Supply chain management is an intricate and challenging line of work. With multiple components of the whole system to pay attention to, it often might seem not worth the effort to invest too much time and resources into introducing high-tech solutions into it. However, the research shows otherwise.
According to surveys, around 79% of companies experience a significant gain in revenue thanks to a productive supply chain management. The constant pursuit of effectiveness and efficiency leads to the implementation of the latest technological advancements. While the adoption of the new tech might lead to the rise in expenses, it is also the best bet for the company to move to the forefront of the industry. Let’s take a look at the most impressive ways the innovation has already impacted the supply chain management as we know it.
Top 5 Best Use Cases of Innovative Tech in Supply Chain Management
Nowadays, technological trends often seem to turn into a popularity contest. The most well-known appear everywhere and may even get annoying. Although this might seem to be the case for some of the positions on our list, try to reserve your judgment. Take a look at real-life implementations of innovative ideas and the impact they have on respective industries.
1. AI, Machine Learning and Predictive Logistics
Although the concept of artificial intelligence appeared in the early 1980s, the technology has seen significant development and widespread interest only in the last decade. Algorithms that allow to analyze extremely large arrays of data and discover the objective patterns have proven to be helpful in numerous industries, including customer support, various manufacturing platforms, and even finances.
There are multiple examples of the potential use of AI in logistics. Some are used to manage warehouses; others are focused on predicting certain parameters for efficient decision making and risk mitigation. A good illustration of this is a tool developed by DHL. They have focused on predictive network management for air freight. It analyzes over 50 different parameters, including the departure day and the specific airline performance, to estimate the transit delays. With up to one week worth of time, potential setbacks can be sufficiently reduced.
2. Blockchain – Open and Secure Way to Handle Exchanges
Blockchain is a leading technology when it comes to transparent, secure, and instantaneous transactions. Although cryptocurrency is the most well-known use of the tech, it’s definitely not the limit.
While blockchain is a fairly new technology, it has already had a major impact on one of the shiniest industries in the world – the diamond industry. De Beers, one of the biggest diamond suppliers in the world, has adopted it as a way to easily connect all the elements of the supply network, from the mine to the jewelry store. Not only does it save time and money for everyone involved, it virtually eliminates the possibility of forgery and a notorious blood diamond industry as a whole.
3. Internet of Things
The bigger and the more branched the supply chain is, the more difficult it is to control different parts of it. Having a network of devices that collect and exchange information on the fly is undoubtedly a helpful tool to change that. That’s why IoT has been one of the most revolutionary innovations for supply chain management and logistics in particular.
IoT has changed the game for some of the biggest companies in the world. In a number of select warehouses, Amazon employees use IoT-based monitoring systems to provide Wi-Fi connected robots with directions that allow them to retrieve the correct goods from the storage and place the cargo that is put into storage onto designated shelves. Auto manufacturing conglomerates, like Volvo and Nissan, track the car parts they purchase with the help of linked sensors. Furthermore, multiple harbors and train stations are adopting multifunctional sensors to improve the way they handle cargo.
4. Heavy Lifting Robots
Recent developments in robotics are aimed to aid people with either incredibly precise or simply monotonous tasks. While the machinery still requires supervision, the robots are already incredibly helpful in a number of industries. Supply chain management is among the ones that benefit the most, as it often requires a lot of heavy cargo manipulation.
As it was in the mentioned case of Amazon, the robotics can often be paired with IoT and AI for the best performance. FedEx, a delivery company, is implementing similar tech for inventory and delivery management. However, in addition, they install in-store robots to improve the customer experience as well.
5. Custom Logistics Software
Although the software is an incredibly broad class of supporting tools, it becomes much narrower after being customized according to the company needs. There are pre-made logistics solutions but they would never be as precise and detailed as a custom one. In general, such software could include the following additional functionality:
- Scheduling tools;
- Order tracking;
- Network modeling;
- Various optimization tools;
- Financial operation modules;
- Data gathering and management.
Custom software can also be used to control every other innovative solution you have. It is especially helpful if the software is suitable for mobile access – you’d be able to make informed decisions anytime and anywhere. This unifying solution is rather difficult to develop. Artelogic is one of the companies that offer the services of such software development.
In our modern society, technology has a considerate impact on every part of our lives. However, a lot of people are still afraid to deal with something they are not familiar with. Change and innovation are an important part of evolution and progress, which is why you should do your best to embrace it.
Supply chain management software is a perfect example of such a dynamic. There are ways to create a sustainable plan and stick to it without any use of modern technology. However, it would be a limiting and less rewarding strategy. On the other hand, if you’re fast enough to exploit the newest technological trends, you might have enough time to gain a significant edge over your competitors. All in all, if you want to succeed – accept new ideas and invest in modernization!