Demand Sensing - 5 Ways it Helps Supply Chains Deal with UncertaintySupply chains are having to deal with uncertainty now more than ever—here are 5 ways that demand sensing is helping them manage it.

Today’s supply chain’s success is marked by the speed at which it can respond to the demands placed upon it. Companies have to be able to deal with the unexpected. Fast. There can often be sudden changes in what customers want. And it’s up to companies to have their supply chains sufficiently prepared for them. As such, technology has become central to the strength of supply chains. Specifically, with demand sensing, companies have a technology that gives them an opportunity to react to customer demands with greater speed and precision than before.

Demand sensing is an incredibly accurate way of forecasting. It’s a software that uses close to real-time data to give companies a picture of upcoming demand. With it, companies are put in a stronger position to deal with short-term fluctuations in the needs of their customers. Improving their supply chain planning and resilience.

An article of demand sensing by Supply Chain Brain explains,

Demand sensing, as the name implies, is essentially the art and science of picking up on short-term trends immediately, in order to better predict what consumers will want.

This article by Morai Logistics covers 5 ways companies can be leveraging demand sensing to bring clarity to their supply chain operations.

Boosts Upstream Planning

One of the most important points of information that companies get access to via demand sensing is point of sale data. By having this data, companies can know the state of their materials and products immediately. This in turn allows those in the manufacturing sector of companies to further fine-tune their forecasting without relying on others in the supply chain.

Helps Keep a Closer Eye on Inventory

The earlier mentioned Supply Chain Brain article highlights demand sensing’s impact on inventory,

Continually fine-tune upstream inventory. Demand sensing helps to dynamically optimize inventory and balance the network by factoring in inventory available in regional warehouses, along with predicted customer demand, by location.

What this means is supply chain managers can have a clearer view of their inventory in all its various locations. This results in supply chains being run more efficiently, avoiding waste, and being primed to be able to respond to customer demands.

Creates Balance Between Inventory and Sales

Inbound and outbound teams have opposing objectives. The inbound team wants inventory fully stocked. Whereas the outbound team wants everything sold. Both of these goals are critical to a healthy supply chain. However, if they don’t reach some degree of equilibrium it can spell trouble. Demand sensing helps avoid that by presenting a fuller, unified image of the needs of customers.

Makes Seasonal Demand Easier to Tackle

The products a company sells can change greatly by the season and the corresponding demand can too. Thus, the change of each season can be a testing time for supply chains, as they attempt to adapt to those changes. With the assistance of demand sensing, that’s easier to manage. This is because of the near real-time nature of the data collection and feedback. If any item is selling below or above expectations, companies can know immediately and respond accordingly.

Ensures Inventory Matches up with Product Lifecycles

Every product companies put out there are only going to be sold for so long. Each product has a lifespan. A point at which demand dwindles. And it’s up to companies to anticipate and plan for the lifespan of each product they put on shelves or deliver directly to customers. Once again, demand sensing makes this process simpler. Primarily by giving companies such accurate and quick feedback.

Supply Chain Disruption - 5 Steps to Overcome itWith COVID-19 causing havoc on supply chains the world over, being able to handle disruption has become more important than ever. 

Companies are currently facing unprecedented obstacles with the advent of COVID-19. Not only is it presenting significant issues for warehouses and those working in them but also the ability for companies to utilize their supplies. This is only being exacerbated by the growing demand for delivery by customers as so many of them are limited to their homes at present. As such, COVID-19 has been the greatest source of disruption to supply chains globally in memory. And that, in turn, means companies have to reinforce their supply chains if they’re to survive.

An article by the World Economic Forum highlights the unforeseeable nature of supply chain disruption and the numerous harms it can have,

…the triggers of supply chain disruption are hard to predict, and sometimes neither controllable nor influenceable. The robustness of networks is paramount to ensuring demand can be met with supply even in extraordinary times. COVID-19 and related responses are delivering an extraordinary shock both on supply and demand sides to the global economy – by shuttering production and cutting consumption – even as demand for healthcare materials soars.

This article by Morai Logistics covers 5 steps companies should be taking in order to manage the disruption of their supply chains.

Create an Overview of Your Supply Chain

Immediately, you should map out your supply chain. This is so you can get a better sense of the state of your supply chain and suppliers, as well as its ability to handle impediments. It is only through an overview of your supply chain that you can evaluate the risks it faces and work towards overcoming them. Critically, you need strong visibility throughout your chain in order to do this effectively. Thus, if you struggle with mapping your supply chain, that’s the first issue to address.

Contact Your Procurement Team

Your suppliers are typically hit the hardest with a disruption event. With that in mind, it’s important to reach out to your procurement team and talk about your suppliers. When you do, you should get a good sense of where your suppliers are located and how significantly they’ve been impacted. Through this knowledge you can get a sense of whether you need to diversify your suppliers. Moreover, this knowledge will also prepare you for any further disruption.

Check on Your Suppliers

This may appear to be a redundant step, given the last one, but it isn’t. Both steps are important. The last, to get a general sense of the state of your suppliers. This step, in order to get the finer details you might be missing. So, directly contact your suppliers and get a more precise picture of how they’re doing. Ask any outstanding questions you might have so you can be certain before making any decisions regarding them.

Seek Out New Data to Assess Demand

Due to the nature of a disruption, your preexisting demand data won’t be useful. A disruption, particularly of the scale of COVID-19, will alter the complexion of your demand. With that said, you’ll need to look for new avenues of data in order to accurately ascertain demand.

Focus on Risk Management

Once you have completed all the previous steps, you’ll be in a strong position to elevate your ability to handle risk. Look at all the holes in your supply chain the disruption exposes. Address each risk head on. Make risk management a priority. Ensure that both this disruption and the next are something your company can handle with confidence.

 

Building a Stronger Supply Chain - 4 Steps to Resilience
In these uncertain times, supply chain resilience is more important than ever—here are 4 steps companies can take to strengthen their supply chains.

With supply chains operating in an increasingly challenging climate, now, more than ever, they require resilience. Resilience is many things. In some part, it can be a mindset and a culture that, when embraced by a company, makes it more responsive and unerring in the face of unfortunate develops that negatively impact its supply routes.

However, resilience is also something that can be planned for and built into a supply chain. There are a number of measures that can and should be taken to bolster supply chains so that they have the inbuilt fortitude to weather any storm. Coupled with the requisite mindset mentioned above, this can put companies of firm ground even in the most testing of times.

This ebook covers the 4 key steps to drive companies towards more robust, agile, and adaptable supply chain operations.

What is the Path to a Healthy Supply Chain, Fit to Handle Whatever Unforeseen Circumstances That Comes its Way?

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That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? Interested in our 3rd party logistics services? If so, don’t hesitate to check out our services . We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

Material Handling Tips That Every Factory Worker Must Know AboutSafety in factories is paramount—here are some material handling tips for factory workers.

This week our friends from Quality Scales Unlimited are contributing to our blog. Quality Scales Unlimited is a company that “sells all types of scale equipment, from highly sensitive lab scales to heavy capacity truck scales.” (Learn more about them here). Given their knowledge of proper protocol on the factory floor, we were more than happy to accept their proposed blog post. So, with further ado, here is their guest blog on material handling.

It is common to see workers handling or moving materials in a factory. However, if it is not done right, it will result in accidents, pain or handling ailments like repetitive strain injury. The dangers of improper handling, storing or moving materials are plenty. Let’s learn how to avoid them.

Safety While Moving, Handling or Storing Materials

  • If the workers are moving the materials manually, they should take help if:
    a) the load is too heavy,
    b) when they cannot see around or
    c) cannot handle the load safely.
  • You must meet the weight regulations of trucks and forklifts to make sure they move the materials safely. Weighing scales like a floor weighing scale can help you avoid overloading the vehicles and ensure safe floor operations.
  • To prevent the fingers from getting pinched, handles should be attached to the loads.
  • Observe height limitations when you stack the materials.
  • All the workers must wear personal protective equipment while moving, storing or handling the materials.
  • The stacked loads must be piled and cross-tiered correctly.
  • Keep the storage areas from materials that can cause tripping, explosions or can harbor pests like rats.
  • Stack the bar stock, structured steel and all cylindrical materials to prevent spreading. The boxed materials must be held in place using cross-ties.
  • Equip employees working on stored materials in hoppers, silos or tanks with safety belts and lifelines.
  • Post the load limits approved by the building inspector in all storage areas.

Ergonomics of Material Handling

Ergonomics refers to the layout of the work space – its design, and how, where, why materials are kept. These include safety devices, controls, function of workstations, displays, lightning and tools to fit the employees’ physical requirements.

An ergonomic factory will minimize the risks to the employees’ health and ensures their well-being. It includes changing the workspace conditions or restructuring to make the workspace better and easier for the workers. The aim is to avoid repetitive motions that can cause injuries or traumas.

You may have to change the way workers can lift and move objects or reduce the materials’ size and weight. For instance, you can install lifting equipment or train the employees in the right lifting techniques.

Along with the material handling training, provide them basic safety training too. These include practices like always keeping the aisles clear while moving materials or fire safety precautions.

Provide Employee Hazard and Safety Training

If materials are not handled properly, there will be hazards. It is important that the employees learn how to recognize them. Organize training programs that teach the workers everything they need to know about materials handling, storing and safety.

Some things to include in the training:

  • Workers must be aware of what they can handle comfortably without straining themselves.
  • Workers should be able to identify different dangers associated with lifting materials without having the proper training.
  • Recognize the physical factors that can contribute to an accident and being aware of risks of lifting improperly.
  • Teach them how to use handling equipment and handling aids such as shoulder pads, platforms, stages and handles properly.
  • Teach the workers about basic anatomy of the muscles, spine and where the body will feel pressure while lifting materials
  • Show the employees how they can avoid unnecessary physical strain and stress.
  • They must be aware of their body’s physical limitations and lifting capacity.
  • Train them to use safe lifting postures for smooth lifting and how they can minimize load-moment effects.

Hold regular safety meetings so that the workers stay updated of the precautions. Encourage them to have an honest conversation if they face any problems or feel any pain while moving or lifting the materials.

Author Bio:

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Kevin Hill heads the marketing efforts at Quality Scales Unlimited in Byron, CA. Besides his day job, he loves to write about the different types of scales and their importance in various industries. He also writes about how to care for and get optimized performance from different scales in different situations. He enjoys spending time with family and going on camping trips.

Blockchain Technology - 4 Questions to Consider Before Adopting itBlockchain technology could be critical to supply chains going forward, but its implementation shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Blockchain, despite the many concerns remaining around it, continues gaining traction in the world of supply chains. This interest is only being accelerated by the increased digitization of supply chains operations by businesses. As such, increasingly, companies are either entering the consideration phase or early adoption phase in regards to the technology. With that in mind, its critical that those companies that are still in the consideration phase or are about to enter it know the unique challenges that come with blockchain technology before they proceed.

As an article by Consensys explains,

The list of industry-leading enterprises building on the blockchain spans tech leaders (Microsoft), financial institutions (JP Morgan, Santander), and even national governments (Singapore, Dubai, Brazil). But as with any emerging technology, there are some particular and unique quirks and obstacles that all early adopters will face along the way for which even the savviest business leaders considering blockchain solutions should be prepared.

This article by Morai Logistics presents 4 questions that are integral to optimally integrating blockchain into your supply chain operations.

Why do Your Operations Require Blockchain?

When evaluating the need for something, you have to start from the ground up. Blockchain is no different. Why does your supply chain need it? How will it be elevated by it? You need to have a good understanding of the nature of the technology and have it align with the running of your supply chain and the goals you have for it.

A piece by Supply Chain Management Review underscores the nature of a blockchain project,

Blockchain is not an IT or R&D project; it is a fundamental business transformation tool which, if properly implemented, will significantly impact revenue and cost. Blockchain excels where information is shared across an enterprise, as well as with suppliers and customers.

Essentially, you have to assess blockchain and its key features. Upon doing so, you have to ask why your supply chain requires those features.

Do you have the Infrastructure for it?

Blockchain has certain requirements in order to be applicable. If your company doesn’t have the architecture in place for its supply chain to support the technology, then that’s another undertaking it’ll have to commit to alongside blockchain implementation. Key amongst these requirements is digital transformation. Without being digitized, the technology will have nothing to run on.

Are you Planning to Scale Your Operations?

One of the persistent concerns surrounding blockchain technology is its trouble scaling. With that said, you need to know if your company plans on expanding its supply chains operations. If so, implementing blockchain might hurt and slow down those efforts. However, there are a variety of blockchain platforms providers. So looking into which provider is best suited to supporting your plans to scale might somewhat mitigate this issue.

Are you Prepared for the Regulatory Hurdles?

Despite being a technology largely based around transparency, certain facets of blockchain can make it push up again government regulations. In fact, ironically, some of its key features that see it touted as transparent and secure, are features that can run afoul of the regulatory hoops companies have to jump through. Thus, one more consideration you have to take on board, is whether you’ll be compliant with the rules that are in place.

The previously mentioned Supply Chain Management Review article highlights this point,

While regulatory compliance is a frequently mentioned application, in reality, compliance and regulatory issues can present a challenge. As an example, immutable records are a part of blockchain, but this can be a problem when records need to be changed.

Circular Supply Chain - What is it and Why is it Important?With companies putting greater emphasis on sustainability than ever before, it’s critical to understand what a circular supply chain is and how it functions. 

Today’s supply chain is one that caters its practices and operations to customer demands as precisely possible. In turn, few things rank more highly on the list of customer concerns than sustainability. Not only that, but the need for sustainability is also being driven forward by governments around the world, with numerous penalties and incentives for companies that are more or less compliant with their regulations and guidelines. As such, companies are quickly making a transition to ‘green’ supply chains. Supply chains that are less wasteful, use materials that are recyclable, leave a smaller carbon footprint, and more.

However, making that transition is far from easy and requires a holistic change in the way that supply chains are operated and managed. Essentially, companies need a new operating model. This is where the concept of a circular economy and circular supply chain comes into play. These concepts mark a paradigm shift; a novel way in which companies can design their supply chains for sustainability going forward.

This article by Morai Logistics explains what a circular supply chain is, how it works, and why its significant.

What is it?

A circular supply chain is a supply chain that is geared around reusing its ostensible waste materials as well as its returns. It aims to take these materials and returns and convert them into new products that they can sell once more. Thus, it marks a shift for supply chains. A shift in which waste as its traditionally known no longer exists or is kept to a bare minimum. Naturally, this also means near-perfect sustainability.

An article by Trade Ready elaborates further on the nature of circular supply chains and what they look like,

A circular economy is alternative to the traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value while the product is in use. When the product has reached the end of its life-cycle, then core materials are recovered and regenerated. The circular economy is waste-free and resilient by design.

Why is it Important?

It is a new model for supply chains because, by its very nature, it fulfills a need companies are desperately trying to meet. That being the above mentioned need for sustainability. It flips many previous intuitions on their head. In a circular supply chain, there’s value in waste. Where waste is normally seen as a source of weakness, a circular economy makes it a resource. A resource that’ll translate into more products.

Moreover, its not only a forward-thinking model in terms of its outcomes, but also in its management. Crucially, it marks another step towards the marriage of technology and supply chain practices, as digitization is key in enabling a circular supply chain. With that in mind, perhaps the next big thing in supply chain technology could be an all-encompassing system that enables companies to ‘go circular” as currently they have to adopt several technologies to do so.

A recent post by Supply Chain Digital emphasizes both the points above,

“The circular economy creates an ecosystem of materials,” commented Sarah Watt, senior director analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice. “What was previously viewed as waste now has value. However, those ecosystems are complex and include many interdependencies and feedback loops. Digital technology has the potential to provide visibility and enable improved decision making when it comes to raw materials and services”…study showed that there is no ‘all purpose technology’ that will enable an organisation to develop a circular economy, it is a combination of technology that leads to this.

Omnichannel Supply Chain Strategy - Its 3 Defining FeaturesOmnichannel supply chains have become integral to addressing customer needs, but what characterizes an omnichannel approach exactly?

Now more than ever, with the astounding growth in e-commerce, omnichannel supply chains have become a necessity for many companies. This is because, in addition to speed, customers are seeking flexibility and visibility in their shopping experience. By combining the channels that come with offering virtual and physical buying options into a single supply chain, companies give their customers that freedom.

Customers gain the ability to shop in both a physical and online store and have buying options across both purchasing mediums. Moreover, they are also given the opportunity to see the availability of what they want across both mediums, giving them a more complete picture of their buying options. As such, given the importance of such a supply chain strategy, it’s critical to understand the components that make it function.

This ebook goes over the main traits of an omnichannel approach as well as the most significant benefits that come with them.

What Supply Chain Components are Integral to an Omnichannel Strategy?

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That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? Interested in our 3rd party logistics services? If so, don’t hesitate to check out our services . We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

The Most Significant Ways in Which Warehousing is Changing — Part 2Given the changes warehousing has experienced recently and the multitude of new technology associated with it, it’s critical to know what’s next for warehouses.

Warehouses have become a hub for innovation in supply chains. Due to the pressures placed upon them by modernity, they’ve had to grow. As such, warehouses are now a source of technological advancement where they were once stagnant. Consequently, they’re now highly connected, responsive, transparent, and forward thinking. Part 1 of this warehousing overview highlighted many of the changes taking place that lead to these developments. However, there are many more worth covering.

This article by Morai Logistics points to 4 prominent ways in which warehousing is changing as companies prepare them for the future.

Warehousing on Demand

The modern economy is moving towards sharing platforms, where services are provided on a need-be basis. Apps like Uber and Airbnb have had monumental success tapping into this public desire. Now, a similar approach is starting to gain traction in the warehouse space. Apps have been developed that allow warehouse owners to rent out spare space. As they take off, they’ll flip what unused space means for warehouse owners. Where once it’d be cost that provided no value, going forward it’ll be an additional source of money.

Internet of Business elaborates on the transformative nature of on demand warehousing,

The idea might seem simple enough, but the implications could be transformative. For example, organisations no longer need to think of warehousing in terms of massive regional hubs that require long-distance road haulage (with the expense and environmental impact that entails). Instead, they can now manage it as a national or international grid of smaller facilities that can be expanded or contracted on demand.

Connectivity

With all the technology present in warehouses, the need for connectivity is greater than ever. The variety of technology means data is coming in from a multitude of sources, raising the risk of data silos. With that in mind, to mitigate for that potentiality, warehousing has to involve integration.

An article by Supply Chain 24/7 expands on this,

In a hyper-connected warehouse, operating systems are laid out in a highly advanced matrix to accommodate the growing mix of technologies. Today’s warehouses hold bandwidth for technologies like barcoding, IoT, RFID scanning, GPS, load optimization and future technology innovations that may emerge. With this tech in place, logistics managers can quickly make and execute decisions.

Sensors

Sensors are set to be an ever-growing presence in warehouses. Why sensors? Because with them comes an influx of data. That being data that is continually being collected. Which, in turn means transparency and visibility throughout the warehouse. Furthermore, sensors play a big role in the earlier mentioned connectivity as well as the predictive maintenance and real-time tracking mentioned in part 1.

Drones

Finally, another technology set to a have a significant impact on warehouses in the future are drones. This is because drones have the potential to be used to keep track of inventory.

A post 6 River Systems details the role drones will play in warehouses in the future,

Drones are likely to have a role in the warehouse of the future, as well. In August of 2017, researchers at MIT announced that they had been programming drones to relay RFID as a way to aid in inventory control — an innovation that could make tagging obsolete in the future. This technology allows small drones to fly above a warehouse floor to read RFID tags from tens of meters away

While drones’ ability for tagging will be incredibly valuable to warehousing, it’s important to point out that currently concerns remain in regards to them. The chief concern being that of they jeopardize the level safety in warehouses. Thus, less disruptive, lightweight drones have to be developed that can still perform the necessary tagging.

The most significant Ways in Which Warehousing is Changing — Part 1Warehousing has undergone a massive shift over the past few years, aligning itself with smart, technologically driven supply chains, but where’s it going next?

Warehousing, for a long time, was seen as the least dynamic and intelligent part of supply chains. However, that’s no longer the case. Modern warehousing is smart warehousing. Moreover, given the escalating demands, which are growing more strict year over year, placed upon supply chains, warehouses have to operate with greater efficiency, speed, and agility than ever before. As such, warehouses have become increasingly technology dependent. And that transformation is only set to continue.

As a recent Supply Chain Digital article points out,

Warehousing and logistics, an industry with complex operations in need of flexible and innovative solutions. Currently within the world of warehousing and logistics, companies are lining up to jump on the digital transformation bandwagon.

This article by Morai Logistics underscores 4 critical ways in which warehousing has changed and will continue to.

Wireless Technology for Real-Time Tracking

One the most important things for the modern day warehouse is having a real-time view of inventory. This is because the demands placed upon supply chains means companies have to continually be monitoring their inventory. Essentially, inventory always has to be ready to go and in the right state to go. With that in mind, it’s crucial to be able to track it. To make sure there’s enough of it and that it’s good condition.

A post by Supply Chain 24/7 highlights one of the more prominent real-time tracking technologies,

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags attached to each inventory item can transmit real-time data to and from the warehouse floor and inventory management applications, allowing warehouse teams to use mobile devices to track inventory from the moment it arrives.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance doesn’t refer to a single kind of technology. Rather, it’s a variety of technologies that contribute to the same thing. That being, proactive maintenance of warehouse machinery. Consequently, instead of waiting for equipment breaking down and causing disruptions in operation, the new way forward is to avoid the breakdowns taking place.

A piece by Internet of Business explains the numerous technologies that can be employed to achieve this,

Today a mix of technologies, including enterprise asset management (EAM), digital twins – exploded 3D representations of objects and their components – sensors, RFID tags, smart supply chains, and AI, is allowing organisations to gain unprecedented insight into the lifecycle of products, components, and even materials.

Robots & Cobots

There are a multitude of tasks that robots are simply better suited for than humans in warehouses. In particular, thoughtless, tedious, repetitive feats of labour. Vitally, not only do robots conduct these tasks with greater efficiency and productivity, they also allow human workers to focus on more important tasks as well as avoid injury. Additionally, the future of warehousing seems to be one where robots don’t even have to replace human workers. Hence, the advent of cobots—collaborative robots. Cobots enable a future where robots work besides and in conjunction with humans, not instead of them.

Sustainability

Lastly, supply chains are increasingly going green. There’s a number of reasons for this, from legislative to ethical. Ultimately, regardless of the reasons, the movement towards sustainability is undeniable. As such, warehousing has to take it into account as well.

The earlier mentioned Supply Chain 24/7 article outlines what sustainable warehouses could look like going forward,

Alternative energy and energy efficiency are no longer optional as warehouse operators bring more automation into the warehouse. Solar panels, LED lighting, cool-roof systems, thermal glass, clerestory windows, and other new green materials and innovations are leading warehouses into a new age.

Top 4 Supply Chain Technology Trends in 2020Supply chains are largely defined by the technology that facilitate them, as such it’s crucial to know the technology trends that are shaping the year.

The demands placed upon companies’ supply chains are greater than ever and they’re only growing. Supply chains are to be faster, cheaper, more flexible, more transparent, more green, and a whole lot more. As such, technology has had to keep abreast of these new requirements. In turn, the amount of new technology being tried out in supply chains is astounding and impossible to cover in its entirety. However, there are a number of technology trends worth keeping track of.

This article by Morai Logistics runs down 4 of the most noteworthy supply chain technology trends to watch out for in 2020.

5G

The advent of 5G received a lot of attention in 2019. However, it’s in 2020 where it’s set to finally start seeing wider adoption. Being the latest generation in wireless technology, 5G means companies will be able to access the internet at speeds several times faster than before. This will have an incredible impact on supply chains. They’ll be able to manage and transfer data at rates far greater than before. And, with data being central to supply chain success, this will go a long way.

This is something that Logistics View Points covered in further depth in a recent article,

5G will impact supply chain and logistics by allowing more data to be transferred more quickly in real-time, in turn making increased visibility throughout the supply chain possible. As more and more devices throughout the supply chain and manufacturing process become part of the “Internet of Things,” they will produce an incredibly rich data stream that will send signals in real-time to trigger a wide variety of events.

With that said, 5G remains in the nascent stages of having the infrastructure to support itself for widespread adoption. Thus, it remains to be seen whether it will take off for supply chains in 2020 or whether it’ll take more time.

Supply Chain Applications

Applications are already in the process of transforming the way in which supply chains are run. That is only set to continue this year. Two of the most important components of a healthy supply chain are visibility and real-time data. Critically, both of these factors are optimized through to use of supply chain apps. They allow everyone along the chain to know what is happening as it’s happening.

Machine Learning for Warehouse Management

The pressures placed upon warehouses are numerous and ever-growing. The e-commerce explosion taking place is changing the way they have to operate. As a consequence, they need to be able to anticipate and prepare for customer demand more precisely than ever before. This is why in 2020 there’s a big opportunity for companies to apply machine learning to their warehouses. Through machine learning, supply chain managers will be able to better predict and respond to demands.

Another Logistics View Point article explains,

Machine learning’s ability to adapt to changing conditions makes it especially well-aligned with the dynamic nature of today’s e-commerce warehouses. Manhattan Associates utilizes machine learning within its WMS to determine the amount of time required to complete a certain task in a given set of circumstances such as historic duration and item characteristics.

Integration Throughout Supply Chains

Due to the complex and multifaceted nature of supply chains, the data within them are susceptible to being silo’d. As data in the different sections of a chain might be collected via separate sources—different tools—the resulting data might become isolated. This, in turn, leads to supply chain managers getting an incomplete view of their operations. This is why 2020 should see further attention being brought to the importance of integrated platforms. Platforms where the totality of operational data can be consolidated, giving managers a unified view of their supply chain.