- Internet of things (IoT)
Supply chain managers are now focusing on tracking assets through IoT to save time and money, which enhances data-driven decision-making. IoT contains interconnected physical devices that monitor, collect and send data to the cloud-based software for analysis. With this technology, quality management in the supply chain through GPS tracking has improved. IoT enables logistics firms to track shipments and monitor the condition of the parcel in real-time. RFID chips, sensors, and smart devices can track and authenticate products, measure humidity, temperature, speed and environmental factors during shipping. This is a good thing for shippers who can easily identify when the products need refrigeration. IoT has proven to be an important addition to supply chain management now and in the future.
While IoT has many advantages, it opens up a new door concerning increased cybersecurity challenges. With the increased adoption of IoT in manufacturing and logistics, the risk of attacks and theft of crucial data will rise. This is a challenge that adopters will have to live with.
Since the advent of Bitcoin, blockchain has come to light as one of the key technologies that can be applied in many areas and industries, not just in cryptocurrencies. Blockchain, a distributed ledger technology, has shown immense potential in improving transparency and visibility in supply chain processes. The immutable records created by blockchain allow users to track products from source to destination and establish trust. Blockchain can establish an audit trail which is effective than using traditional methods like email or simple computer records.
- AI, machine learning and analytics
Every modern supply chain has vast amounts of data that, if used well, can unlock insights into the supply chain and how to serve the customers better. By using a combination of technologies such as AI, machine learning and predictive analytics, logistics service providers can gather knowledge and automate their operations, which will significantly improve their delivery times, ease inventory management, optimize sourcing relationships and develop better customer experiences. This will boost the levels of trust and increase sales. Predictive analytics is also a high priority. According to a survey by Deloitte on supply chains, investing in predictive analytics reduces the cost of operations, as cited by 80 percent of the respondents. On the other hand, 60 percent agreed that predictive analytics enhances customer experiences.
- Robotics and automation
Robots have shown immense potential in the supply chain in the past. It has been used in moving goods in warehouses, during transportation, and fulfilling orders. However, with the advancement of AI technologies, robots have proven useful in many other areas, including areas that have for long been seen as only humans’. AI-enabled robots are now used in tasks such as customer support through bots, picking and packing orders automatically, and enhancing safety within workplaces. On the other hand, cobots (collaborative robots) can work alongside humans in different areas to increase collaboration and speed in service delivery. The potential for human-robot collaboration is leading to an increase throughout the supply chain.