Modern Supply Chain Technology to Address Real Challenges in 2024

Learn about the role of supply chain technology in transforming the logistics industry along with its advantages, trends, and challenges.

A supply chain management smartly controls different supply chain processes and operations and processes centrally to establish efficient systems. In the past few years, the supply chain’s landscape has changed drastically due to the side effects of COVID-19. Now, lots of challenges have badly affected the growth and flow of supply chains. Nowadays, businesses prefer to make their supply chain processes more efficient, faster, and smart. Intelligent, advanced technologies can help supply chain companies and leaders get the most out of their supply chain management strategy. The Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, AI, ML, robotics, automation, and 3D printing are unique examples of supply chain technologies that increase competitive advantages. This content emphasizes modern supply chain technology to address chain challenges in 2024.

What is Supply Chain Technology?

What is Supply Chain Technology | Binmile

When we talk about supply chain technology, it refers to any digital equipment that supply chain experts utilize to streamline, innovate, and optimize supply chain processes for carriers and shippers. Perfect supply chain technology empowers companies to create greater visibility within their supply chain, get more control over their inventory, decrease operating costs, and get a competitive edge. It also plays a vital role in enhancing customer retention and satisfaction. When you opt for the right supply chain technology, you should get the following advantages.

  • real-time actionable data
  • visibility across your supply chain
  • simplified supply chain
  • enhanced customer communication

Overall, good supply chain technology controls the flow of physical goods and services at different levels flawlessly with planning, delivery, manufacturing, and return processes. It is also a great way to control supply chain operations and remove potential supply chain shocks with real-time insights.

Advantages of Supply Chain Technology

Deploying Supply Chain Management (SCM) technology and best practices add substantial value to your business. All retailers and manufacturers can expect the benefits of cost optimization and time-to-value reduction by leveraging power supply chain technologies. These technologies influence business impacts directly and indirectly. At a broader level, there are five significant benefits of using supply chain technology.

  • Better collaboration among organizations, individuals, and departments to accomplish a shared goal and maintain a consistent information flow
  • Improved access to information for better communication, accurate forecasting, and flawless execution by connecting previously isolated data
  • Improved agility with supply chain technology to address common problems, generate new company prospects faster, get better insights, and enhance access to simulations and information
  • Improved consumer experience and customer loyalty with happy customers with better visibility, accuracy, and agility of supply chain technology
  • Improved insight for real-time simulations, multiple solutions, essential better and faster decision-making on overall supply chain performance

Getting an intelligent supply chain and taking its benefits are different. Business organizations involved in supply chain management must rely on quality management software designed, built, and developed by a custom software development company.

4 Supply Chain Technology Trends to Gaze At

#1 Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence continues to progress and enhance supply chain management. Here are some statistics to look at:

  • Early adopters of AI-powered inventory management and supply chain management have reduced logistics costs by 15% compared to their rivals.
  • AI is expected to produce somewhere between $1.3 to $2 trillion in economic value in the next two decades.
  • The industry for Artificial Intelligence in supply chain management is predicted to touch the $17.5 billion mark worldwide by 2028.

When it comes to eCommerce supply chain technology, AI has two categories:

  • Augmentation: AI that helps humans with their daily tasks.
  • Automation: AI that can work without human involvement.

Using AI for the logistics department consists of different supply chain technology options that can help businesses perceive complicated information and improve human performance by taking over time-consuming and regular tasks.

#2 Demand Forecasting

Although most merchants use spreadsheets as their preferred supply chain planning tool in the logistics industry, 43% of surveyed respondents have said that they have planned to use AI and ML for a few supply chain planning activities. This is because tech-powered demand forecasting using the latest supply chain technology is important for minimizing supply chain errors. With inaccurate forecasting, the chances are high that companies can lose golden sales opportunities because of imprecise inventory data, which results in understocking or overstocking issues leading to lost profits.

Bear in mind that traditional inventory forecasting counts majorly on historical data. But with advanced, tech-backed demand forecasting for supply chain management, online brands can:

  • Predict demand more accurately
  • Improve inventory levels efficiently
  • Replenish inventory accordingly

#3 Warehouse Robotics

Robotics have been in development for a long time and the most surprising news is that they are becoming more common in the eCommerce supply chain, establishing newer supply chain trends. For a long time, robots were only suitable for processes in industrial manufacturing because they weren’t safe for people to be around during use. But the good news is that circumstances have changed these days and major supply chains have already implemented robotics to expedite and enhance accuracy in retail fulfillment.

One of the top logistic software development services providers states that order picking can cover 55% or more of your warehouse labor cost and it leaves little to no room for warehouse employees to focus on enhancement and implementation of new processes. However, when one implements robotics to reduce labor requirements and time spent on fulfillment, a greater number of logistics experts and staff can focus on more complex processes, like workflows, packaging innovations, and more.

#4 Self-Driving Trucks

The development of self-driving trucks is being backed by massive investments in the hope that it will enhance last-mile delivery. Although several companies are investing billions of dollars in autonomous vehicle startups, still, years of research, development, and testing are still required before self-driving technology can be implemented throughout the industry. However, we will see a lot of progress in a few years to come because of the growing concerns around driver shortage and sustainability problems, which are the main factors in driving considerable investments in self-driving transportation and setting newer supply chain trends.

Also Read: Benefits of ERP in SCM Software

How Advancements in Supply Chain Technology are Enhancing Logistics?

Advancement in Supply Chain Tech for Logistics | Binmile

1. Forecasting Future Demand

In traditional logistics, predicting demand was a massive challenge and difficult to predict. Supply chains once lacked knowledge across operations owing to a disconnection between upstream and downstream activities, where the former refers to the process of getting raw materials to the manufacturer, while the latter is the process of getting products from the manufacturer to the end customer.

Due to this, major discrepancies in inventory reconciliation emerged, which made it difficult to ensure there was plenty of stock available to fulfill the demand of customers and prevent stockouts. Fortunately, now it is feasible to connect all sales channels and distribution centers using state-of-the-art supply chain technology. Its biggest benefit is that it offers a full overview of inventory trends and data across a supply chain network to make wise decisions on:

  • How many items to reorder and when?
  • Where to store specific items based on the demand?
  • What platforms to sell through based on performance?

2. Higher Order Accuracy Rates

Many industry experts believe that without implementing supply chain technology, it is pretty difficult to maintain an optimal order accuracy rate, i.e., between 95% to 98%, when handling a high volume of orders.

Newer developments in supply chain technology continue to eliminate time-consuming and manual tasks that are likely to involve human error. Take, for example, warehouse robotics are designed to reduce common mistakes by picking, packing, and sorting orders depending on precise data.

3. On-Demand Delivery

The best logistic software development services provider says on-demand logistics and delivery depend on speed and efficiency. And the great news is that supply chain management technologies facilitate quicker delivery expectations along with improvements in robotics, AI, and the rest of the automation technologies.

By automating a large portion of supply chain activities, logistics experts can concentrate on expanding coverage, improving workflows, and determining how to enhance logistics to get products to the places where they need to be in the fastest and most affordable way possible.

4. Automated Shipping

There is no denying the fact that with multiple shipping options and methods at one’s disposal, improving a shipping strategy to save costs while meeting consumer expectations is a challenging task. Automated shipping solutions powered by modern supply chain technology remove the complexity of shipping by automatically queueing up customer orders and getting rid of some manual tasks involved.

Just to let you know, shipping technology can be as complicated as the use of robots, or something as simple as adding a layer of software or installing infrastructure, such as conveyor belts.

5. Real-Time Monitoring

One thing you must know is that an eCommerce supply chain keeps moving and inventory levels and demand keep shifting frequently. Therefore, it is necessary to leverage real-time monitoring that allows business owners and their teams to stay informed about operations with full transparency and without being involved every minute of the day.

Apart from that, real-time monitoring is also important when it is required to handle inventory, according to a top logistic app development company. Accessing real-time inventory data provides a precise and transparent view of all items at any time while showing deep insights into past and future demand and SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) and channel performance.

Read More: Supply Chain Management Software Risk

Gartner’s Perspective on Supply Chain Technology

Emerging technologies have helped many supply chain leaders get the best out of their supply chain processes and services. Supply chain technology allows them to address digital transformation, update their legacy systems, improve human decision-making, and manage assets. The finding of a recent Gartner survey shows that about 61% of survey respondents find supply chain technology as a resource of competitive advantage.

Today, organizations need to be more flexible with digitization while improving human decision-making and handling modern supply chain technologies. Moreover, the adoption of digital supply chain technologies will rise fast to improve human decision-making in the coming 3-5 years.

  • 25% of supply chain decisions will be affected by intelligent edge ecosystems by 2025
  • A microservices architecture will cover 25% of supply chain execution vendors by 2026
  • About 80% of companies may witness severe value loss by 2026 with digital supply chain twin
  • Embedded AI and advanced analytics (AA) will be delivered by 75% of supply chain management app vendors commercially by 2026
  • Intralogistics smart robots will be adopted by about 75% of enterprises by 2026 for warehouse operations

Keep Reading: Digital Twin Technology for Supply Chain

Supply Chain Challenges in 2024

The Future of Supply Chain Management | Binmile

Supply chain disruptions are unprecedented, and the post-pandemic world has been a game-changer for business enterprises associated with supply chain services and processes. The last two years caused disruptions that consumer goods brands haven’t experienced. New challenges are making things tough for companies in a competitive eCommerce space. There is a long list of common challenges with supply chain management that all product-based businesses need to address before it is too late. Look at these common challenges that emerge as a big block.

A. Material Scarcity and increasing Freight Prices

When we talk about the common supply chain problems in 2024, the challenge of increasing freight costs tops the list. Insufficient inputs have been a primary concern for supply chain leaders in the last two years. Moreover, an abrupt rise in consumer demand has forced companies and suppliers to struggle and deal with the scarcity of demanded materials. A recent survey by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) highlights

  • difficulties in transporting products across industries
  • record-long lead times
  • rising commodities prices
  • wide-scale shortages of critical basic materials

Moreover, skyrocketing sea and air freight prices have made it difficult to move freight in any capacity. So, these two challenges will also continue to affect the supply chain in 2024.

B. Port Congestion

Another big challenge for the world’s supply chains today is port congestion. Thanks to the pandemic for making things challenging for supply chain leaders. Today, port owners, carriers, and shippers are still searching for viable solutions to resolve this issue.

Delayed and time-consuming loading and unloading processes at ports make port congestion issues severe. Labor shortages and social distancing norms created major bottlenecks at global docks. That is why congestion and backlog forced companies to wait.

C. Issues with Demand Forecasting

Demand has added a new complexity layer to many companies’ supply chain management for the last two years. The commencement of COVID-19 shattered all forecasts for inventory and supply of consumer goods. Now, the new challenge comes from attempting to improve predictions for customer demand. Here, supply chain managers should abandon their bias and use new data sets for forecasting to make better results with the highest accuracy.

The biggest supply chain challenges make things hard for supply chain leaders and executives. With the advent of new supply chain technologies, you can solve all these significant disruptions effectively.

Read here: Make Your Supply Chain Smart

Addressing Supply Chain Challenges with Modern Technologies

As per modern supply chain analysis, traceability, transparency, automation, and collaboration via technology will transform supply chains digitally. A combination of technologies such as machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), robotic process automation (RPA), blockchain, business networks, and advanced analytics will help in a big transformation in the supply chain. These technologies make supply chains more resilient, predictive, and flexible. Adopting these technologies is likely to address common supply chain challenges efficiently.

Look at the five emerging technologies that can accelerate supply chain digitalization vehemently in 2024.

Top Supply Chain Technologies to Address Supply Chain Challenges in 2024 | Binmile

#1 Robotic Processing Automation (RPA)

According to a Deloitte report, the RPA will grow strong in supply chain operations in the upcoming five years. With RPA apps drones and Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), supply chain companies can achieve the following goals:

  • efficiency and productivity improvement
  • employee safety increment
  • repetitive and mundane task performance
  • revenue increment
  • risk rate reduction

Robotic-and-a-service (RaaS)-based model also plays a pivotal role in leasing units through various service contracts.

#2 Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML)

AI and ML can help supply chain organizations reduce disruptions and reorganize planning. AI can play a better role in managing and controlling inaccuracy, bottlenecks, and human errors. AI is great for automatic data processing and evidence-based decisions. There are several use cases for ML and AI across the supply chain. Anticipating disruptions, optimizing resource planning, and predicting demand are some use cases for AI and ML across the supply chain. AI and ML play a big role in driving efficiencies, automating integration, and greater visibility. In fact, according to a leading research and consulting services provider, 50% of supply chain agencies will invest in apps that support AI and advanced analytics capabilities by the end of 2024.

#3 Blockchain

Blockchain technology can help supply chain companies improve transparency for their targeted audience using a decentralized digital ledger. The use of blockchain will address the issue of data transparency by increasing precision in audits and security improvement. It helps you

  • Eliminate the need for physical paperwork
  • Improve your trust level
  • Make digital payments secure
  • Save time and money

Read More: Communication Tools to Manage the COVID Impact on Businesses

#4 Internet of Things (IoT)

When saving money and time and assisting data-driven decision-making, asset tracking via IoT makes a big difference. Today, IoT devices have enhanced quality management in supply chains. From RIFD chips to mobile sensors to smart devices, tracking products have become relatively easy concerning environmental factors of shipment.

  • decreases the probability of piracy
  • facilitates new fleet management solutions
  • improves security
  • improves workflow and customer satisfaction
  • makes the supply chain connected
  • reduces the total cost of ownership

Learn More: Role of Blockchain in Supply Chain

Conclusion

Investing in supply chain technology enables supply chain companies and organizations to simplify business processes, improve efficiency, eliminate unnecessary links, and reduce overall expenditures. It also makes a big difference with the optimized links in your supply chain. Implementing a quality-based system in the supply chain enables you to cut costs and speed up delivery to end consumers. Additionally, building secure SCM (Supply Chain Management) software ensures data integrity and protection throughout the supply chain network, safeguarding against potential cyber threats and vulnerabilities.

Emerging technologies help you address all major supply chain challenges. Modern technologies can help businesses control supply chain operations and make informed decisions efficiently. Binmile harnesses emerging technologies like AR, IoT, and blockchain to address your supply chain challenges in 2024 and make your supply chain function smoothly.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Just to let you know, supply chain technology operates on data. Data enables visibility and lets establishments make informed decisions. With historical data at one’s disposal, businesses can make use of predictive analytics to forecast the future, including:

  • Upcoming demand
  • Possible supply chain disruptions
  • How customers may behave

Technology has transformed supply chain management big time by:

  • Automating processes
  • Improving visibility
  • Enabling real-time data analysis
  • Improving communication
  • Enhancing decision-making

AI and Machine Learning are not just fancy yet intricate terms, they are cutting-edge Supply Chain Technology that foretell market trends and handle inventory, ultimately minimizing waste. As per a study done by a global professional services company, AI can upsurge profitability rates by 38% by the end of 2025 in logistics and supply chain management.

Author
Ashish Aggarwal
Head of Delivery

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