Transform Your Supply Chain Business Using Technological Innovations

Supply chain management has undergone a significant transformation in the last decade. This is due to the many technological innovations that have managed to reduce costs and enhance operational efficiency in the industry. 

Keeping up with the latest advancements in technology is no longer becoming a choice, but a must and is the key to standing out from your competitors. 

In this article, we’ll discuss more about the latest technological innovations that have transformed the supply chain industry and which ones you should add to your business. 

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Integrations

AI automation and Machine Learning (ML) allow supply chain leaders to achieve higher accuracies in demand forecast. Supply chain businesses are using them for capturing and forecasting demand for your products. Did you know that 37% of supply chain businesses are using popular technological innovations like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve their supply chain efficiency, or consider using it in the next 24 months?

Supply and production planning processes will run automatically on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. However, things can change instantly, and supply chain businesses are required to redefine their plans when this happens. 

ML algorithms are responsible for this part and can analyze the supply chain’s cumulative status daily, making the necessary adjustments where needed. Instead of having to redefine the plan and wasting endless time doing so, ML algorithms will automatically do the work for you. 

Moreover, AI integration is great for optimizing supply chain operations and providing you with advanced data analytics that includes: 

  • Predictive Analytics: Optimizes inventory levels and uses historical data for predicting demand and any disruptions in the supply chain. This is done through the usage of AI and ML models that incorporate internal datasets, customer orders, and external signals for achieving better forecast accuracy and improving your planning options. 
  • Risk management: There are thousands of internal and external risks that come and go through in your supply chain. Risk management is great for continuously monitoring internal and external risk parameters via “Risk prediction networks.” This helps in detecting anomalies, prescribing mitigations, and conducting simulations. 
  • Supply chain visibility: Integrate signals from suppliers, IoT devices, and different partners where AI engines can identify and analyze weak signals, taking real-time action when needed. 

Excessive stock and stockouts are a common problem amongst many businesses. On one hand, excessive stock can cause your business major losses in the long term, and stockout on the other hand, can ruin your brand reputation and brand loyalty. AI and ML capabilities are helping you get rid of excessive stock, minimize stockouts, and reduce costs by optimizing your working capital. 

Internet of Things (IoT) for equipment maintenance 

IoT allows real-time connectivity, communication, and data exchange among devices, sensors, and all objects that lie in the supply chain via the Internet. IoT devices are used for managing your supply chain processes in real time through the Internet. 

You’ve probably also heard about self-driving cars. Well, this has been possible through the help of IoT solutions that are used in logistics and supply chain operations. IoT creates networks that involve human interactions. “Live Data” is powered by the IoT ecosystem that will serve in every supply chain process. 

With the help of IoT, businesses can track their asset movements in real-time. Not only does this improve supply chain efficiency, but also reduces costs. 

These connected sensors can show you the following: 

  • Inventory levels: With the help of RFID and GPS technology, you can track shipments and monitor inventory levels to avoid excessive stock, or running low on inventory. 
  • Equipment availability and maintenance: Monitors all environmental conditions, making sure that all your equipment complies with industry standards and is high-quality. Also, IoT monitors which equipment is available for use in real-time, predicting any equipment failures and reducing downtimes. The app to equipment maintenance management allows you to track your assets and improve your team’s accountability. Also, it also informs you of available equipment and faulty ones.
  • Warehouse storage conditions: Monitoring important parameters that include humidity, temperature, availability, and other important environmental conditions that affect your equipment. 

The available information allows managers and executives to analyze trends and make much more informed decisions. Staying updated with your assets’ locations and allows fleet managers to take action instantly. 

Battery intelligence software 

Battery intelligence software plays an important role when it comes to innovating your supply chain process. Many fleet managers are starting to face new challenges when it comes to keeping up with innovations in their industry. Modern vehicles are going full electric and being controlled by battery management systems (BMS). 

By 2035, the European Parliament has voted to ban selling diesel and petrol vehicles. Due to this newest regulation, many fleet managers are now obligated to focus more on making their electric vehicles (EVs) last longer. BMS is responsible for monitoring all the important factors that contribute to an EVs longevity. 

The Battery Analytics tab that is part of the BMS will show you all the information you need, such as the charge status, the temperature of the battery, how long it will last, and inform you of what factors will negatively affect the longevity of the EV. 

BMS is a great innovation for your supply chain business since it helps all your EVs last longer, and will give you recommendations on what type of changes you need to make. 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for eliminating manual inputs

Repetitive tasks can get the best out of you, and it just makes the margin for error go higher over time. In fact, even though robotics can’t be 100% accurate, they still have a smaller margin of error of 3% compared to humans who have a higher chance of making mistakes when completing repetitive tasks. 

Let’s dive deeper into learning more about how RPA streamlines the supply chain process: 

  • Order Processing and Payments: Robotic Process Automation optimizes order processing by extracting data from different order types, minimizing errors, and making the order entry process much simpler.
  • Onboarding new partners: With the help of Intelligent bots, you can onboard new partners much faster compared to manually doing it on your own. 
  • Invoicing: During the invoicing process, RPA automates calculations, extraction, data entry, and makes sure that the billing information is accurate. Errors in the invoicing process can lead to financial losses. 
  • Procurement and inventory: RPA automates the data entry process for inventory management, and makes sure your products are ready for sale with the least amount of errors possible. 
  • Customer Service: RPA improves the customer service process by automatically sending out responses to any customer requests or change, and automatically updating your organization’s database. 

More and more organizations are thinking of using RPA in their daily tasks, mostly to avoid repetitive tasks. Not only will the customer get much more value through RPA services, but the good news is that you’ll have more time to complete other tasks, and fewer costs to worry about. 

Blockchain 

Blockchains help organizations understand their supply chains on a deeper level and engage their customers with real and verifiable data. With the help of smart contracts, blockchain technology can help supply chain businesses in the following ways: 

  • Transparency in the provenance of consumer goods: Builds trust with key data points by showing claims and certifications. After this is done, you now have open access to the data publicly. All information is updated in real-time. 
  • High accuracy in asset tracking: Improves your operational efficiency by visualizing and mapping out your enterprise supply chain. Blockchains help your supply chain business by engaging customers with real data. 
  • Enhanced ownership of your products and services: When you use blockchain technology, you can tokenize your asset, meaning that your token will represent the value of a stakeholder’s stake in a certain object. Tokens are tradeable, and the great news is that you can transfer ownership without having to physically be there. 

Implementing private, public, and hybrid blockchains brings much more accountability and transparency into moving your goods and commodities. 

Furthermore, a common problem many manufacturers face is recalls. Blockchain helps you track your products wherever they are in real-time, so this means that recalling costs you less and is more efficient. A traceable supply chain not only leads to more efficient recalls but also reduces time consumption. 

Technology is completely changing the supply chain process

Technological innovations have come so far and changed the way our supply chain business operates. Technological advancements can optimize the operational efficiency of supply chains, reduce costs by a huge margin, improve customer satisfaction, and even give you a huge competitive edge over the rest. 

The online world right now is so competitive, and if you don’t keep up with the latest technologies, your competitors will be a step ahead of you. Therefore, make all of these innovations part of your supply chain business and you’ll start seeing a positive transformation in your business sooner than you may think. 

About The Author: 

Tony Ademi is a freelance SEO content and copywriter. He has been in the writing industry for four years and has managed to write over 600 SEO-optimized articles; Many, which have ranked #1 on Google. Tony’s primary concern when writing an article is to do extensive research and ensure that the reader is engaged until the end.