The supply chain industry, for better or for worse, has been largely defined by its recent challenges and the ability of businesses to handle those challenges. From pandemic to vendor disruptions, managing a modern supply chain comes with its fair share of obstacles.
Fortunately, however, strengthening your supply chain to withstand changes and challenges is possible with new tech and innovative thinking. With artificial intelligence and a host of networked smart devices, supply chains can implement greater visibility while increasing the efficiency of all processes.
Overcoming common supply chain challenges doesn’t have to be difficult. Here’s how innovation can help.
Disruptions have come to the supply chain sector one after another. From the existing problem of minimizing shipping costs and emissions to the emergence of the pandemic, supply chain management has meant fighting a series of obstacles.
The risks of ineffectively managing these challenges are clear when you consider the realities of the global market. India, for example, is the world’s leading provider of generic pharmaceuticals. Yet, India gets 70% of its raw materials from China. As you can imagine, the pandemic created supply chain disruptions that require quick thinking and innovative solutions.
Facing challenges like the following, tech is a vital aspect of modern supply chains:
Cost-effective, sustainable shipping.
Supply chains account for more than 80% of greenhouse gas emissions. Eliminating these emissions can reduce costs and improve efficiency, but doing so requires everything from renewable energy sources to improved parts and vehicles. Twenty percent of industrial energy is spent fighting friction alone. Streamlined designs and procedures could change that.
Supply chains represent often vast webs of vendors, suppliers, managers, drivers, and more. Communication across this network requires transparency and flow, elements that are often lacking in supply chain processes. Overcoming vendor management challenges means finding solutions through clear and accessible communication platforms, framed with data-driven insights.
The pandemic continues to cause massive problems across supply chains, from shutdowns to labor shortages. Vaccine rollout has begun, but new tech and policies will still be needed to manage this and future public health crises.
These challenges make for a complicated landscape for any supply chain. Luckily, innovative solutions are here to help.
Innovating new solutions
Just as the modern era of supply chain management has been defined by its challenges, it has also been revitalized by innovations in tech and processes. From AI to the Internet of Things (IoT), these tools are making a difference:
Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
IoT consists of a range of networked devices that generate data through sensory and monitoring equipment. These devices can offer everything from insights into driver behavior to improved inventory tracking. In the wake of COVID-19, IoT represents a shift in supply chain management that is all about data-driven insights. The implications of these insights are limitless.
AI is one of the key technologies powering data analytics and insights. By harnessing raw data collected and assembled through smart devices and IoT, supply chain software keeps every aspect of the chain visible and usable. Whether AI is assisting in predictive maintenance insights for fleet vehicles or providing better routing and freight management information, this tech offers simple ways to increase delivery efficiency.
Localizing for success.
The pandemic has emphasized the importance of flexible supply chains and localized sources. Tech can assist in managing these sources through transparency and available data, then supply chain managers can redirect routes and inventory to more efficiently accumulate raw materials and transport goods. In fact, 40% of surveyed decision-makers plan to near-shore and increase local supplier bases.
These are just a few of the modern innovations driving supply chain efficiency. With the right implementation, tech alongside flexible sourcing procedures will help build better supply chains for the future.
Right now, supply chain companies can get ahead of their challenges by exploring these innovations and encouraging out-of-the-box solutions in their own practices. Data-driven software platforms will be an invaluable part of this process. As the supply chain landscape shifts, keep these tips in mind for more effective solutions.