To keep itself in abreast with trends like expanding volume of goods and growing customer demands, the global supply chain industry is integrating various technologies that would ensure frequent and reliable delivery. Various technologies such as machine-to-machine, cloud computing and mobile applications are reinventing the supply chain model and increasing revenue opportunities. However, to succeed, aerospace, rail, automotive and maritime companies in the logistics ecosystem need to collaborate to ensure seamless operation.
Some of these innovative technological solutions are designed to offer speed and responsiveness to the transportation and distribution industry, thereby helping them to maintain customer focus and improve their risk management abilities and efficiency. These solutions are capable enough to provide near real-time access to information that would support informed decision-making, efficient inventory tracking and improvement in logistics operations.
With the ongoing trade globalization, increase in online transactions and demand for business-to-consumer logistics becoming more important, the logistic companies are trying to adapt the latest technology developments that would help them keep up with the competition. Employing effective IT resources would also ensure constructive fleet and warehouse management, order processing and more. Furthermore, with the volatile fuel prices becoming a huge concern for these companies, technology research has found that these integrated solutions would enable them to become faster, intelligent, efficient and give them greater visibility in their sector.
Is Big Data Set to Transform Supply Chain Management?
Seeing the benefits of big data and cloud based technologies, most progressive companies in the supply chain sector are using these to get beyond the constraints of legacy ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and SCM (Supply Chain Management) systems. Legacy ERP systems can be a bottleneck for these systems and are not capable of meeting the challenges that the supply chain industry faces today.
Using the powerful data processing and analysis capabilities, the supply chain management can improve the accuracy of their demand forecasts, realize new demand patterns and even develop new services by sharing data with collaborators across supply chain. These management tools evolved for use with Big Data would provide the business with real time business intelligence systems, data mining, and predictive analytics. This would enable them to optimize both supply costs and pricing, to maximize profits, automate product sourcing and deploy mass customization product strategies.
Besides these benefits, big data is also transforming how supplier networks grow, form or expand into new markets and mature over time. Based on the insights gained from big data analytics, the supply chain sector can create knowledge sharing networks which would further help them deliver better and faster.
However, the use of technology will also accelerate the production of data in supply chain management. Usage of mobile would also provide supply chain relevant data, along with proliferation of social networks, which would allow companies to identify people and events of interest based on location. Analysis of data would offer firms greater efficiency at delivering products to consumers.
Adaptation of Technology Still in Infancy
Despite the immense potential of these technologies, the supply chain management is yet to integrate technology completely throughout the system. Technology analysis has proven that the biggest benefit from these technological advancements is increased collaborations across supply chain partners. For instance, outsourcing in production process is increasing within aerospace and defense. However, the industry is still facing hindrances like transparency and weak collaboration. Digital technology would resolve these problems like how analytics could be used to track the consumer demands and trends enabling the companies to concentrate in efficient delivery of their products.
To be able to integrate these technological solutions, the companies need to overcome inhibitions like compliance issues, legacy operating models, data security concerns and complex processes. For some, the challenge lies not in the technology but in the integration process of these systems with the existing systems in the company.
Since the introduction of the assembly line, the concept of supply chain management has evolved over the years. Management of supply chain is fraught with risks, often subjected to complex regulations, which are beyond the handling capacity of the company. Moreover,with the globalizationand growing expectations of consumers becoming ubiquitous, companies are expected to use technologies to become more specific in delivering their solutions.