April 14, 2020

Tech Innovations in Supply Chain [Updated for 2020]

Logistics and supply chains are seeing innovations like never before right now. Advanced logistics and robot process automation are changing how logistics processes work, but how?
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It’s only taken a couple of decades for supply chains to take over the running of the global marketplace. Most of this can be seen as a direct result of technological improvements. Being able to collect massive amounts of data has meant that supply chains can now make vital business decisions off the back of big data.

Tapping into this type of advanced technology makes it easier for logistics companies to improve the distribution of freight as it moves through the supply chain in order to meet customer expectations. 

Logistics technologies in action

The digital age of supply chains means that as technology evolves, so will the way in which supply chains become leaner and greener. In fact, a lot of the current trends in supply chains could end up changing the way we look at supply chains totally. 

Technologies like Artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics, robotic process automation (RPA) and condition monitoring systems help reduce waste of perishable cargo as it moves through the supply chain. The use of these technologies means freight shipments may be tracked and held in pristine condition during transport to the planned destination.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As computers and data collection become more sophisticated, it looks like AI is going to be able to improve and possibly automate the way in which decisions are made. Rather than having to rely on human judgment calls, the processing of masses of data could actually serve to completely reinvent business models.

Tasks like sorting data and evaluating the contents of packages and the condition of the items are tasks that AI can facilitate. AI also has the ability to ferret out factors such as identity fraud and other things that have an impact on productivity of the supply chain.

AI for a better customer experience

AI isn’t limited in its ability to track and analyze huge amounts of data to make accurate predictions. AI can factor in things that affect the supply chain, such as the weather real-time sales that occur. It then allows the system to automate sorting and pulling goods to enter the supply chain with fewer errors than systems that operate without this type of advanced technology.

AI enhances the customer experience in many ways, including providing instant tracking information for customers who want to know when a package will be delivered or its exact location when it’s in shipping. This type of technology may even allow customers to contact the shipping company without exiting the system if there’s a problem. 

Advanced analytics

When it comes to traditional supply chain thinking, the key is to plan cautiously and avoid risks. Advanced analytics will allow companies to not only plan further ahead by taking advantage of opportunities as they arise, but also to mitigate the impact of future adverse events.

When used to evaluate the supply chain, advanced analytics provides opportunities for businesses to accomplish more with less expense. The large quantity of data that’s incorporated into these systems can make it possible for companies to offer improved services while reducing operating costs.

Some advantages of using advanced analytics in the supply chain include:

  • Fewer disruptions in the supply chain
  • Less inventory waste and shrinkage
  • Enhanced visibly and increased transparency
  • Supply chain flexibility enhancements
  • Forecasting accuracy increases

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA will allow supply chain organizers the opportunity to cut costs, reduce mistakes, speed up processes, and link applications. Intelligent apps will allow organizations to work with data processing in order to automate tasks. The use of robots is also serving to increase productivity by almost 30%, and as robot technology advances, they are able to complete many more human tasks.

The totally transformational power of increasing technology means that the supply chains who know how to adjust and aspire to be the best will be the ones which succeed. In fact, taking a disruptive approach to supply chains could very well make the difference between those who survive and those who do not.

RPA can help a company gain a competitive advantage

In many ways, the supply chains will be most affected by those who dare - and win. As the digital era advances at lightning pace, business models and strategies will only be as useful as the market opportunities that they enable.

Taking advantage of the accuracy and improved performance a robotic system offers can help a company reduce waste and trim the fat associated with unnecessary expenses and wasteful processes. Using technologies, such as robotic process automation, that allow your company to excel at delivering products quickly and at using more cost-effective techniques than your competition can give your business the competitive advantage it needs to be the leader in its industry. 

Condition Monitoring Systems (CMS)

A conditioning monitoring system increases reliability and it’s a vital component of a firm’s asset management (AM.) It helps keep employees on top of potential flaws in the system by predicting when a failure is likely to occur. By providing information on when a failure may occur, based on data, it lets you see where maintenance may be required and where your attention needs to be focused at any given time. 

Using pharmaceutical companies as an example, condition monitoring systems have been launched by some companies as a measure intended to increase their competitive advantage. This approach works because it makes the process more efficient and keeps transparency in the supply chain. Factors like streamlined packaging and smaller shipments to reduce the risk of goods being damaged in transit. 

CMS for risk management

All these things don’t fully eliminate the risk of damage. Other components of a condition monitoring system, however, can offer the information needed to help you keep packages safe and monitor damage should it occur. These include sensors that detect factors that can damage sensitive products, such as shipments of pharmaceuticals and food. These condition monitoring sensors measure for risks, such as:

  • Impacts
  • Vibrations
  • Temperature changes

The professionals at Logmore are here to help you with all the supply chain technologies you need to increase your company’s effectiveness and competitive advantage in the marketplace. Contact us today to discuss your questions and supply chain management needs.