How is Technology Enhancing Supply Chain Management?
From RFID and Drones to Autonomous Vessels, new technologies are already transforming and enhancing supply chain. But how will these technologies revolutionize supply chain management in the coming years? Take a look at the interactive graphic below to find out.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) enables the automatic tracking of inventory and assets and therefore simplifies the supply chain whilst reducing operating costs.
Using RFID tracking allows business owners to improve inventory management and increase the control they have over the location of their products.
Not only does RFID technology eliminate the need for hand-scanning, which reduces the time the process takes, it also helps reduce the amount of errors workers make.
Over the next 15 years, drones will continue to evolve as a radical technology that industries are increasingly adopting. Drones are currently operating in the warehouses of two consumer-goods giants, Amazon and Walmart.
Prime Air is Amazon’s delivery system which uses drones to safely deliver packages to customers in less than 30 minutes. These rapid parcel delivery technologies will improve safety and overall efficiency.
Walmart’s warehouse strategy uses integrated drone technology to carry out a full warehouse inventory check in a single day. Previously, this process could take up to a full month when conducted by humans.
Big Data has spawned the rise of the digital supply network. Supply chain managers can implement Big Data across a number of factors within their business strategies to increase efficiency, reduce risks and improve customer service.
Multi-tier visibility – managers will have the ability to see problems at different stages in the chain, including supplier, manufacturing and distribution, and address them immediately.
Asset Intelligence – connected machines will have the ability to ‘phone home’ to their manager, alerting them of any need for repair or replenishment.
Worker safety and productivity – augmented reality technology will support workers by assisting the process of picking and packing orders and notifying them of any possible hazards in the warehouse.
INTERNET OF THINGS
By 2022, 1 trillion sensors will be connected to the internet according to research by the World Economic Forum.
The Internet of Things (IoT) will enable supply chain managers to achieve greater accuracy and visibility in all processes, as well as draw attention to possible faults throughout every supply chain operation.
The shipping element of the supply chain is already being enhanced by sensors as they can be used to track temperature, battery levels and potential errors that could affect goods and vehicles.
The future of worldwide shipping will not only include autonomous trucks on the road, but also autonomous vessels travelling across our oceans.
British luxury car company Rolls Royce have set a target to have remotely controlled autonomous vessels in international waters by 2025.
By 2035, ocean-going ships will have the ability to travel unmanned, with the ultimate goal of these intelligent vessels being a common sight on our oceans.
GPS tracking and chipping is revolutionising fleet management.
Telematics gives supply chain managers access to data, such as timings of routes and exactly how vehicles are driven, to allow them to make intelligent decisions about fleet training, fuel consumption, component failure rates and reasons for breakdown.
All these decisions can lead to savings of both time and money.