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Monitor Your Supply Chain to Identify Opportunities Featured

Monitor Your Supply Chain to Identify Opportunities man holding incandescent bulb

No matter how effective you think your supply chain is, there are areas that you will want to closely monitor to ensure they are as highly effective as possible to enable things to run smoothly. While doing so, note that a timely response to important events within the supply chain can make a substantial difference between lagging and leading the pack. But how can you ensure that you know every important detail of what is going on in the supply chain and take advantage of this knowledge to remain on top? This is where supply chain monitoring becomes crucial every step of the way.

What is supply chain monitoring?

Supply chain monitoring is the process of tracking operations within the supply chain. It starts from the time when raw materials or parts are ordered from suppliers until the delivery of the final product to the customer. Monitoring is part of supply chain management. The management process entails various activities like monitoring logistics and evaluating supplier risks. The goal of monitoring is to avoid adverse effects on the operations.

Examples of supply chain monitoring activities

Supply chain monitoring is made of various activities. Some of them include locating and tracking the assets, which can be raw materials, final products, and human resources. With the advances in the Internet of Things and other related technologies, tracking and monitoring have been made easy. Data from IoT sensors can offer companies real-time information on inventory and increase supply chain visibility.

An example is monitoring the temperature of products to ensure they are of top quality. For instance, pharmaceutical products like the COVID-19 vaccines need regular monitoring to maintain certain temperatures. Otherwise, the vaccines will be spoilt. For these vaccines, like in some other products, monitoring the condition while in transit is important to ensure efficiency. On the other hand, companies need to ensure that suppliers do not pose risks by ensuring that the risks from the suppliers are detected early enough. Therefore, supply chain monitoring is important because it gathers intelligence on potential risks by screening partners and suppliers for possible issues. The importance of screening events at this point is to learn about certain events that could impact the supply chain. These can include events like natural disasters, accidents and consumer-related problems.

What can you detect through monitoring?

Supply chains can suffer the most in case a disruption occurs. For instance, disruption can cause a delay in the delivery of raw materials from suppliers creating a domino effect and causing unfulfilled customer orders. This can hamper customer satisfaction, sales and income on top of damaging business reputation. Through monitoring, enterprises can identify disturbances in the areas below:

Equipment repair

Equipment is naturally subject to problems caused by wear and tear. However, an unplanned breakdown of equipment can halt operations and result in losses. With IoT sensors, you can identify the problems even before they occur.

Logistical issues

A common cause for disruptions in the supply chain is related to logistics. Factors that may affect logistics include natural disasters, traffic congestion and adverse weather conditions. However, with technologies like sensors and Global Positioning System (GPS), challenges can be identified, and new routes relayed to ensure products reach where they are needed.

Cyberattacks

Cyberattacks have become a menace to many industries, and supply chains have been identified as the most dangerous areas where hackers and malicious people can wreak havoc. This calls for monitoring. Enterprises need to monitor the integrity of their systems and suppliers and prepare for possible cyber threats.  

Failure to deliver

Detecting delays in delivery is challenging yet important for everyone in the supply chain. Therefore, predicting the performance of partners or suppliers can allow better business decisions to be made. With the help of machine learning to track news and collect data about suppliers, this can be made possible. You can determine whether certain suppliers are reliable and whether they have been involved in major incidents and events that can affect performance.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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