According to recent-researches, Supply Chain (SC) digitisation still falls behind other industry fields, around 43% compared to marketing, product manufacturing, business processes, distribution channels, and more. However, advanced technology is transforming SC, as their adoption drives better data availability and boosts visibility, accuracy, and efficiency. The top technologies affecting SCs:
- Cloud technology and Cloud-based commerce network
These technologies allow companies to manage significant IT pools without the need for data-centred infrastructure, so setting resources as needed; reinforce accurate-updated-information shared in real-time to all SC entities involved, including partners, suppliers, vendors, and end-consumers.
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT involves physical devices furnished with remote sensors. It captures and transmits large amounts of data, delivers such data in real-time visibility throughout inventory levels, identifies sale trends forecasting more reliable to plan manufacture or replenish processes. It reinforces operative efficiencies such as improving productivity and supporting decision making.
At the Inventory Management level, IoT tracks goods location in real-time during shipping, temperature, selling time between purchase and fulfilment, time spent on transportation, improving efficiency and reliability in their services. A company can provide outstanding customer service informing the exact location and delivery estimation.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
AI, ML and robotics supported by advanced-warehouse-management systems are potential contributors to data-driven decision-making. Companies can automate capacity and production planning, predictive maintenance, real-time sales, and weather data to generate accurate demand forecasts and simplify logistics plans.
When advanced ML and Natural Language Processing (NLP) examine the contents and context of millions of online and social media posts from thousands of sources, they can detect risk factors, allowing SC managers to take proactive-remedial action to dodge disruptions. Robotics supported by AI and ML expand human work in warehouses and distribution centres to reduce human errors and improve accuracy.
Integrating Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) companies can support activities such as counting, sorting, picking, putting away, and replenishing and separating orders using images intelligently.
- Advanced and Predictive Analytics
They are a form of analytics assessing a series of historical and current data to identify patterns and behaviours, predict the most probable results and calculate the different outcomes provided from such data. Different usage:
· Predictive maintenance.
· Route optimisation.
· Demand forecasting.
· Inventory optimisation.
- Digital Twin
It is a digital SC real-world model, building relationships among manufacturing, Logistics providers, markets, warehouses, distribution centres, customers, and more. This tech uses sensors to collect data to provide the Digital SC replica, one Twin per thing. SC leaders use Digital Twins to:
· Analyse possible variations in demand.
· Detect bottlenecks in the SC.
· Try promotions in other markets or regions.
· Pinpoint risks and propose a way out, such as organising alternative suppliers.
· Use predictive maintenance for vehicle fleets to diminish disruptions.
· Replicate the most efficient routes to ensure on-time delivery.
- Weighing, packaging and shipping technologies
Mobile weighing technologies are one solution that allows convenient weighing at the point of loading and unloading. They reduce the risks and energy of transporting back and forth scales, handling many and any trucks in a short time.
Trucks equipped with cordless-on-board-weighing scales transmit data using load-cell technology and air-suspension-pressure readings to find out the truck weight and the load to its best possible capacity, according to legal limits.
In packaging, ‘cartonisation’ solutions estimate the best carton size for goods to cut down waste and reduce guessing-work when selecting the appropriate containers for packaging and shipping. The most-advanced-cartonisation-software solutions in weight is a 4th dimension tool that considers carrier-dimensional-weight rates and labour costs.
- Robotics, drones and driverless vehicles
These devices benefit the manufacturing and warehousing industries in several ways. Collaborative-mobile robots, for instance, increase accuracy and efficiency in the warehouse, minimise workers’ walking-keeping-piling tasks, make it easy the picking routes in real-time, and prioritise duties based on existing warehouse conditions.
Companies are exploring drone uses for delivering purposes, a project intending to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. They require severe regulatory scrutiny.
When used in Inventory Management procedures, drones can scan pallets barcodes, register every piece location in a warehouse, automate manual-inventory-monotonous counts whilst eliminating hard-to-reach inventory. A flexible-automation solution for warehouses is that operators can rent different collaborative robots to meet demands during peak periods, or companies might also transfer operators among facilities, as demanded.
- 3D Printing
Because 3D Printing relies on digital product blueprints, companies’ developers can produce further duplications to reduce time and cost. It makes available multiple parts from a single source, reducing supplies risk and improving the product life-cycle agility; companies use 3D Printing in some form for rapid prototyping, manufacturing end-products, and restructuring the SC.
It is a digital-decentralised ledger, recording transactions in sequence blocks. It distributes numerous copies across several computers, known as nodes, making alteration difficult, as malicious hackers would require to update all documents at precisely the same instant.
Some benefits for the SC:
· Reliability and integrity - Blockchain is a convincing transaction record.
· Background - It makes it easy to track down products and parts to their origin.
· Safety measures - It is impossible to cancel transactions, forge inventory records, payment contracts, delivery times, or warehouse conditions in a Blockchain ledger.
· Blockchain can track products from the origin to the end consumer.
· It is a promising tech in industries like beverage, food, pharmaceuticals and drugs,
Further comments: supply chains are complex; any disruption in one area tends to have a domino effect on the rest. Advancements in SC technology enhance the efficient flowing of goods through every stage.
Are you familiar with all these edge technologies transforming our SC?