October 29, 2019

The Success of Supply Chain Management Hinges on a Practical Automation System

Supply chain management is a continually evolving business arm. Supply chain managers can longer consider supply chain automation to an optional strategy. Competition is fierce, and you can’t afford to leave things to chance. Not that you would want to ignore opportunities, but it is certainly easy to put off business activities we’ve been avoiding. We must drive the point that automation is going to elevate your business in ways that you couldn’t have previously imagined.

Automation creating more advantages

The reason that we tend to put business automation on the backburner is that we don’t always understand how it works, what it’s capable of, and the difficulties associated with implementing a new program. Setting our worries aside, the risks of implementing supply chain automation do not outweigh the rewards. In fact, the opposite is more accurate.

How automation changes the logistics game

Automation allows you to leverage the power of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data logging, circumstance monitoring, and data collection and analysis. Understanding how these processes can work with the supply chain may remove some barriers to participation among logistics and transportation companies all over the world. Doing so allows you to take advantage of the efficiencies created down the entire supply chain.

What is preventing automation?

Uncertainty is the primary concern among supply chain managers and business owners. Online big-box retailers, like Walmart and Amazon, created a demand and frenzy among shoppers and shippers all across the globe.

You would think that with the big players adopting automation may trickle down to the smaller organisations. Unfortunately, that has not happened. Instead, we are seeing transport and shipping providers freeze up instead of move forward.

Barriers to participation are related to investment and evaluation

Some experts believe that leaders struggle with the difficulties in making an investment option. With so many companies offering automation services, it can be difficult for an organisation, even one that has been in operation for years, to make a decision when it comes to deploying a new system.

Today’s executives are not always prepared to evaluate new technologies. Criteria that matters may not even be factored into the decision at all. And since no manager or business owner wants to take on that kind of financial risk, we see more individuals waiting for some direction or sign that points them in the right direction.

Take action to avoid slowing down

Unfortunately, no such sign seems to stand out at the moment. Again, this sentiment brings us back to the concept that automation is critical to the success of your supply chain management. You must consider that type of value it creates and the opportunity costs you are incurring at the moment.

Activate your competitive side with automation tools

The future has arrived. We are seeing machines, robots, computers, and software programs manage our warehouses from top to bottom. While no machine can ever replace humans entirely, automation is an excellent solution for providers who want to gain the upper hand.

Doing so also allows your company to directly compete with the major corporate players of the online retail world, as we mentioned before. It may seem unfair, but your potential and current customers judge your services by these standards, and you have to leverage automation to level the playing field with the big guys.

Avoid misplacing blame on volume

Amazon, Target, and Walmart are so efficient and so useful you may wonder how they do it. The more cynical ones blame it on sheer volume discount. While that may be partially true, that assertion does not accurately describe why they are doing what they do so well. Another part of their success if the type of systems they deploy to seamlessly manage every aspect of the supply chain right down to the final minute of the last mile.

Consequences for ignoring key systems

If you can’t compete with that, you are likely going to feel it in your bottom line. Customers and vendors alike want reassurance that their shipments are going to arrive to the right person at the right place by the stated time in the proper condition. How can a company provide this type of assurance when automation services like data logging, condition monitoring, and data collection and analysis? It can’t, so it’s time to define a new strategy or prepare to be left behind.

Benefits of using supply chain automation software

You are likely not the only stakeholder at your firm. This decision is one that companies must make collectively since buy-in from the entire organisation can affect the success of the program. If you are the one trying to convince your company to automate, stay focused on the benefits that automation can provide from a cost-savings, revenue-generating standpoint, including:

  • Warehouse costs savings from faster order fulfilment and better accuracy
  • Lower turnover rates due to low employee stress
  • Better use of space which can lead to cost avoidance
  • Improved customer service due to speed, courtesy, and efficiency
  • Enhanced business planning for routine maintenance work while avoiding downtime

It’s challenging to say ‘no’ to someone who speaks the language of increased margins. Business automation software is the future mechanism by which transport and logistics service providers offer their services.

Final thoughts and considerations

Supply chain management has many barriers to participation that primarily involve budgeting and uncertainty. However, companies that leverage automation creates cost-savings and labour efficiencies that may surprise, and even delight, company leaders.

The team at Logmore appreciates your reading this article on what prevents implementation of automation systems while recalling what makes them so crucial to the organisation. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you check out our three-part series related to this topic including What Is Transportation and Logistics Management, Tips for Effective Logistics Management, and What Are the Pros and Cons of Final Mile Logistics?

Are you ready to improve your own systems? Contact the Logmore team to discuss your options related to data logging, condition monitoring, and data collection and analysis today.