Long before omnipresent digital technology, innovative solutions were needed among suppliers to overcome challenges related to system weaknesses. History shows that relying on manual labor is bound to lead to processing errors, often due to fatigue from redundant tasks or unclear instructions. Here's a look at how modern supply chain solutions have streamlined logistics.
Strains on Supply Chains
The pandemic has strained supply chains in multiple ways involving logistics from scheduling to product distribution. Conditions are extreme compared with supply chain challenges of the past. It's now important for each link in the supply chain to constantly assess its own performance and resources using real-time data. Sharing this data with other suppliers helps strengthen overall logistics.
The current five most talked-about supply chain issues can be resolved with a resilient team of dedicated personnel and the right supply chain solutions. A common theme that connects these issues is they all relate to investing in new technology or having the right technology in place that adapts well to constant changes. IoT sensors are now at the heart of big data collection, which leads to exponentially more operational insights throughout the entire supply chain.
Data analysis helps take the mystery and stress out of deciding how an operation can become more efficient with higher profit margins. Taking this concept one step further, AI technology can speed up data analysis. What used to take one person years to research can now be learned in seconds with the help of machine learning software. The beauty of AI technology is it can detect and even fix vulnerabilities that humans tend to overlook.
5 Solutions for Supply Chains Problems
- Become More Resilient - One way suppliers can survive the challenges presented by the pandemic and beyond is to move toward leaner processes. Many companies are moving in the direction of sustainability out of necessity since it involves maximizing cost efficiency and reducing strain on the environment. Sustainable solutions, such as investing in a digital infrastructure, are clearly growing in demand. Companies must develop backup suppliers in case shortages in materials or labor occur.
- Allow for Greater Flexibility - Adding flexibility to company operations allows for last-minute adjustments due to monitoring real-time data. High levels of visibility and integration are necessary in today's data-driven business environment. Transportation companies that own a fleet of vehicles can now monitor data on each vehicle at all times. Access to this data allows scheduling for pickups and deliveries to be more flexible.
- Optimize End-to-End Visibility - The key to greater visibility in a supply chain is to adopt technology such as RFID chips, which communicate through sensors. They can be placed in products and in vehicles to track location status at all times. Sharing IT personnel among suppliers can be helpful in proving quick solutions to technical problems.
- Prepare for Disruption and Change - As a player in tomorrow's competitive business environment, you'll need to spend time on change management. The use of digital twins allows a company to test software solutions, which can lead to gaining a competitive edge by inspiring even better processes and new technologies.
- Utilize Data to Create Value - The more you integrate AI technology into your infrastructure, the faster you'll be able to solve system problems. Data can be used in many creative and productive ways, such as analyzing system vulnerabilities and determining viable solutions. Analysts must prioritize data to prevent spending too much time on trivial matters and focus on the most relevant data.
Implementing the right supply chain solutions is imperative in today's consumer world of high expectations for next or same-day delivery. Through digital transformation, companies will be able to curb inefficiencies, create value, and improve supply chain visibility by strategically investing in the right technologies.