Hackernoon logoTechnology Boosts Supply Chain Management During The Pandemic by@elaine-bennett

Technology Boosts Supply Chain Management During The Pandemic

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@elaine-bennettElaine Bennett

Freelance blogger, digital marketing specialist and tech enthusiast

According to the Institute for Supply Chain Management, nearly 75% of U.S. businesses reported supply chain issues since the outbreak of the Coronavirus. Before the pandemic, the adoption of advanced tech solutions in supply chain management was gradual. Now, companies focus on improving the resiliency of their supply chain. The goal is to adapt to the growing customer needs and make data-driven business decisions. Here are several technologies that help companies build an agile supply chain during Coronavirus.

The Internet of Things Improves Data Transparency

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing at an astounding pace. According to statistics, the IoT market revenue is $212 billion. In 2020, there were 20.4 billion IoT devices. That number is expected to reach 75 billion by 2025. 

These technologies are critical in the New Normal. For example, supply chain managers need to track where the product is, when it will arrive, and how it contributes to the overall logistics flow. Staying on top of this data is easier with IoT that integrates with the cloud and artificial intelligence. 

By investing in the Internet of Things, companies can improve the supply chain performance in multiple ways, including:

  • Tracking product location in real-time, via multiple devices and locations
  • Monitoring storage conditions – sensors help supply chain managers monitor the shipment process inside the vehicle. They can track a wide range of factors, such as pressure, temperature, humidity, weather conditions, to identify potential risks and eliminate product damages.
  • Predicting the transportation and arrival of the product – IoT allows real-time tracking, helping companies estimate the final delivery dates and boost customer experience.
  • Estimating your company’s demands – your IoT system allows you to analyze data and predict market trends faster. That way, you can avoid overproduction and minimize your expenses.
  • Locating goods in the warehouse - real-time location sensors improve the performance of your warehouse operators. They automatically track and analyze inventory positions and stock levels.

That reduces the need for manual work, allowing companies to automate workflows and manage the supply chain while working remotely.

The major downside of the implementation of IoT technologies is the risk of cybersecurity breaches. As IoT is becoming an inevitable part of supply chain management, companies will need to invest more in sophisticated data security solutions.

Blockchain Technologies Keep Transactions Safer

While blockchain technologies are often associated with cryptocurrencies, they also play a fundamental role in supply management. In most cases, modern supply chains still operate without blockchain technologies. However, more and more companies are pilot-testing the implementation of these technologies. For instance, IMB and Maersk work on creating cross-border and cross-party transactions that use blockchain to improve process efficiency. 

The food supply chain will probably be the first to implement the massive blockchain adoption. With these tools, they can boost the visibility and traceability of goods.

Now, blockchain provides supply chains with multiple benefits, including:

  • Transparent and controlled transactions. The biggest benefit of blockchain is that it does not have intermediaries, such as banks. That results in more transparent transactions. At the same time, transaction information is available to the authorized participants only.
  • The transactions are immediately visible to authorized parties. Therefore, no one can remove or change any data added to the blockchain.
  • Blockchain is highly reliable. The distributed nature of blockchain makes it irrevocable, reducing the risk of fraud.

Cloud MRP Solutions Centralize Supply Chain Data

Most companies switched to remote work following the outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting global pandemic. One of the easiest ways to manage and monitor your supply chain while working remotely is to invest in an MRP system. 

Cloud-based MRP software solutions streamline many repetitive aspects of supply chain management and minimize human error. For example, your employees do not have to waste time entering data into on-premise software or transferring data from one platform to another. That way, you can leave room for better communication and planning in remote work settings.

MRP software allows manufacturing businesses to track all operations from a single tool. They centralize your sales, CRM, inventory management, and order management data within a single platform. That way, your employees can gain better insights into the supply chain performance, irrespective of their location. 

Another benefit of the MRP software is its integration options. These software solutions provide API integrations with all tools relevant to your company, from cloud services and shippers to accounting tools and payment gateways.

Robotics Automated Manual Business Processes

The need for robotics in supply chain management is growing, especially since the rising need for social distancing. The most obvious benefit of robotics is the automation of the supply chain. Robots improve supply chain productivity, reduce error and risk rates, improve employee safety, and allow your staff to focus on the business areas that cannot be automated.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures, supply chain automation is a necessity. Drones are a perfect example of using robotics in supply chain management. They can be either controlled by human pilots or be fully automated. 

Companies can use them in a wide range of warehousing processes, from delivering supplies from storage to the factory, transporting goods, and scanning inventory. Stats predict that the global aircraft industry will have reached $10 billion by 2021.

Companies with big budgets invest in full-scale business automation. Amazon uses 200,000 robots in 50 warehouses. JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce giant, has a fully automated warehouse where 20 industrial robots perform tasks without human interference. 

Advanced Tech is the Backbone of Supply Chain Management

The global pandemic has taught us that unexpected changes in the business ecosystem are possible. To maintain a competitive advantage and boost customer satisfaction, you first need to strengthen your supply chain. 

The pandemic forced companies to adopt advanced tech solutions, such as blockchain, IoT, AI, and robotics, faster than ever. With these advancements, you boost employee safety, customer satisfaction, and improve workplace operations. Above all, you will make informed decisions and ensure your supply management processes are secure and transparent.

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