Latest trends in Supply Chain Digitization & Automation
To say 2020-2022 was a challenging year for the supply chain industry is one of the biggest understatements of the decade. The aftermath of COVID-19 can still be seen across global supply chains. The pandemic clearly showed the importance of having a solid foundation and bonded logistics in place. A solid infrastructure and reliable tech stacks founded on the latest digitization and automation can make all the difference. This is especially true when faced with disruptions and obstacles.
According to K.P.M.G. (z.d.), in Europe, the rise of e-commerce is pressuring retailers, manufacturers, transport, warehouse, and logistics companies to fulfill and deliver fast, in total, and meet high expectations for order status, supply chain visibility, enhanced service, and return logistics. A trend that has risen within the industry is related to a shift in customer demands.
To reinforce delivery assurance and supply chain resilience, customers (both B2B and B2C) now require end-to-end networks to hold more transparency, embrace omni logistics, focus on bonded logistics, and increase their visibility. All of this can help improve supply chain performance.
Greater visibility requires stakeholders in the chain to have the same visibility to decrease disruption while monitoring for new ways to implement improvements. The key takeaway is that shippers and carriers now require their physical and digital workflows to be more synchronized. The emphasis on greater visibility and transparency is at the heart of supply chain optimization. It all can be achieved through digitization and automation of e-commerce platforms and processes.
Digitalizing your Supply Chain
With technology growing faster than ever, supply chain optimization is critical for ongoing success and recovery. Managers and business owners alike need to incorporate the most advanced technological processes to reinforce the resilience of their supply chain networks. Digitalization of e-commerce solutions can be achieved in many ways.
First things first, what exactly does it mean to have good supply chain operations and planning?
According to Team D.F. (2021), Supply chain digitization (or digital transformation) is the process of turning analog processes into digital ones by establishing dedicated master data.
By doing so, it allows aggregate information from across your entire supply chain, as well as information from some external sources to be compiled. This can include internal historical sales data, point-of-sale consumer data, socioeconomic data such as unemployment rates, and external data from outside sources.
Overall, the process is most commonly achieved through the use of dedicated software and a focus on omni logistics and supply chain optimization through digitalization and automation. The tightrope of balancing supply and demand is easier with the right processes in place.
Supply Chain Advantages Seen Today
The advantages of shipping and distribution innovation and integration are far-reaching and include the following:
- Synchronization – Digital processes are far easier to connect. This makes the entire process, whatever process it is, react much more smoothly. Analog methods are complicated to align correctly but working with bonded logistics services and automated processes streamline the entire process.
- Time-saving/Efficiency – Digital supply chain processes are far more efficient, thus saving valuable time. Automatic inventory and CRM processes, for instance, can save ample time when executed correctly. Omni logistics make this all the easier to implement and maintain.
- Decision-making advantages – Having better control of your digital data allows you to leverage your position when going into a new decision-making process. This aspect of supply chain optimization should never be underestimated as it allows for a much better negotiation position.
The next Trend expected to continue in 2022 is the increasing usage of Automation. Again, the increase of viable technological advancements also results in manual process to be automated. This can be easily seen through the increasing usage of AGV (Automated Guided Vehicles) that allow for immense efficiency increases in warehouses. Daunting manual labor that can be Automated (e.g., Packaging) should be automated as fast as possible as strong efficiency increases are easily seen when done so accordingly. According to Vanner (2022),
Benefits of Improving Supply Chain Processes
The benefits of implementing integrated systems and advancing supply chain processes with updated tech include:
- The Automation of manual tasks – Automating daunting manual labor yields the highest efficiency boosts as these tasks usually allow for substantial process time deductions.
- Increasing Transparency and Visibility – Self-managing tasks usually come with the innate ability to capture and share data from supply chain design and processes that have been automated.
- Flexibility and Adaptation – Streamlined, automated inventory management software will enable companies to increase their control by automatically ordering raw materials/inventory when inventory levels fall below a set percentage.
Tap Into the Latest Trends and Unlock Benefits With ModusLink
With a keen eye on the latest in innovation and partnerships with bonded logistics providers, supply chain optimization can be easier than many have ever thought possible. Supply chain managers and shipping service providers can utilize the power of omni logistics and integrated technology to improve services for cross-border supply chain networks.
Would you like to know more about the latest automation and digitalization developments for supply chains and how they can help you meet and exceed customer expectations? Talk to a ModusLink expert today to learn more.
Bendis, M. (2022, 17 mei). Industry 4.0: the digital supply chain. EasyStock. Geraadpleegd op 20 mei 2022, van https://www.eazystock.com/uk/blog-uk/digital-supply-chain-digitization/
K.P.M.G. (z.d.). Five supply chain trends to follow in 2022. Zetes. Geraadpleegd op 19 mei 2022, van https://www.zetes.com/en/supply-chain-visibility/supply-chain-visibility-software/five-supply-chain-trends-to-follow-in-2022.
Team, D. F. (2021, 19 augustus). What Is Supply Chain Digitization, and Why Does It Matter? DDC Freight Process Outsourcing. Geraadpleegd op 19 mei 2022, van https://www.ddcfpo.com/freight-process-insights/what-is-supply-chain-digitization-and-why-does-it-matter
Vanner, C. (2022a, februari 7). Supply Chain Automation: What is it and How Can it Benefit Me? Bizagi Site. Geraadpleegd op 20 mei 2022, van https://www.bizagi.com/en/blog/supply-chain-automation-what-is-it-how-can-it-benefit-me
Vanner, C. (2022b, februari 7). Supply Chain Automation: What is it and How Can it Benefit Me? Bizagi Site. Geraadpleegd op 20 mei 2022, van https://www.bizagi.com/en/blog/supply-chain-automation-what-is-it-how-can-it-benefit-me.