Post pandemic, the supply chain and logistics sector has transformed drastically with the help of digital technology by automating and optimizing the supply chain processes. Companies are now adopting digital technologies to increase supply chain efficiency, improve cycle time, and minimize human errors. Recent critical developments in the supply chain and logistics sector include data integration, collaboration, real-time visibility, predictive analytics, and automation. Data is vital in all these technologies, whether it is end-to-end visibility in real time or collaboration among all stakeholders. Essentially it all goes down to getting the right data which helps in optimizing the processes. Having access to accurate data fosters interconnectedness among teams and stakeholders, leading to better communication, and cooperation resulting in effective workflows and improved outcomes.
Some of the recent trends are as follows:
RFID for tracking: RFID provides logistics companies with multiple ways to track and manage products and assist in the supply chain. RFID tags and scanners can potentially improve product and materials handling inside and outside the warehouse system, from inventory management to automating processes. RFID helps in improving Warehouse management systems (WMS). Companies can integrate RFID technology with a WMS to potentially make product tracking faster, easier, and more accurate. When goods arrive in a warehouse, companies can use an RFID scanner to scan the goods on each pallet and add new inventory to the WMS. In addition to that, when they select goods for delivery, they can scan each RFID code and update the stock in the inventory.
Drones in Supply Chain and Logistics: Drone technology in supply chain and logistics provides multiple advantages to maximize their operations. With the help of drones, companies can increase productivity by streamlining the delivery process. This also helps in achieving sustainability by reducing carbon emissions and helps in cost optimization by saving labor and fuel costs. As minimal human touch is required in drone delivery, this can result in better lead time and ensure speedy delivery, leading to better customer satisfaction. Some logistics companies started implementing drones into their manufacturing facilities to move raw materials from warehouse shelves to store shelves. Additionally, drones can be helpful for delivering goods in rural areas and disaster locations where it is difficult for transportation vehicles to reach.
Predictive Analytics: Quality data becomes an important component for supply chain and logistics companies to understand customer demand and trends accurately to remain competitive in the market. Through predictive analytics, companies can achieve a better understanding of customer demand accurately by projecting relevant metrics for planning and forecasting. Predictive analytics collects and evaluates data in order to make decisions on patterns and trends. By evaluating real-time and historical information, it can predict potential outcomes and events, enabling companies to identify challenges in its initial stages and pinpoint areas that require improvement.
Real-time visibility: As customer demands are evolving, the need for real-time visibility has increased significantly in supply chain and logistics. Real-time visibility can be achieved by implementing digital tools that collects data in real-time, and log detailed information as goods move through all stages of the value chain processes, from sourcing and manufacturing to the final delivery. With the help of IoT-enabled sensors, companies can track inventory levels, shipments, and deliveries in real-time to meet customer demand. With better transparency, companies can improve their operational competence and productivity of the supply chain process and make informed decisions based on real-time data.
Autonomous Vehicles: Autonomous vehicles gained the attraction of supply chain and logistics companies for better optimization. By adopting autonomous vehicles, the delivery process can be streamlined. Also, recently, driver shortages, delayed fulfilment, and poor management has been increasing which can be resolved by adopting autonomous vehicles. By providing improved data on the location and availability of goods, including initial components to completed items, autonomous vehicles can assist with just-in-time production methods. Moreover, this aids in enhancing productivity, cutting down on travel time, and improving fuel efficiency. Last-mile transportation will benefit from the usage of autonomous vehicles as this can save costs and delivery durations while also lowering carbon emissions.