Supply Chain

Important supply chain technologies for better supply chain management

The world of business is constantly evolving, and as such, the needs and expectations of customers are also in a state of flux. This, in turn, is driving changes in the market as a whole. Moreover, recent times have witnessed unprecedented fluctuations in economies, adding another layer of complexity to the already dynamic business environment.

What this means is that manufacturing businesses need to optimize their processes to cope with all variables in a dynamic marketplace. Agility is the key to success in the current business scenario. One of the most effective ways to adapt to all variations is digital transformation.

Innovative technologies have helped many businesses become agile and benefit from a competitive advantage. Supply chains, which are the crux of any manufacturing unit, can benefit from what technology has to offer.

How can supply chains benefit from innovative technology?

Technology can support end-to-end supply chain management for better business outcomes. Automation technologies like AI and ML can identify patterns, detect anomalies, and enhance such outcomes.

Agility is the hallmark of an efficient supply chain. Innovative technologies pave way for an agile supply chain with minimal disruptions. Technology offers flexibility that enables businesses to cope with varying customer demands and unexpected changes in the market.

Technology facilitates data-driven decision-making for better outcomes.

Innovative technologies offer visibility into the supply chain which not only helps enhance customer experience but also helps businesses capture new markets.

The sudden spurt of growth in the e-commerce sector has posed new challenges in scalability and network efficiency. Technology can easily resolve these issues.

These are some ways in which technology can enhance the efficacy of the supply chain.

Let us deep dive into which technologies can improve supply chain management:

1. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT helps optimise operations by providing real-time tracking. IoT sensor data can streamline activities on the production floor. IoT also facilitates seamless freight and fleet management. 

Real-time logistics tracking with IoT sensors reduces instances of lost shipments and misplaced inventory.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML)

AI, and ML, along with the power of predictive analytics can automate warehouse operations, drastically reduce delivery times, and optimise inventory management and strategic sourcing. All these aspects enhance customer experience and boost sales.

AI and ML algorithms can parse through large volumes of structured and unstructured data and provide insights at the granular level.

The predictive analytics feature of AI helps minimise costs and provide  better customer experience.

3. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA bots have been a part of supply chain management for years. They have performed tasks like moving materials throughout the warehouse and accomplishing fulfilment goals.

When AI is integrated with RPA, the capabilities of the bots increase multifold. AI-powered bots can perform several manual tasks, like picking and packing orders, with minimal human intervention.

RPA, AI, ML, and IoT work together for sophisticated and precise supply chain automation. New age “cobots” or collaborative robots pave the way for man-machine collaboration for efficient supply chain management.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain can create a well-established record of transactions wherein nothing is lost or altered. This helps build trust in shared supplier information. Blockchain technology is more efficient in establishing audit trails than basic electronic record keeping.

What makes blockchain a go-to technology for supply chain management is its track-and-trace application that accurately documents the chain of custody of goods. Tracking helps identify counterfeit items and frauds, determine at-risk suppliers, offer visibility around sourcing, and has other benefits as well.

The growing need for supply chain transparency coupled with enhanced security has propelled the widespread adoption of blockchain in the supply chain. Data reveals that “The global Blockchain Supply Chain market size is projected to grow at a CAGR of 53.2% and reach $ 3272 million by 2026.”

5. Digital Twin

The digital twin technology helps businesses optimise their supply chain based on real-time data. A digital twin is a simulation model of the existing supply chain that replicates the current performance of the supply chain. The response of the digital twin to various inputs can be tracked in real-time. This helps businesses make informed decisions quickly. Digital twin makes the supply chain agile by enabling the team to respond to fluctuations as and when they occur. 

The potential of digital twin technology to minimise costs and optimise the supply chain has facilitated its fast-paced growth. It is forecast that the digital twin market will reach $ 73.5 billion by 2027.

Although not exhaustive, this is a list of some of the major technologies that are reshaping the supply chain ecosystem.

*For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

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