Five ways supply chain technology can help your business

Supply Chain Technology

In today’s world, managing the supply chain is about far more than just planning and logistics. Particularly for businesses which work internationally, keeping an eye on every link in a longer and more fragmented global supply chain has become quite a complex task. As with most areas of our lives, technology has stepped in with solutions designed to make life easier.

The manufacturing sector is under increased pressure to streamline operations in a highly competitive market in which countries such as China and India are offering increasingly lower prices. To gain competitive advantage, British manufacturers need to stay on top and deliver quality goods on time. Achieving this relies on watertight supply chain management. In the world of retail, customers have higher expectations – many expect to know in real time the status of their order and the origin of each product component.

Here are five ways technology can help businesses of today manage their supply chains effectively:

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI has been a part of the supply chain for the last decade or so. But what is new is the concept of machine learning – automated processes that learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed.

The use of chatbots for operational procurement is emerging. Computers can speak directly with suppliers about transactions, governance and compliance materials, place order requests, negotiate prices and forecast orders for warehouse management.

Internet of Things

There has been a huge surge in internet-connected devices in recent years, from smart fridges to systems that control all the lighting and heating in homes remotely.

In manufacturing, advanced sensors can help to reduce waste where margins are tight, and systems that manage the temperature of perishables can ensure that food is kept in the right environment all the way through its journey from farm to plate. The advent of 5G mobile technology, which will enable more devices to be connected and for data to be transmitted at blistering speed, is likely to see a huge rise in the number and complexity of IoT products and services in the supply chain.

Advanced analytics

A dynamic and effective supply chain is a huge competitive advantage. Software can make the supply chain more accurate and reliable using advanced analytics like inventory trackers and forecasting tools. Based on past trends, supply chain forecasting tools can help suppliers anticipate their customers’ demand, avoiding a deficit or surplus of stock.

Compliance and auditing

Consumers are more concerned than ever with the origin of their products and ensuring the whole supply chain is following the right ethical practices or quality standards can be a difficult task. Thankfully there are automated tools that can help with this such as FlashTrac and Supplier Compliance Manager.

Real-time shipment tracking technology

Tracking technology is already widely used by consumers to follow their goods from order to delivery and the supply chain is no different. Fleets can stay connected via specialist freight handling tools that communicate the location and status of a product whether it is travelling by land, air or sea.

It may be a few years away, but autonomous vehicles could be introduced for logistics or shipping, providing a 24-hour service and avoiding the driving hours restrictions imposed on freight drivers.

For further information on how technology can drive efficiencies in your supply chain, speak to one of our IT Consultants on 03333 208 601 or e-mail