Supply Chain Solutions Powered by Technology

A leading trend in the e-commerce sector post pandemic has been the push to build resilient and flexible supply chain solutions. The other strong push during and post-pandemic has been the disruptive technology usage in e-commerce and logistics sector to inform their supply chain strategies. Technology has been a key driver to transform the logistics and supply chain sector. The global lockdowns during the pandemic, shortage of labour, and other bottlenecks sped up the process of automation in the supply chain sector. The automation process offers brands a fresh boost in efficiency and brings real-time updates to stay flexible.

Technology is revolutionizing the logistics and supply chain sector in more than one way. It is helping brands to streamline operations, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction. The evolving technologies like AI and ML are helping brands bring their products to market faster and efficiently.

Leading supply chain technologies

Using a mix of technology solutions offered by AI, machine learning, and predictive analysis, brands can manage their complex supply chains by automating operations. It helps them to improve delivery times, manage their inventory easily, and optimize communications. Helping brands to create new customer experiences that help to boost sales. Let’s have a look at the technologies that are leading disruptive changes in the supply chain sector. The technologies that are increasing resilience and resistance for the sector in a digitally linked world.

Technology solutions offering unique solutions in the supply chain sector:

1. Demand Forecasting

Using AI tools, companies create spreadsheets to plan supply chain activities. Traditional forecasting relied mostly on historical data, but today with advanced tech, demand forecasting utilizes AI and machine learning (ML). It helps to optimize inventory levels, replenish inventory, and more.

Machine learning is taking demand forecasting to the next level with real-time information. It aggregates data from several internal and external links, as well as information on demographics, weather, social media, etc. Since new products lack historical data, ML improves forecasting by identifying trends from other similar products. Using this data to bring in better predictions.

Tech-enabled demand forecasting helps companies to reduce supply chain errors.

2. Artificial Intelligence

The evolution of AI is offering brands several new opportunities to bring disruptive innovation and make waves in the supply chain sector. It brings in two major aspects in the supply chain and logistics sector:

i. Automation – AI powers functions that do not need a human interface.

ii. Augmentation – AI assists employees in day-to-day tasks, saving time.

AI in the supply chain comes with many technology solutions that help brands to comprehend complex data. It enhances employee performance by automating repetitive tasks, time-consuming tasks, and routine tasks. It enables higher visibility and integration across the supply chain network. It uses algorithms to detect patterns, trends, and gaps in supply chain operations. Leading to accuracy in forecasting.

3. Self-driving trucks/ Autonomous vehicles

A key operation logistics and e-commerce brands are investing heavily in is the last-mile delivery. This means the speed and the convenience of delivering the product to a consumer’s doorstep. Drones and self-driven trucks are examples of deep investments that hope to further the last-mile delivery sector. Today, we see a rise in the autonomous vehicle sector with rising start-ups globally who are spending billions of dollars in R&D, testing and iterations, and technology innovations to bring self-driven vehicles to the forefront of supply chain tech solutions.

Brands like Nuro, Zipline, Starship, Einride, Gatik, Serve Robotics – are some global examples of start-ups in autonomous delivery vehicles. In the Drone technology sector in India, start-ups like BharatRohan, NewSpace, SkyeAir, Drone Destination, Marut Drones, etc., are bringing in new solutions to self-delivery disruption.

Basis a report by INC42, the India drone market is expected to reach $13 billion in size by 2030.

While there is still a long journey to achieve 100% self-driven trucks, we are well on the way to testing various self-delivery solutions across global locations. This is also bringing sustainable tech-led solutions to the logistics sector.

4. Warehouse robotics

While robotics in warehouse solutions is not new, many key developments in the sector are reshaping warehouse management. Internet of Things (IoT), Collaborative Robots (Cobots), and Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) are some examples of new technological changes.

Here are how robotics innovations are aiding in warehouse solutions:

i. In the supply chain sector robotics helps to speed up the processes and improve accuracy in retail fulfilment.
ii. Order picking by robotics solutions lowers warehouse staffing costs. It also helps the warehousing staff to focus on improvements and implementation of new processes.
iii. Specialized staff can focus on building packaging innovation solutions, workflow charts and processes, etc.

WMS i.e. warehouse management systems, is a popular software today in warehouse management that helps companies to manage, control, and monitor warehouse operations.

5. Supply chain security

A report by Market Watch shares that the Global e-commerce market is projected to reach $47.73 trillion by 2023, with a CAGR of 12.22% from 2022 to 2030.

As the e-commerce sector continues to exponentially expand with new technologies and solutions like web 5.0, NFTs, and metaverse there are rising security concerns. Cyberattacks are the most common threat facing technology-led software solutions today. The interconnected nature of supply chains and the sharing of data bring security threats to the logistics side. Cyber-attacks can lead to major security breaches putting customers and a company’s data at risk.

Modern security technologies like NAKIVO Backup and Replication help brands to reduce the risks and increase the cyber protection of their data. Other key security trends in the supply chain are data backup, encryption, tokenization, on-demand access, and automatic alerts. All enhance data protection and secure use within a company’s modern-day supply chain.

These technological advancements are offering resilience to the supply chain management. As the industry grows, these help e-commerce and logistics brands to improve logistics operations. They help in forecasting future demand, on-demand delivery, offering higher order accuracy rates, and cutting out time-consuming manual tasks. It provides business owners in the e-commerce sector with the apt information at the right time to minimize risks and mistakes.

At MBA ESG, India, the global learning program of MBA in E-commerce, logistics, and supply chain management offers immersive learning of this complex field. It’s an applied learning programme with simulation labs, live-industry projects, a case-study learning approach, and more. The programme is designed with French pedagogy to embed in the curriculum international industry trends. This specialization at MBA ESG, India, shapes you to become a leading voice in supply chain operations, logistics management solutions, and e-commerce management practices.

Learn more about the program here.

Author: Mankiran

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