7 supply chain technologies that deliver competitive advantage
As Kevin Petersen of Growth Stack Inc. affirms, There’s been a lot of attention on supply chain and supply chain inefficiency in the last couple years. It’s in the media. Most people have some awareness that there are issues with supply chain and if you think about it, some of the supply chains that the world leans on to survive are literally 10,000-year-old industries that have never had any real Tech adoption.
It’s a space for us as a species to step up, start using more tech, use it more, you get smart about how we use it so that supply chains are more efficient and, just as an example, we’re not losing 30% of our food before it gets to market or the first iteration of the vaccines had to be temperature controlled and some of them were being lost in route. They didn’t make it to people who wanted them, because they spoiled before they got there, and since then, there’s been a lot of attention on things like, “Okay well auto manufacturers can’t get their product to market because they’re out of a chip,” right? Now you know eggs are a thing right now, and it is a constant issue with the supply chains.
Today, the global supply chain has undergone significant changes in recent years due to technological advancements. Businesses are increasingly looking to implement supply chain technologies to optimize their operations and gain a competitive advantage. In this article, we will explore seven such technologies that can revolutionize the supply chain, including IoT, blockchain, AI, autonomous vehicles, robotics, predictive analytics, and cloud computing.
From tracking the movement of goods to optimizing inventory and predicting disruptions, these technologies have the potential to transform the supply chain and improve the overall efficiency of businesses. The adoption of these technologies can help reduce waste, increase productivity, and enhance customer satisfaction. In this article, we will discuss the key benefits of each supply chain tech and how businesses can leverage them to gain a competitive edge in the market.
Advantage Of Supply Chain Technologies
Supply chain technologies offers businesses a variety of advantages, including increased efficiency, improved visibility, and enhanced customer satisfaction. By leveraging these technologies, businesses can streamline their operations, reduce costs, and gain a competitive advantage in the market.
One of the primary advantages of supply chain technologies is their ability to improve efficiency. Technologies such as autonomous vehicles, robotics, and IoT sensors can optimize inventory, reduce waste, and increase productivity. For instance, autonomous vehicles can help businesses reduce transportation costs and minimize delivery times, while robotics can automate repetitive tasks and free up employees to focus on more complex tasks.
Another key advantage of supply chain technologies is their ability to provide real-time visibility into the movement of goods. Technologies such as blockchain and cloud computing can provide end-to-end traceability and accountability, enabling businesses to quickly identify and resolve issues in the supply chain. This improved visibility can also enhance customer satisfaction by providing them with accurate and up-to-date information on the status of their orders.
In addition to efficiency and visibility, supply chain technologies can also provide businesses with a competitive advantage by enabling them to make better-informed decisions. Technologies such as predictive analytics and AI can help businesses anticipate disruptions and optimize their operations accordingly. This can help businesses stay ahead of the competition by enabling them to quickly adapt to changing market conditions and customer demand.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings, and other items that are embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity. IoT can provide real-time visibility into the supply chain by tracking and monitoring the movement of goods, equipment, and inventory. This allows businesses to make better decisions in real time, which can improve efficiency, reduce waste, and optimize inventory management. For instance, RFID tags can be used to track inventory levels and alert managers when stock is running low.
Blockchain technology provides a secure and transparent way of recording and sharing data across a network of computers. It has the potential to transform supply chain management by providing end-to-end visibility, traceability, and accountability. Blockchain can be used to track the movement of goods, verify the authenticity of products, and ensure compliance with regulations. This can help reduce the risk of fraud, theft, and counterfeiting, and increase consumer trust. For example, Walmart has implemented a blockchain-based system that allows it to track the movement of food products from farm to store.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform supply chain management by providing real-time data analysis and predictive analytics. AI can analyze data from multiple sources, including sensors, social media, and weather forecasts, to predict demand, optimize inventory, and identify potential disruptions. AI can also be used to automate routine tasks, such as scheduling and routing, freeing up human resources for more complex tasks. For example, DHL has implemented an AI-based system that predicts demand and optimizes inventory management.
Autonomous vehicles, such as drones and self-driving trucks, have the potential to revolutionize the logistics industry. They can provide faster, safer, and more efficient transportation of goods, reducing the need for human intervention. Autonomous vehicles can also be used to reach remote or difficult-to-access areas, such as disaster zones or offshore oil rigs. For instance, Amazon is testing the use of delivery drones to transport packages to customers.
Robotics technology can be used to automate repetitive and physically demanding tasks in the supply chain, such as picking and packing. This can help increase productivity, reduce errors, and improve working conditions for employees. Robotics can also be used to optimize warehouse layouts and reduce the need for manual labor. For example, Amazon has implemented a robotics-based system that automates its warehouse operations.
Predictive analytics uses statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to analyze historical data and predict future events. It can be used in the supply chain to predict demand, optimize inventory, and identify potential disruptions. Predictive analytics can help businesses make more informed decisions and reduce the risk of stockouts or overstocking. For example, Coca-Cola uses predictive analytics to forecast demand and optimize its inventory management.
Cloud computing provides a scalable and flexible way of storing, processing, and sharing data across multiple locations. It can be used to store and access supply chain data in real time, enabling businesses to make better decisions and respond quickly to changing market conditions. Cloud computing can also help businesses to collaborate more effectively with their supply chain partners and share data securely. For example, Maersk uses a cloud-based platform to manage its global supply chain operations.
In conclusion, supply chain technologies have become essential tools for businesses to remain competitive in a rapidly changing global marketplace. The adoption of these technologies can help optimize supply chain operations, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. From IoT and blockchain to AI and cloud computing, businesses have a range of options to choose from. By leveraging these technologies, businesses can ensure real-time visibility, traceability, and accountability, ultimately leading to a more efficient and streamlined supply chain. As the demand for faster and more efficient supply chains continues to grow, businesses that invest in supply chain technologies are likely to be better positioned for success in the future.