The Future of Smart Supply Chains

Supply chains play an essential role in business and industrial processes. A lot of different companies depend on supply chains to create their products or carry out their services for their customers. So how can supply chains be optimized with technology to ensure that operations go off without a hitch?

Digital tools for supply chain organizations can help them refine their strategies for increased productivity and get ahead of the competition. In addition, the future use of smart supply chain technology could provide many benefits to businesses in this industry –  if supply chain managers gain a holistic perspective on these tools. 

Within this piece, we will be looking at the advantages of smart supply chains, the trends and predictions about the upcoming smart supply chain practices, and what readers can expect for the future of supply chain technology.

What is a Smart Supply Chain?

A smart supply chain is a type of supply chain business that has enhanced its operating processes through the use of advanced technologies. For a supply chain to be considered “intelligent,” they would need to use smart technologies, like connected sensors and robots, that would allow them to improve efficiency and reduce their operating costs. 

In addition, smart supply chains possess automated features to monitor and process information from various departments within a company, so company management can gain insights and make well-informed decisions.

Advantages of Intelligent Supply Chains

There are many advantages to intelligent supply chains incorporating specialized robots and technologies into their business processes. The main benefit of these advancements would be increased transparency and efficiency. 

Through the use of these smart tools, working methods can become more efficient, and leadership staff can make information-based decisions to improve their company.

1. Self-Optimizing and Self-Organizing

Supply chains need to handle various tasks to make sure that operations are successful. For example, orders need to be organized and processed correctly and on time. However, smart supply chains can automate deliveries and shipping. 

Their tech systems can process orders in an organized and optimized way for smooth processing and keep track of logistics through their smart supply chain IoT.

2. Smart Analytics to Reduce Downtime and Waste

One of the key advantages of smart supply chains is their ability to use artificial intelligence and smart analytics for tasks like autonomous transportation, data mining, and visibility tools. 

Smart analytics can also help supply chain managers and leaders determine significant trends that occur within the business so they can make decisions that reduce downtime, decrease company waste, and encourage productivity.

3. Predictive Analytics to Monitor Equipment

Tools with predictive analytics grant smart supply chains the capability to gain important data and insights. 

This can also help them monitor their equipment and the status of essential tasks. In addition, monitoring equipment and tasks with predictive analytics can help supply chain businesses with processes like ensuring timely delivery and creating strategic objectives.

The Future of Smart Supply Chains: 5 Trends to Watch

To gain an accurate idea of the future of smart supply chains, it is helpful to consider the current trends of this industry. For example, automation and artificial intelligence are becoming increasingly popular in smart supply chain management and processes. 

Additionally, the onset of COVID-19 within the past few years has created more human safety concerns and updated practices to encourage proper sanitation. Trends such as these have altered how smart supply chains do business, which can help us draw conclusions about supply chain management and expectations for the future.

Based on these supply chain industry trends, we can form an informed opinion on how smart supply chains may evolve as time progresses. For expert insights on these changing trends, we can look at the predictions from Gartner, a reputable company that gives insights about supply chain system trends. 

These predictions are based on data and trends, and smart supply chains are likely to see changes. Along with these predictions, we have provided interpretation and insight from Adia, a trusted resource in helping businesses with warehouse staffing and logistics optimization.

1. To Enforce Social Distancing in Warehouses, Demand for Robotic Goods-to-Persons will 4x by 2023

This prediction on the future of supply chains is probable because the worldwide pandemic caused human safety concerns that called for social distancing. Luckily this was made possible in part through advancements like Robotic Goods-to-Persons. 

These robots would remedy the issue of maintaining human-to-human social distance for supply chain operations, as they could transport items between individuals. Additionally, these systems are highly efficient, so as supply chain companies utilize these robots, they will likely see an increase in human productivity and an improvement in storage density.

Adia agrees with this prediction, as we believe that tools such as these can help warehouse operators stay on track with tasks. Also, this could solve the problem of illnesses spreading from within the workplace, which would mean fewer absent staff members and increased productivity.

2. By 2023, 50% of International Product-Centric Supply Chains Will Use Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms

Real-time transportation visibility platforms use software so that supply chains can view the status of shipments in their travels after they have left the warehouse. As a result, the market for these products is expected to grow in the upcoming years.

We at Adia believe that it is likely that more and more supply chains will use these tools to monitor their shipments and increase efficiency in their delivery processes. However, this is only likely if platform vendors are aligned with smart chain carrier networks.

3. Over the Next Two Years, Less Than 5% of Supply Chain Control Towers Will be Fully Exploited Due to Mindset and Cultural Hurdles

According to Gartner’s predictions, many supply chain companies are not ready to deploy and fully exploit control towers across their end-to-end supply chain. Deploying and exploiting control towers would help supply chains reach their full potential. However, this prediction is based on the few companies that have taken this step thus far.

Adia agrees that while fully exploiting supply chain towers would be helpful, this would be a big adjustment to the current way processes are handled, which not all companies are likely to commit to just yet.

4. By 2025, at Least 50% of Supply Chain Organizations Will Have a Technology Leadership Role Reporting Directly to the Chief Supply Chain Officer

This prediction of Gartner is based in part on data collected in their survey on users of supply chain technologies, which indicated that 36% of the companies responding had technology leadership reporting directly within their supply chain organizations. This could decrease the reliance on IT teams that would typically slow down the digitalization of a supply chain.

The views of Adia support this prediction. More technology leadership roles such as these could mean more internal expertise on enterprise technologies. In addition, this support is likely to result in more acceptance of technology tools for supply chain management and operations.

5. By 2024, 50% of Supply Chain Organizations Will Use Applications that Support Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Analytics

Gartner predicts that half of all supply chain organizations will use applications supporting AI and advanced analytics by 2024. This could mean increased efficiency in several supply chain management and operations areas – if supply chain leaders adopt a holistic perspective on AI and advanced analytics.

We at Adia believe that these features in supply chain technology and tools will gain popularity, possibly even at a higher rate than what Gartner predicts. This considering the increase in capable devices that support AI and analytics on the market and the idea that this will become increasingly accepted within the next few years.

Adia is Here to Keep Your Warehouse Staffed and Ready to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Many factors could occur and cause unforeseen effects on the supply chain industry when it comes to the future. However, taking facts and data of current trends into consideration can help supply chain management teams to prepare for likely developments.

If you want to learn more about industry trends or the best supply chain management books, check out the Adia blog. Adia is an on-demand staffing platform that connects employers with vetted workers. Learn more about how Adia can help you with your warehouse staffing efforts by clicking the button below.

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