Supply chain management has been a major part of business for quite some time, and technology has played a major part in how it works. Whether it’s people buying or selling goods on the Internet or internally managing their resources, the supply chain is an integral part of any successful business that manufactures or sells products. Let’s look at some of the ways that supply chain management influences businesses–even companies that don’t make or sell products, but still rely on products.
How the Modern Supply Chain Works
Technology has allowed the supply chain to develop in interesting ways, providing companies with more ways to control it when issues like conflict and world health concerns impact acquisition and flow of goods. Let’s look at some of the common tools that might affect supply chain management.
The cloud gives businesses so much versatility and flexibility that you’d be hard-pressed to find any business that doesn’t use it in some way. Unfortunately, there aren’t many businesses that find a natural way to implement the cloud for supply chain management. The issue at hand is a perceived lack of security, but the reality is that with the right practices and precautions, the cloud can be an effective tool for supply chain management.
The cloud provides access to more advanced tools that can be used on any connected network, which is huge for supply chain management. There are other benefits to consider as well, including the following:
- Increased agility: Businesses can use analytics to make quick and informed decisions on technology and service investments.
- Improved collaboration: More individuals within your company can add insights into managing your organizational supply chain, meaning it can provide more value and information as a whole.
- Easy scalability: A cloud-based supply chain management platform can be scaled according to your company’s needs.
- Cost realignment: If you move your company’s computing resources toward operational cost output, you can better identify and budget for procurement and supply chain management.
Internet of Things
When coupled with cloud computing tools, the IoT makes for a great addition to any supply chain management platform. Through sensors that can report movement of resources, you can glean much from your systems and the flow of goods. Here are other ways you can use the IoT for your supply chain:
- Location tracking: Keeping track of resources and products in real-time can help ensure they reach the appropriate destinations with minimal complication.
- Storage conditions: Sometimes resources and products need to be stored in climate-controlled locations. The IoT can be used to monitor and control temperature, air pressure, humidity, and other variables in the storage environment.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The development of AI has also been discussed as an opportunity to make change in the supply chain. Applications that integrate with AI have other ways of streamlining the shipping process outside of the standard ship-then-report model. Here are some of the processes involved:
- Predictive analytics: When you implement new digital tools into your infrastructure, you’ll get a lot of data that can then be used to take action. Predictive analytics through AI systems can turn this data into something you can actually use and implement in an efficient way.
- Creation of digital twins: Some companies are trying out a rather novel concept of using AI to make a virtual copy of their physical business, then using machine learning to make changes to their SCM processes in a controlled environment. They can then use what they have learned to make adjustments that could save money and eliminate inefficiencies.
How would you implement supply chain management technology into your infrastructure? Are you interested in giving it a shot? Reciprocal Technologies can advise you each step of the way. Learn more by calling us at (317) 759-3972.