7 Technologies to Optimize Supply Chain!

Technologies to optimize

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Technologies to optimize Supply Chain article and permission to publish here provided by Claire Glassman.

Advanced technology is believed to be the springboard on which you can make your business successful and competitive. 

Leveraging relevant technology in the supply chain from the moment your suppliers bring in raw materials, during storage of the materials and manufactured products in the warehouse, and distribution of products to the final consumer can increase efficiency, boost production, reduce time wastage and improve business revenues. 

Latest Technologies Available To Help Different Supply Chain Models 

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and 3D (three-dimensional) printing are among the latest technologies that are taking the supply chain in a storm.  Additionally, your office work can be simplified by replacing the traditional fax machine with those that are dependent on the Internet. This eliminates the physical handling of office documents by receiving and submitting fax documents online

In case you haven’t implemented this service for faxing online, it might be high time you try the technology, by opening an online portal from a web fax service provider. Thereafter, all your fax communications will be done over the cloud and can be accessed from almost any device.  

To give you more insight, this article explores seven technologies to optimize Supply Chain. They are largely helpful in optimizing a business’ supply chain.

1. Cloud Computing 

Cloud computing is transforming the platform on which IT (information technology) is implemented in the supply chain. 

For heavily data-driven companies, cloud computing can help in the collection and storage of important data concerning your customers, products, orders, and shipment to the final consumer. Moreover, you can use cloud computing to run important applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM), warehouse management system (WMS), among other applications which are all critical in the supply chain management process.  

Plus, cloud computing can improve your communication through a cloud-based VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone system. The benefit of cloud computing is that you can access your applications from anywhere with any gadget. It’s believed to be more secure and it protects you from malicious cyber-attacks too.  

2. Computer Graphics 

Computer graphics are extensively used in the modern supply chain with their use expected to rise in the coming years. Some of the uses of computer graphics in the supply chain include use in expert systems, task scheduling, and group decision making. With improved research, computer graphics are thought to do much more in the supply chain in the future.  

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3. Internet-Of-Things (IoT) 

IoT (Internet-Of-Things) is critical in helping you improve productivity, promote innovation, and spur the emergence of new markets. Internet of things refers to smart devices that can be connected across the Internet to promote communication among these devices. These gadgets can sense, communicate, and interact with their internal state and also their environment. They can also relay the data to other devices through the web.  

During manufacturing, sensor devices can be used to monitor heating plants of temperature and raise an alarm in case of abnormalities. They can also be used in monitoring logistical movement and mining equipment. It’s said that they may help reduce labor costs and boost production time.

Additionally, you can use networked cameras to monitor your workers on your site. As such, you don’t need to be physically present, because you can do remote supervision from anywhere.  

4. Machine Learning, Analytics, And Artificial Intelligence 

Machine learning enables machinery to interact with its surroundings. Machines can be made to change and evolve when they’re given a different set of instructions. 

The interaction of technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence), predictive analysis, and machine learning enables your enterprise to automate warehouse operations, improve delivery, boost strategic sourcing relationships, manage inventory, and come up with ways to improve customer experiences which can boost company revenues and improve internal system workflows.  

Working with predictive methods and algorithms, you can analyze large volumes of data sets and draw insights from the collective without human intervention. The insights you get from the predictive analysis can be used to come up with data-driven decisions. With predictive analysis, you can drive cost reduction strategies and boost customer experience. In addition, supply chain analytics can boost inventory optimization and visibility, real-time product intelligence, and strategic sourcing.   

5. Robots And Automation 

For a very long time, robots have been deployed in the supply chain. Some of the regular uses of robots are the movement of materials and goods in the warehouse, transportation, and fulfillment processes. 

In the future, the advancement of artificial intelligence is believed to help in the development of robots that are highly sophisticated that can do given manual tasks that are performed by people. This will include picking and parking business orders, and the automation of heavy loading tasks.  

Robots’ functionality works hand-in-hand with machine learning, AI, and IoT networking to boost the precision and movement of industrial robots and enhance safety. The newest generation of robots can work alongside people apart from being controlled remotely.  

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The deployment of human-robot collaboration in the supply chain is fostering large-scale production. Moreover, situational analysis coupled with robots is aiding in storage optimization, thus rising warehouse capacity and reducing processing time. 

6. Blockchain 

Besides being used in cryptocurrencies, blockchain is also employed in the supply chain process. It’s a distributed ledger technology that aids in improved transparency and visibility. Blockchain brings on the table technology for immutable transaction records. 

In situations where the supplier and the buyer don’t have mutual trust, blockchain technology can be used for transactions for the provenance of goods. Unlike emails or electronic record keeping, blockchain is said to offer a more effective audit trail. As a result, this technology is a track-and-trace that helps businesses to keep records of the chain of custody of goods.  

The disadvantage of blockchain is that it’s not implemented by a single company to give a good track of its singular supply chain. But, for this technology to succeed, it requires an initiative for two or more competing partners to kickstart a blockchain network where other industry players can join in.  

7. Automatic Identification 

Automation of physical item identification is helping the supply chain through bar-code identification. Real-time identification of items helps in the grouping of related data together.

Automatic identification is a breakthrough for inventory management, tracking/tracing systems, and process control. This technology helps remove constraints experienced in the supply chain today. Moreover, automatic identification of products helps in operation classification and emphasizes prospects for different sections.  

Technologies to Optimize Supply Chain 

The supply chain is meant to be seamless to boost workflow, efficiency, and improve production. However, these milestones are only achievable through the right technology in place. 

Every stage of your supply chain ought to be technologically optimized for better business returns. Therefore, you need to identify critical areas in the supply chain that aren’t performing well due to the use of manual labor and leverage technology. 

As such, this article on technologies to optimize Supply Chain is a discussion of cutting-edge technological examples that you can implement in your supply chain for optimum handling of supplies, enhanced production, and efficient movement of products to the end consumer.  

Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on August 24, 2021.

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