) predict that the supply chain will be a key driver of better customer service before the end of 2020 and such leveraging new technologies are key in this competitive industry. Since supply chain is the backbone of any business, these technologies are an important part of supply chain for improvement and better services.

There are many technologies that have emerged during the past years, some of them are:

  • Inventory management
  • Real time logistics
  • Internet of Things
  • Big data and analytics
  • Blockchain
  • Mobile technology. Etc.

While there many other technologies that can revolutionize supply chain, these are some that have been consider as crucial to the transformation. In fact, 81% of supply chain managers’ report that data analytics will be crucial when it comes to reducing costs and 75% of large manufacturers are looking to update supply chain operations using IoT and analytics-based situational awareness.

Technology is transforming the way we run our business and how we supply our products and services. Here are ways by which the emerging technologies are transforming the supply chain: –

  1. Better efficiency and transparency in the system.

An important part of supply chain in maintaining efficiency along with reducing cost. In fact, 24.7% of professionals report that the biggest supply chain management challenge for B2C eCommerce companies is delivery costs. Various technologies can help this dilemma by reducing cost but also improving the supply chain. Most shippers want to be able to answer the question, “When exactly will my delivery arrive?” and integrating new technologies will make answering that question much easier.

Handheld mobile devices can deliver wireless proof of delivery and real time transportation monitoring, which can help managers discover and address operational anomalies. The use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology continues to provide easy-access dashboard visibility of supply chain operations, helping leaders to identify inefficiencies in commercial operations and improve accordingly. A Statista, 2021 report suggests that 37.15% of businesses want to invest more in systems to automate risk identification and issue resolution.
2. Tighter Communication and Community.

It’s not hidden that flexible communication channels within all aspects of the supply chain can increase employee productivity and boost morale. As when employees are connected through many stages of the supply chain, workers likely feel more fulfilled and operations often run more smoothly. Under  BCI a supply chain market report says that 63% of organizations have no tech systems in place for monitoring supply chain performance and this adversely effects their operations. Enterprise technology systems and strategic workforce management can help many companies to improvise their communication better when it comes to supply chain. In fact, according to a supply chain market analysis, 19% of companies that roll out SCM initiatives leverage machine learning to boost forecast accuracy.

3. Internet of Things and Vehicle to Everything changes.

The Internet of Things and Vehicle-to-Everything are technologies that are used to connect the vehicle to other vehicles and the cloud during delivery. These technologies could work together to go far beyond ELDs. These networks of technology could improve safety in numerous ways, monitor drivers’ health, assist with lane changes and more as information is passed between a vehicle and the road, traffic light, crosswalk as well as other signs.

GlobalTranz says that shippers can minimize freight invoice payments by 90-95% if they utilize a transportation management system. However, only 35% of shipping companies utilize transportation management systems for their overall SCM strategies.

4. Leveraging Artificial and Augmented Intelligence.

According to Inbound Logistics, More than half of the G2000 manufacturing companies say they will rely on AI for their supply chain management initiatives before 2024. But at the same time, 46% of organizations don’t use AI at all for their operations while 50.1% report limited usage.

We are already witnessing pioneering changes like predictive optimization, automated warehouse picking systems, and long-term sustainable solutions but when combined with Augmented Intelligence, it is expected to lead to human intelligence like the comprehensive experience of supply chain planners, responsibility, flexibility, and devotion to customers. This integration will automatically reduce labour intensity, save time and cost and get the job done faster.

5. Growing beyond a bunch of industries.

Statistics suggests that by 2025, the average spending for employees for SCM software will likely be at $8.08 and this will not be limited to some industries. It’s not just the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry but almost every minor or major sectors such as pharmaceuticals, groceries, and automotive apparel are using supply chains today.

Therefore, technologies are helping the market to go beyond some niche industries and help improve even the smallest of industry with their supply chains. It has transformed from a linear to a more integrated one where information flows in an omnidirectional manner. This improves the efficiency of the e-commerce sector and assists brick and mortar stores more seamlessly than ever.

According to GEODIS, The technologies that are becoming a priority in the supply chain industry are data analysis (41%), IoT (39%), cloud computing (39%), and info security (31%). In addition, there are also those interested in predictive analytics (29%), apps (25%), 3D printing (22%), robotics (22%), drones (20%), mobile production units (19%), blockchain (18%), and cognitive robotics (17%). All the technologies together are transforming the supply chain systems of the world to great heights.

The existing supply chain industry must continue to harness the power of cutting-edge technology to have long-term sustainability. Given that every company has specific supply chain goals, it is crucial to have forward-thinking leadership and a skilled workforce to eliminate the complexities of the supply chain.