It’s an exciting time for supply chain operators. Operations are expanding, moving from small, local processes into sprawling global enterprises. This transformation is made possible by some great innovations in supply chain technology that spur growth, smarter resource planning, and overall optimization. And amidst the slew of must-have technologies shaping modern supply chains in 2020, these are a few of the most important.
1. Advanced IoT Integration
The internet-of-things (IoT) has revolutionized supply chain resource planning over the past few years—and the changes are underway. The challenge here isn’t IoT integration, per se. Most businesses have some level of IoT sensor integration these days. The real challenge is integrating new sources of IoT sensor data in ways that don’t disrupt the existing supply chain infrastructure.
Modern IoT integration tools can connect directly with supply chain vendor systems to pull IoT data back into the platform. For example, consider the transportation leg of the supply chain. Trucking companies carrying inventory will have on-fleet telematics that provides the exact location and status of every shipment. IoT integration tools can connect to these telematics via the cloud and feed this performance data back into the parent company’s system.
This type of advanced integration has the potential to produce significant cost savings. According to one study, 30% of companies that have experienced supplier failure reported a commensurate loss in revenue or business partners. By using these stronger IoT strategies across all supply chain partners, companies gain real-time data on supply chain performance—an absolute must for supply chain success in 2020.
2. Visibility Planning Tools
A key part of next-generation supply chain management is visibility. Supply chains are getting more complicated. Even smaller businesses may have supply chains that span across the globe, with multiple manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors to account for. Often, these companies lack the management resources they need to monitor these assets in the same way as their larger competitors.
Platform visibility solutions are the answer here. New tools are emerging that let supply chain operators gain complete visibility into their supply chains, no matter how many touchpoints there are. For example, ketteQ utilizes the power of data to predict issues and solve supply chain problems before they happen. Our forecasting technology analyzes sales history, CRM, channel/POS data, etc. to put the supply chain planning in a better position. This means better management of inventories and costs, fewer shortages and better delivery on customer expectations.
3. Cloud-Based Collaboration and Accessibility
It’s easy to see how modern supply chain logistics rely on the cloud, given how many vendors and touchpoints need to be accounted for.
This problem is illustrated well in a supply chain management report by Accenture: “Detailed knowledge of operations is held locally creating silos—organizational, functional and cultural—and these undermine effective collaboration between different elements of the supply chain, increasing the likelihood of problems emerging at a late stage, and limiting options for response.”
It’s a matter of visibility, for sure—but it’s also a matter of efficiency. The more vendors a supply chain has, the more silos it has, and every silo presents a communication roadblock for supply chain stakeholders. Cloud-based supply chain resource planning systems subvert these issues by connecting everything together. It’s a complex process to integrate effectively, but it’s a crucial task for supply chain efficiency.
The Future of Modern Supply Chains
This is just a small sample of the great new technologies that shape modern supply chain resource planning. New platforms, strategies, and optimization tactics are emerging all the time—and companies need to stay flexible to accommodate these advancements. It’s not possible to build the perfect supply chain overnight. However, with small, incremental improvements made over time, operators can work toward supply chain solutions that are efficient and profitable across the board.