Distributors, manufacturers, and many other businesses are using automation technologies to improve supply chain efficiency. But they may only be scratching the surface of automation. And with the right approach, businesses of all sizes and across all industries can use automation technology to optimize supply chain efficiency — and more.
Artificial intelligence (AI) bolsters back-office operations
How businesses manage their back-office operations can have far-flung effects. For instance, a trucking company may invest significant time, energy, and resources to ensure its drivers can get to the right location, at the right time, every time. Thus, the business may struggle to maintain efficient back-office operations. And it may be impossible for the company to get the most value out of these operations going forward, too.
Robots equipped with AI can sort inventory and manage cargo. They can also leverage machine learning, which enables businesses to use predictive analytics to transform shipping data into actionable insights. As such, automation technologies can simplify back-office operations. The technologies allow businesses to streamline back-office processes, so workers can focus on high-value tasks. Plus, the technologies reduce the risk of human errors in back-office operations.
Automation powers autonomous driving
It is only a matter of time before autonomous driving revolutionizes supply chain management. Self-driving vehicles will be increasingly integrated into supply chains, and there are several reasons why this is the case.
First, autonomous vehicles can help businesses reduce their supply chain logistics costs. The vehicles eliminate the need for supply chain personnel, without requiring businesses to sacrifice productivity.
Furthermore, self-driving vehicles allow companies to operate their supply chains around the clock. Meanwhile, there would be no need for truck drivers to wait to take mandatory breaks. Rather, autonomous vehicles could be driven and maintained with ease. This ensures companies can increase their productivity and reduce the risk of driver accidents.
Many businesses are preparing their logistics employees for autonomous driving. As more companies discover the benefits of self-driving vehicles, expect the push for autonomous driving to continue among these companies in the foreseeable future.
Using automation for supply chain marketing
Supply chain marketers can capitalize on automation as well. They can use automation technologies to track leads and discover the best ways to convert them into sales. Automation technologies can empower supply chain marketers for customer relationship management (CRM) as well.
For instance, supply chain marketers can use automation technologies in conjunction with a CRM system. From here, they can use behavioral information to send targeted messages to prospects. The result: supply chain marketers can deliver messages that hit the mark with prospects and drive sales.
Coming soon: A fully autonomous supply chain
An autonomous supply chain reduces business disruptions and improves efficiency. However, building and maintaining a fully autonomous supply chain is rarely simple.
Going forward, companies will continue to explore opportunities to incorporate automation technologies into their supply chain operations. These technologies can deliver short-term gains but must be tracked and evaluated over time. That way, companies are well-equipped to maximize the ROI of their automation technology investments. Best of all, they can establish fully autonomous supply chains.