How Technology Can Improve Supply Chain Management

In today’s competitive marketplace, inefficiency has less space, but the good news is that supply chain management technology will help you automate and optimise the business processes. That’s why it’s critical for businesses to keep innovating and streamlining their supply chains, with technology likely providing the most value.

What are supply chain technologies?

Any digital equipment used to automate supply chain operations for shippers and carriers is referred to as supply chain technology.

Integration of several disjointed systems, such as application programming interface (API) and electronic data interchange (EDI) systems, third-party packaging, shipping, and logistics software, order management, inventory management, supplier relationship management, global trading, and compliance management is needed for digital supply chain transformation. Simply digitising these processes would not solve the problem.

Why is technology important in the supply chain?

With the right service supply chain technology, you can gain more insight into your supply chain, gain more leverage over your inventory, lower operating costs, and, eventually, outperform your competitors. To ensure minimal disruption and economic value loss, businesses must adjust rapidly and re-architect their supply chains. Significant time and effort is required to introduce technology to restructure supply chains.

How can technology improve supply chain management?

To ensure agility, increase quality, and boost performance, supply chain companies need innovative technologies.

“Digital transformation of supply chains is still in relatively early stages and is no longer a “nice to have” capability. The next generation of winning companies will be defined by their supply chain innovation as much as product innovation.” – Prashanth Cherukuri, Managing Director (Technology coverage) at Piper Sandler, as recently quoted in Forbes.

Enhancing supply chain productivity

Worker efficiency will be critical for supply chain and warehouse businesses to keep up with consumer demand and growth. As a result, supply chains must choose a mobile operating system (OS) that is tailored for supply chain processes as well as user experience.

Businesses can use compatible applications to move current Telnet and web apps to Android, iOS, and Windows 10 quickly and safely. This ensures that supply chains can pick and select which devices to use within their networks. This will have the same view and user experience across all devices, maximising worker efficiency and accuracy while reducing downtimes and onboarding times and ultimately keep customers happy.

Voice-enabled solutions

Many warehouses are experimenting with voice-enabled technology to help them operate better, quicker, and more effectively in order to keep up with demand.

To get the most out of voice-enabled technologies, companies should look for a rollout that is simple and fast, with little to no downtime and minimal employee training. A good solution will also be flexible and adaptable enough to scale up or down as required. Voice technologies give warehouses the resources they need to respond rapidly to unexpected spikes in customer demand and propel their companies into the future of supply chains.

The rise of Industrial IoT

IoT devices are linked to the internet and thus to one another.  It allows them to communicate and exchange data without the need for human interference. The communication they provide will enable real-time inventory visibility and asset monitoring as products travel down the chain. Predictive maintenance of machinery and equipment to avoid unplanned downtime allow employees to concentrate on higher-value responsibilities, and early detection of issues caused by goods getting lost or delayed.

Read more about Digital Transformation in Manufacturing: IoT and Industry 4.0.

What are the emerging technologies in SCM?

For decades, the ability to reduce costs was the pinnacle in supply chain management. This objective is now combined with consumer loyalty, productivity, and long-term sustainability.

Here are some of the latest supply chain management technological developments, tools, and innovations:

Big data: Companies can use data science and analytics to obtain useful insights and revolutionise supply chain management. In supply chain management, big data adds value and assistance to quality control, cash flow, real-time deployment and warehouse performance. As well as weather patterns, forecasting techniques, inventory, supply, and demand.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning: For supply chain optimisation, AI and machine learning construct completely or semi-automated processes and procedures. Optimisation improves forecasting, planning, implementation, and maintenance in logistics. This is achieved by using AI and machine learning to emulate human performance and knowledge. 

Internet of things (IoT): The IoT increases visibility and connectivity, while also reducing costs. Wearables and mobile devices are especially useful in warehouse settings, allowing managers to securely track inventory and monitor equipment. 

5G: When suppliers aren’t linked, getting real-time data is difficult. Without 5G, supply chain visibility becomes sporadic. Third-party logistics is made possible by 5G’s multi-gigabit per second peak speeds, ultra-low latency, and huge storage bandwidth. This elevates mobile networks. 5G links people, computers, things, and devices, high-level performance, improved productivity, as new user experiences become available.

The Cloud: Companies monitor supplies and goods, receive real-time alerts, and notify consumers of order status at any point in the end-to-end supply chain. All of this is made possible by cloud computing. Cloud-based applications improve data storage capacity, integration, security, and knowledge sharing, among other things.

Advanced supply chain management software: Supply chain software becomes more complicated as technology progresses, enabling businesses to keep ahead of errors, make changes to orders, connect through multiple media networks, and automate shipping.

To stay competitive, fulfill orders, and meet consumer needs, businesses must consider the future of solutions. Agility is essential for surviving the pandemic and adjusting to an unpredictable future, regardless of what happens.

Supply chain and freight startups disrupting the industry

For example, a Madrid and Amsterdam-based startup, Twinco Capital, just raised €3 million in funding for their supply chain finance solution that includes purchase order funding. In a recent interview with TechCrunch, Twinco Capital co-founder and CEO Sandra Nolasco explains: “The financing of global supply chains is expensive and inefficient, the burden of the cost is mostly borne by the suppliers and in particular by those that are SMEs in emerging markets.” 

Additionally, a digital-first freight-forwarding company, Zencargo, has raised £30 million to expand internationally. The platform has digitised a process which happens traditionally offline involving paper and faxing, which is prone to mistakes. Also over- and under-supply based on sales and typically hard to analyse because of a lack of centralised information.

In conclusion

It’s important to remain ahead of the competition by adapting to new tools on a regular basis. Supply chain technology will boost the company’s efficiency by lowering costs and increasing customer loyalty.

A bright future in supply chain management necessitates substantial technical investment, but not just in terms of materials. Organisations fall short without dedicated human resources for data teams. This is because, in addition to introducing new technologies, supply chain data teams have a variety of complex benefits. They carefully evaluate data, generate observations, and make growth recommendations in the sense of the company’s needs.

To learn more about Appello’s end-to-end solution for service supply chain logistics contact us today. 

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