Supply Chain in the Cloud: How Tech Is Reshaping Logistics

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Now more than ever, the global, interconnected supply chain depends as much on the software and technology solutions a manufacturer implements as on the supply management and logistics strategies. As various critical decisions and actions in the supply chain act in a digital environment, proper technology placement can either help a manufacturer achieve increased productivity and growth, or push them toward stagnation and inefficiency.

All of this is to say that technology will be a major driving force in how the modern supply chain is shaped, explored, and defined. Whether it is the mass implementation of cloud technology and RFID techs, or the deployment of warehouse robotics, technology will time and time again change the landscape of logistics. Below are three emerging technology trends transforming the supply chain:

RFID technology

RFID – radio frequency identification – replaced the traditional barcodes, and in doing so reshaped the supply chain industry, making sure that the right merchandise is at the right time at the right place. Using a minute-sharp precision, this technology is able to ensure that temperature-sensitive shipment remains within specifications and prevent machine breakdowns.

Real-time RFID-based insights enable supply chain managers to track the time of completion for each step in the production process. In other words, managers are able to find process bottlenecks and come up with new ways of ensuring that shipments timely arrive at their destinations. Managers that use it can scan, count, and register their products in the company’s system simultaneously – directly saving costs and time once needed for human labor. In addition, manufacturers can measure and monitor the frequency of machine maintenance by using RFID technology, thereby preventing expensive production breakdowns. All of this ultimately proves that RFID technology can significantly improve various facets of the supply chain.

Cloud-based solutions

Through their 360-degree visibility and real-time accuracy, cloud-based management software will transform the traditional rudimentary supply chain management systems. Integration of cloud-based technology into the supply chain will make it possible to remove pick errors and increase picking speed and digitally track a product throughout each stage of its lifecycle. This reduces the number of lost products, updates current inventory records in near real-time and synchronize shipment components.

Moreover, cloud-based warehouse management systems can enhance customer service by having client login online to develop their job or have it done automatically for them. Being able to locate the goods doesn’t only improve the efficiency of the supply chain, but also enables more data to be collected in regards to delays and bottlenecks. Just like with the RFID technology. Through cloud-based solutions, there is also the possibility of managing supply chain disruptions and saving communication time between the warehouse and transport personnel.

Industry 4.0

The beginning of the second Industrial Revolution came with Henry Ford’s introduction of the assembly line. Today, a century later, the concept of Industry 4.0 is reshaping the automotive industry. The automotive industry has much to gain with Industry 4.0, as it is able to streamline operations and offer new business opportunities. The concept itself is defined by connectedness – in the Industry 4.0, the ready-facility has devices connected to each other and to human interfaces, providing real-time data from various sensors. Humans will be able to use that data at any given time. When this is paired with machine learning and advanced analytics, the ecosystem of sensors is borne, where devices and humans represent an incredibly powerful combination.

Although, most automotive manufacturers haven’t reached this efficient state of connectivity where machines and humans seamlessly work together. However, the industry is opening itself to the principles of Industry 4.0. Simultaneously, customers have also been asking for increased connectivity with their vehicles, further pushing the industry’ transformation process. Nowadays, many vehicle manufacturers and suppliers are wilily going down the road towards Industry 4.0, and the path is leading them to bigger profitability.

All of this ultimately means that logistics companies will need to have a deeper knowledge of how their supply chain functions and the requirements and necessary integrations required of their technology solutions. Keeping up with trends doesn’t mean blindly following them. Rather, manufacturing businesses will hate to strive towards larger insight into their overall supply situation and how to efficiently position the right products to the right customers at the right time.

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