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What Will Supply Chains Look Like in the Future?

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Technology is a significantly powerful influence in supply chains. With new technology constantly being introduced, it is shaping the way supply chains operate and making them evolve quickly to keep up with their competitors and demand. Customers are craving a personalised experience when dealing with the supply chain and they are demanding efficiency.

When looking at retail giants like Amazon, their Amazon prime scheme can provide a large number of items with free 1-2 day delivery and thousands of items can now be shipped and delivered in an hour. Decreased delivery times are definitely in the scope of future supply chains. They are optimising warehouse locations, outsourcing delivery and finding creative ways to slice delivery times.

The Internet of Things will connect supply chains efficiently

The Internet of Things comprises technology that is applied in a variety of ways that have the potential to change the operations of supply chains around the world. Essentially, the Internet of Things provides a global network of connected devices that allows for data to be transferred and sent to sensors out in the real world. This provides scope for automation and connectivity. If more and more members of a supply chain can interact and be connected by the Internet of Things, it can make the process extremely efficient.

For example, when looking at manufacturing inventory, there are countless components that need maintenance. Manufacturing inventory can be improved with the Internet of Things if it can predict that one of the manufacturing tools needs to be serviced. It has the capability to monitor and sense when it needs to be repaired, even before something breaks. With this kind of knowledge, warehouses can keep on top of manufacturing inventory demands, since they won’t have machines out of service or broken as often. Products will go out into the supply chain quicker and with more certainty.

The Internet of Things can also shape supply chains by providing them with more transparency and traceability. Business owners will be able to assess the whole supply chain of their product. It will be easier since numerous businesses will be connected. They can track where their shipments are coming from and when they will be delivered elsewhere. This gives them more certainty and they can plan accordingly if they can see that something has gone wrong in the supply chain.

If you are aware of a problem in your supply chain, you can look to notify your customers and do something to mitigate this problem ahead of time. Since you have enhanced visibility over the entire supply chain, this puts you in a proactive position. Supply chain information used to be reactive and it was difficult for suppliers to respond before problems had escalated.

Automation will be more prominent in the supply chain

Automation is undoubtedly going to be another integral component of supply chains around the globe. Whether it is driverless vehicles or robots in the warehouse, the age of automation is upon us. It is automation like we’ve never seen it before and it will be one of the largest influencers of the supply chain.

Watch closely as supply chains are changing quickly and will have more benefits than ever before.

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Melanie - Unleashed Software

Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.

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