The global supply chain is in constant disruption, thanks to the shifting customer demands, increased product complexity, strict regulatory requirements, and unforeseen events such as COVID-19. To stay ahead of all these challenges and maintain their competitive advantages, businesses need to adapt their supply chains to the shifting market dynamics.
Sometimes, this means reinventing the entire supply chain and doing away with old and inefficient processes. Going for such a wholesale transformation comes with several risks, and organizations need a well-thought-out strategy to avoid biting off more than they can chew. That said, here are some ways businesses across industries can increase their supply chain performance without risking it all.
1. Leverage AI, ML, and Robotics
The modern supply chain isn’t complete if it doesn’t feature a combination of AI, ML, and robotics. All these technologies are needed to automate warehouse operations, manage inventory and improve delivery times. They also enhance customer experiences and optimize strategic sourcing, helping boost brand reputation and overall business performance.
Using algorithms, smart applications, and predictive analytics, businesses can boost the speed of operations, minimize human errors, and increase the productivity of the various day-to-day supply chain operations. Similarly, human-robot collaboration is rapidly gaining popularity, and it’s being deployed throughout the supply chain touchpoints. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), by 2023, 65% of warehousing activities will deploy robots and data analytics to enhance storage optimization. This will boost capacity by over 20% and help cut work order processing time in half.
2. Unlock Insights with IoT Data Analytics
Several businesses have adopted IoT technologies to help make crucial data and information available where and when they are most needed. IoT sensors, for instance, can be deployed anywhere where critical data is to be collected. Afterward, the data is transmitted for processing to yield critical insights.
Tracking of weather conditions, location, traffic patterns, conditions of products in transit, etc., are all possible thanks to IoT technologies. On the other hand, data analytics makes it possible to sort through the junk of IoT data collected, drawing useful information that can be refined further to yield critical insights. The latter can then be used to inform supply chain decision-making.
3. Adopt the Blockchain Model
Supply chain operations often involve several parties, and keeping consistent records is often a challenge. Blockchain or distributed ledger technology has the potential to streamline supply chain processes by improving visibility and enhancing trust and transparency. Distributed ledger technology establishes an audit trail that’s not only effective but also super accurate.
As a result, you can leverage blockchain in your supply chain to document the custody of goods, prevent leakage, and identify fraudulent activities and even counterfeiting. It can also help demonstrate that all or some of the regulator requirements have been met, making audits and sourcing transparency more convenient.
4. Embrace Sustainable Operations
Over the years, there’s been a rapid shift to sustainability, both in the corporate and business sectors. Companies of all sizes are now keen on nurturing environmentally responsible and socially conscious operations. A cleaner supply chain isn’t just about satisfying consumer concerns; it’s also tied to business performance.
Building a sustainable supply chain is less about the talk on sustainability; rather, it’s more about taking measurable actions and striving to meet some sustainability KPIs. That means you need to create a plan for supply chain sustainability, which can be integrated into the organization’s operational strategy.
5. Make Continuous Learning a Priority
The secret to attaining higher performance in the business world is never to stop learning. Every struggle or win is an opportunity to learn and reinvent your game. Supply chain management is not any different. If you want to improve supply chain performance, you need to regularly optimize production, inventory, and delivery processes. All these call for high-end efficiency that’s only possible through continuous improvement.
Sometimes this means rethinking the current strategy and innovating a new process or product altogether. The idea is to keep progressing, gain knowledge and valuable information, and move ahead to implement them to improve the status quo. That said, continuous learning in supply chain management calls for deliberate actions. These include tracking consistency, investing in employee upskilling and reskilling, and carrying out regular performance audits.
Create an Agile Supply Chain Strategy Today
Implementing the five tips highlighted above will boost your supply chain operations in many ways. Not only will you better serve your customers, but you’ll also withstand most supply chain disruptions. That said, at the heart of supply chain success lies the ability to adapt to the shifting market conditions. One way of achieving flexibility is by adopting the right supply chain technologies and automation.
For better results, you want to work with an expert supply chain professional who will help guarantee the effective implementation of your entire strategy. This way, you will benefit from end-to-end visibility into your entire enterprise operations.
You may be interested in: Recent trends in supply chain management