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.

Supply Chain Technology 2019 - Year in Review Part 2

2019’s over, but there’s plenty of technology to look back on over the course of the year to see what affects it had on supply chains.

The move by companies towards digitization grew more pronounced in 2019. As such, many of the technologies that digital transformation supports grew as well. Part 1 of this review covered several of them, including AI, automation, and IoT.

Christian Titze from Gartner explains,

As companies seek to exploit the benefits of greater levels of digitalization, new and innovative technologies, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning, can potentially and significantly disrupt existing supply chain operating models

Nonetheless, there’s plenty more to cover. Supply chains looked to a number of other technologies to elevate the running of their operations last year.

This article by Morai Logistics underscores many of the most significant developments in supply chain technology in 2019.

Blockchain

Blockchain didn’t have a breakout year in terms of adoption by supply chains by any means. Rather, it was a yer of tentative interest. Blockchain remains a technology in need of maturing. As such, the limitations that plague it like difficulty in supporting scalability remain a problem for it. In spite of that, its many benefits still have companies watching it closely.

A Gartner article expounds on why blockchain grew in prominence in 2019, despite its limitations,

In theory, organizations should know all parties in their supply chain network (within the broader business ecosystem) and trust them — but this is far from today’s reality. Blockchain technologies, as an example, could be an answer to address this problem across three areas — counterfeiting, visibility/traceability and efficiency play.

Robots and Cobots

Robotics only saw an incremental increase or similar rates of adoption in supply chains in 2019. As highlighted in this Supply Chain Dive article,

About 32% of supply chain professionals say they are actively using robotics and automation … This number has gone relatively unchanged since 2016 when 35% of respondents said they were actively using robotics and automation, but anecdotal evidence and market value forecasts show warehouse robotics growing.

With that said, even though robots saw little change, cobots gained some attention. A trend that continued from previous years, as seen in the sharp increase in cobot production numbers. This was probably due to the fact that cobots, by virtue of being robots that collaborate rather than replace human workers, aren’t as disruptive to workplaces. Moreover, not quite as much is expected of them as they aren’t necessarily doing tasks in isolation.

Immersive Technology

Certainly, virtual, augmented and mixed reality are immersive technologies that have been around for quite some time. However, it was in 2019 where companies began to explore their use in their business operations. That includes their supply chains, where they can have considerable benefit in a number of areas, including manufacturing and logistics. One reason for this is because they can help with predictive maintenance, displaying all the relevant data on AR glasses.

Digital Twin

Digital twins are online visualization of an actual system, such as a supply chain. Thus they have proven to be fantastic at creating end-to-end visibility of supply chains. Which in turn enables supply chain managers to have a clear understanding of how their chain is functioning and quickly respond to any issues it might be plaguing it.

All Things Supply Chain’s post further covers why using digital twins gained the traction it did over the past year,

The computer-aided duplicate of things has evolved in many ways: Today, digital twins are not only used for real-time product monitoring, but also for opening up new business areas. Scenario testing and analysis can be used to assess future potential success. In manufacturing, for example, a digital twin can answer all the crucial questions: How much do I produce or am I able to produce? How much capacity do I have? Are my plans still realistic?

Supply Chain Technology 2019 - Year in Review Part 1

With 2019 almost at an end, and technology having been the focus of so much of it, it’s critical to look back at some of the supply chain technology that defined it.

More than ever before the supply chain has become characterized by technology. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, blockchain technology, and much more are all part of the technological advancements driving supply chains forward. 2019 saw all these innovations continue their ascent. And, while not all of these technologies have seen wide scale adoption just yet, it seems to be a matter of when rather than if.

An article by All Things Supply Chain further delves into this supply chain trend,

In the globalization era, the supply chain is more diverse than ever before. Every day new technical innovations offer the opportunity to reduce this complexity. Gartner vice president David Cearley describes this development as an “intelligent digital mesh” that “will be characterized by smart devices delivering increasingly insightful digital services everywhere”. These circumstances are transforming the supply chain from a technology-enabled procedure to a technology-centric one.

This article by Morai Logistics highlights some of the most prominent developments in supply chain technology in 2019.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Perhaps the most significant technology in the supply chain space, artificial intelligence had a big year in 2019. Being responsible for machine learning, several smart devices, and the driver of automation, AI is the linchpin to numerous critical innovations. What AI in 2019 showed is that it is entirely capable of taking on numerous human tasks and operations. Analyzing data, making models, predictions, and forecasting with it, route optimization, personalizing customer service are just a few things AI showed that it’s capable doing for companies over the previous year.

Analytics

If AI is the linchpin to a variety of technology, data is the life force for it. In turn, it’s through analytics that that life force can best be utilized and understood. Although analytics have been around for a while, they are growing more advanced. 2019 saw these advanced analytics grow a great deal more prominent.

A post by Gartner on the technology trends of 2019 explains,

Advanced analytics are increasingly being deployed in real time or near-real time in areas such as dynamic pricing, product quality testing and dynamic replenishment. The availability of supply chain data — such as Internet of Things (IoT) data, dynamic sales data and weather patterns — provides the ability to extrapolate the current environment to better understand future scenarios and make profitable recommendations.

Internet of Things (IoT)

The previously mentioned article by All Things Supply Chain addresses the impact IoT is set to have on supply chains,

 In the future, the number of networked devices will increase enormously, thus boosting efficiency and productivity in supply chain. Gartner estimates the number of networked devices will be 25 billion in 2021. In the future supply chain, for example, these could be smart sensors on manufacturing floors in order to efficiently manage planned and predictive maintenance work. These sensors could also be used to closely monitor and track stock and the entire inventory. Not only does this save a lot of manpower, but it also allows you to optimally plan your future production.

However, while 2019 didn’t quite reach those heights for IoT, it certainly further cemented its place in the supply chain. Adoption rates of IoT technology increased a great deal. As the year brought with it a greater focus on providing an end-to-end experience, companies began utilized IoT to help deliver that experience. And, as the above article displays, IoT adoption will only increase going forward.

Automation

Lastly, automation carried on expanding its presence in supply chain operations. Supply chains involve many tedious and repetitive tasks. Automation has allowed those tasks to be handled by machines like robots and drones. However, what 2019 showed is that automation doesn’t only mean a loss of human labour. It also means better human labour and supplemented human labour. Automation allowed workers to focus on more meaningful work in supply chains.. Not only that, but it also gave workers assistance with some of the more labour intensive tasks.

2020 Predictions - Supply Chain TechnologyAs 2020 fast approaches, it’s worthwhile looking ahead to where supply chains are set to go in the coming year, particularly with respect to the technology that bolsters them.

Companies successfully adopting the latest and greatest technology has really become central to supply chains performing well. As such, the past year has seen companies move towards digital transformation. This is because digitization is the main mechanism through which companies can integrate the technologies they need.

As a 2020 predictions report from IDC states,

Digital transformation is now the overriding priority for most manufacturers and retailers, with the adoption of digital technologies aimed to improving efficiency and effectiveness in the shorter term while providing the opportunity to either disrupt their market segment or be resilient to others that may try.

Having said that, most companies are now in some state of digital transformation. Thus, the question then becomes what technology will they look to to best optimize their supply chains? Rather than something wholly new, it’s likely that the next year will simply see supply chains embrace more of the same, just to different degrees.

This article by Morai Logistics highlights technological developments set to take place in the coming year.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Will Become Even More Prominent

With more and more data being gathered by supply chains, it’s becoming increasingly important to utilize that data precisely. This is where AI and machine learning algorithms will come into play. By having sufficient data, machine learning can distinguish the quality data from the junk. In turn, it can use that quality data for a number supply chain functions. Key among those functions being forecasting and planning. But they are just two amongst many.

A Finance Online post further explains the importance of AI and machine learning,

Artificial intelligence (AI) will also play an essential role in making supply chains more efficient. The technology can be used to automate procedures using algorithms based on data from previous processes. Automation makes supply chains more efficient by eliminating human errors. AI also can identify patterns in the supply chain, and companies can leverage this technology to predict purchasing demands and manage inventory. This takes the guesswork out of planning and procurement, eliminating the need for planners to do the same calculations over and over.

Blockchain Adoption and Belief Will Come Gradually

Blockchain technology has gained a great deal of attention in recent years. In the past year though, some of that attention has turned sour. A great deal of skepticism has arisen regarding a variety of its limitations. At the same time, the technology has finally made some strides.

TradeLens, in particular, has elevated itself into being the largest blockchain platform available for shippers. Nevertheless, it will take some time before blockchain is trusted and adopted en masse. Until then, as will be the case in 2020, the technology will experience slow and steady progress.

Robots Will Work With (Rather Than Replace) Human Workers

Robots are an emerging presence in supply chains. As a result of this, many workers in the space have grown concerned about the likelihood of robots replacing them. While some degree of displacement seems inevitable, much of the worry is overblown. 2020 will see humans working alongside robots in supply chains. And, in many ways, this will liberate human workers.

A recent Supply Chain Digital article expands on this,

Machine learning algorithms will handle boring, repetitive tasks like data hygiene and number crunching that planners with domain experience will use to make decisions. In our customer base, technology automation hasn’t replaced humans but elevated the roles of chronically overstrained planners, allowing them to focus on work that creates the most value.

Technology - 5 Technologies Changing Supply ChainsWith advances in technology influencing supply chains in a large variety of ways, it’s worth knowing just what those technologies are and how they are generating change. 

Business fields of all kinds are in the midst of a great transformation driven primarily by technology. As such, technological innovations are coming fast and heavy and companies are having to adapt to them at a rapid pace to keep up. It’s no different for supply chain companies. Technological advancements are reshaping the way supply chains operate. With that being the case, it’s critical that companies keep track of them in order to stay competitive.

A McKinsey article pointed this out, stating,

For all the effort that companies devote to improving the performance of their supply chains, relatively few have unlocked the full potential of digital technologies.

This week’s article by Morai Logistics pinpoints 5 technologies that are having a significant impact on supply chains today.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is perhaps the most talked about technological innovation in supply chains and elsewhere. And for good reason. It is having an impact on supply chains in a variety of ways already and that impact is set to grow. It can be used for forecasting internally and externally.

This means AI can track the state of inventory, the health of machinery, have the latest information about weather patterns or conditions, and much more. Moreover, in a time when data and the insights that can be gleaned from it are paramount, AI can analyze that data and provide precise recommendations based off it.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT is soon to be responsible for over a trillion dollars in spending annually around the world. In turn, as devices that can connect to the internet grow more developed, the need for them by businesses will also grow. With that said, in the world of supply chains, IoT is making its presence felt. It can link operations, assist the effectiveness of automated processes, and make real-time tracking of products easier.

Thus, whether it be live security cameras or real-time trackers on merchandise, IoT has a lot to offer supply chains. Through IoT, supply chains have the potential to be more transparent and encourage stronger relationships between businesses and clients.

Blockchain

Blockchain technology, with each passing year, becomes more inextricably linked to supply chains. There are several reasons for this. For one, blockchain meets the strong demand for transparency in supply chains. By being able to follow the product on its journey through the supply chain and validate its movement each step of the way, blockchain ensures clarity to the process.

Additionally, blockchain also affords supply chains security, as it has no central authority, has immutable data, and allows for real-time tracking. Finally, blockchain also helps drive down costs since it gets rid of middlemen and speeds up product movement.

Cloud

Cloud-based supply chains are proving to have a number of advantages over traditional supply chains. Firstly, they make supply chains more efficient by making the most out of automation and data, reducing waste. Second of all, clouds allow for seamless scalability, avoiding the headache of antiquated operational expansions. In addition to that, scalability also means supply chains become more cost-effective as they grow. Since the expansions themselves no longer add costs.

5G

The incredible increase in internet speed 5G is set to bring with it will enhance supply chains considerably. Consequentially, all the previous technologies mentioned here are dependent to some degree or another on the internet. Furthermore, in many cases, such as with real-time tracking and visibility or data collection, faster internet means better performance. Thus, rather simply, 5G will be a big leap forward for supply chain companies, as it will allow them to achieve many of the outcomes they want faster and more effectively.

Morai-logisticcs-improving-supply-chain-visibility-virtual-reality

Research on technology in supply chains shows a positive relationship between virtual reality and enhanced efficiency and visibility.

By 2020, virtual reality (VR) is estimated to be valued at USD $70 million. VR has enabled many industries to take an innovative approach to engaging customers. Since the e-commerce boom, retailers have found engaging customers both in-store and online very challenging. From an e-commerce perspective, VR helps companies create realistic shopping experiences. However, v-commerce also provides both the ‘interactive experience of bricks and mortar’ and the ‘convenience of e-commerce’.

While this technology has received a lot of recognition in the retail industry, it has also gained considerable attention in supply chain and logistics. For many years visibility and efficiency have been top challenges for supply chains. Also, the customer expectations on transparency and fast-delivery is at an ultimate high. How could an interactive technology tool like VR, add value to warehousing, shippers or suppliers?

This article by Morai Logistics looks at the ways VR is shaping the way supply chain operate to address current challenges faced in the industry.

Supply Chain Challenges

Moving goods from point A to point B sounds like a straightforward transaction. When a customer buys product and requests it to be shipped online or in-store, it’s processed through a warehouse and is then delivered directly to the customer. Although the shipment life cycle should be this simple, the end to end process is far more complex.

The ‘king consumer’ was listed as the number four top challenge facing supply chains this year. According to supplychain247,

High consumer expectations about delivery and shipping of packages will continue to challenge retailers, carriers and logistics service providers, forcing fundamental changes to warehouse design and location and driving up wages and competition for all types of supply chain labor.

This increase in consumer expectations has indeed caused considerable pressure on the supply chain and logistics industry. E-commerce has provided customers with easy click-and-go purchasing, and has also increased their expectation for faster product delivery. Furthermore, customers want greater transparency on when and where their orders are throughout the shipment life cycle. There is an incredible emphasis on ‘ever-faster delivery’ services as well.

Imagine exceeding customer expectations better than a competitor? That would give businesses incredible competitive advantage. Utilizing technology to create engaging customer-facing experiences has been consistent over the years. However, integrating VR into supply chains is different.

Virtual Supply Chains

To understand how technology can optimize a supply chain, it’s important to understand the basic concept behind the technology. Virtual reality is ‘an artificial, computer-generated, three-dimensional environment’. There are a variety of electronic equipment that work together to create this ‘sensory stimuli’. These items may include specialized:

  • Goggles
  • Head-mounted displays
  • 3-D images

The adoption of VR equipment is on the rise, with ‘mid- to high-end headset sales forecasted to reach USD $52.3 million by 2020. Using this sensory equipment takes the user on a journey outside of their physical space. However, how can this help supply chains achieve greater efficiency and agility?

Research on the benefits of VR in supply chains focuses on delivery, predictive modeling and performance. For instance, according to Forbes, using VR can also provide managers with real time insight into ‘any site at any time’. Below is a list of more benefits that VR provides supply chains.

  • Access on-site facilities at any time in the event of natural disasters or unexpected occurrences
  • Optimize delivery management and package inventory
  • Offer enhanced safety throughout the delivery journey
  • Ensure accuracy when delivering products to customers

Therefore, implementing virtual reality into supply chains is effective in improving efficiency, transparency and speed. It not only enables companies to execute seamless delivery processes, but it also shifts the focus toward the customer.

Morai-logisticcs-cloud-logistics-supply-chain-optimization-tool
In response to growing demands, experts consider cloud logistics as an optmization tool for the transportation supply chain industry in 2019.

Technology is the source of continuous global economic and social change. In addition to improving our every day lives, it also enables industries to advance and optimize communications, operations, production and servicing. For the supply chain and logistics industry, technology continues to shape the way products are distributed across the globe. It has also pushed leaders to explore digital maturity and leverage different platforms to help compete with demanding markets.

According to PwC, cloud technology addresses setbacks associated with scalability, flexibility and efficiency across an organization.  As with any new internet based technology, uncertainties include ‘unclear development costs and data security’. Regardless of these risks, Cloud logistics is expected to make a significant impact on the transportation supply chain industry in 2019.

This article by Morai Logistics looks into the way cloud logistics is shaping the supply chain and logistics industry. A specific focus will discuss the role of transportation management systems in advancing operations.

Cloud Logistics in Supply Chains

There are a few reasons why cloud logistics has become an innovative move for supply chains. Connected logistics not only drives revenue, but it also improves the way processes are managed. Cloud technology has experienced incredible growth across a variety of industries. Forbes found that,

The Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market is projected to grow by 17.3 3% in 2019 to total $206.2 billion”.

Furthermore, by 2023, the ‘global connected logistics market’ will reach ‘$73,846.1 million. In response to increased consumer demand, leveraging cloud technology helps organizations do business better. Oracle, a global leader in computer technology, creates cloud logistics solutions to help logistics organizations achieve the following:

  • Streamline transportation networks
  • Optimize warehouse operations
  • Push out efficient fulfillment strategies
  • Simplify business

The advancement of cloud technology also enables transportation supply chains to remove manual and inefficient steps throughout the end-to-end experience. Therefore, the end goal is to optimize the supply chain to create solutions that help meet increased consumer demand. In addition, cloud logistics also helps organizations automate processes, which improves productivity.

Current Barriers to Cloud Integration

According to a global survey on enterprise risk, there are a variety of reasons shaping the way organizations feel about cloud computing. Six risks were found to be “somewhat of a challenge” to over 50% of respondents.

  • 54% reported Governance
  • 51% reported Lack of resources/expertise
  • 53% reported managing cloud spend
  • 51% reported security
  • 52% reported compliance

The above risks are quite common when integrating new technology into supply chain operations and processes. In past articles, Morai Logistics has discussed the importance of developing a labour force with the advanced skills to support technological advancements. Cost is also a factor many supply chain organizations look at when implementing new solutions. Thus, integrating cloud logistics is also an optimal cost savings tools. Its core function is to help streamline transportation, operations and production processes.

Forward Thinking

In response to an increase in consumer demand and expectation, the supply chain and logistics industry must seek innovative solutions to remain competitive. Technology shapes the way organizations do business and interact with customers. Therefore, it’s beneficial to implement optimization tools that are aligned with consumer behaviour. Despite the raised challenges, cloud logistics is an optimization tool that can help supply chains achieve efficiency, visibility and scalability.

Utilizing-Smart-Sensors-Creates-Agile-and-Efficient-Supply-Chains

With 43% of supply chains using smart sensors, the industry must continue to integrate IoT tools to ensure efficiency and agility.

Last week, Morai Logistics presented the benefits of implementing smart manufacturing into supply chains. The integration of technology into factory level operations, ‘helps to create opportunities that improve efficiencies, productivity and operations on the ground floor’. By smartening up manufacturing, supply chains can ensure a high level of visibility across the shipment lifecycle. In addition, there is less reliance on manual shipment processes and more focus on automation.

If we trace smart manufacturing back to its root technology, we will find the Internet of Things (IoT). Industry experts have been integrating IoT theories and technologies into a variety of ‘machine to machine (M2M) communication’. Smart sensors, or instance is a new technology that is ‘supporting supply chain innovation and the smart factory’.

The global market share of smart sensors will grow to USD $21.5 billion by this year and USD $39 billion by 2022. Their advanced ability to uncover insightful information from data position smart sensors as a valuable technology tool to supply chains. In fact, 83% of supply chain leaders believe sensors, robotics and inventory optimization tools, are beneficial for competitive differentiation.

This week Morai Logistics will discuss how IoT technologies such as smart sensors, help the supply chain and logistics industry become more efficient and agile.

Smart Thinking with Smart Sensing

It was forecasted that by this year, the global IoT market will generate over USD $1.7 trillion. Statistic also show that the number of connected devices will be 20.35 billion. The Internet and technology continue to create opportunities for greater connection and communication. In order for supply chains to keep up with demand, supply chains must adopt and implement these tools.

There are many factors to consider when developing a comprehensive smart supply chain. The advancement toward smart manufacturing helps the industry develop efficiencies in operations and productivity. Furthermore, the use of smart technologies and tools is a huge part of smartening up the journey of products throughout the shipment life cycle.

Smart sensors, for instance, has the ability to harness complex data sets and translate them into actionable and insightful information. Sensors have been used to execute traditional operations, which included tracking orders and maintaining inventory. However, there are notable differences in new smart sensors. According to Deloitte,

Smart sensors are advanced platforms with onboard technologies such as microprocessors, storage, diagnostics, and connectivity tools that transform traditional feedback signals into true digital insights.

It’s an innovative way of extracting data to enable supply chains to make smarter decisions. Statistics show that 43% of supply chain leaders stated their companies ‘use sensor technology’. Furthermore, experts say that smart sensors enable ‘always-on supply chains’. By integrating smart technologies such as sensors, supply chains can benefit in many ways.

Benefits of Smart Sensors

To keep up with an upward movement in consumer demand and expectation, supply chains must look at current barriers. Common focus has been on improving visibility, productivity and operational efficiencies. Research shows that the integration of IoT technologies help in the following areas:

  • Efficiency
  • Responsiveness
  • Business Interuption

Smart sensors aid in collecting data and using it to help organizations with improved decision making. Furthermore, this enables management to reduce certain interferences that may include ‘missed handoffs, cold chain exceptions or theft’. The benefit of integrating smart sensors also includes ‘informed scenario-based contingency planning’. In addition, supply chains can improve their agility, ensure customer satisfaction and dodge unnecessary costs.

5 Ways RPA Optimizes Supply Chain Management

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is an effective solution that helps improve efficiencies, reduce costs and optimize productivity.

Findings on the global RPA market, project a ‘Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 27%’ throughout 2013 to 2024. By 2024, this would amount to over 7, 000 Million (USD).

In a recent survey on RPA adoption, 17% of supply chain professionals believe RPA will be implemented in their organization’s by 2020. Furthermore, two thirds of respondents stated that their organization currently uses or are exploring this technology.

According to McKinsey & Company, RPA is defined as,

A type of software that mimics the activity of a human being in carrying out a task within a process.

Integrating this technology into any organization helps reduce human error and cost, while improving ROI and productivity. However, although skepticism exists in matters of replacing human jobs with automation, RPA actually provides many benefits to supply chains. Therefore, RPA is emerging as an effective technology for many industries, including supply chain and logistics.

This infographic by Morai Logistics outlines the top 5 ways RPA help improve supply chain management processes.

Robotic Process Automation: Supply Chain Optimization

morai-infographic-5-rpa-optimizes-supply-chain-management (3)

That’s it for us this week! If you liked this blog post, why not subscribe to our blog? Interested in what we do as a 3rd party logistics provider? Then don’t hesitate to check out our services (as expressed above, we are very pro finding you the lowest total cost!). We’re also in the twittersphere, so give us a follow to get the latest logistics and supply chain news.

From Adoption to Digital Transformation
Experts say that supply chains must move from adoption to digital transformation if they want to improve efficiencies, operations and take their businesses to scale.

For the North American transportation supply chain and logistics industry, last year saw a widespread adoption of digital technologies. Predictive analytics proved beneficial to providing end-to-end visibility of supply chains, and ensuring efficiency with on-demand deliveries. When applied to operations, cloud-based technologies helped businesses scale, improved workflow productivity and created opportunities for competitive differentiation. Furthermore, robotic and automation armed warehouses with optimized levels of productivity and improved customer service.

Although the adoption of emerging technologies created solutions for transportation supply chains, the industry still faces many significant challenges. The increase in consumer demand for immediacy and personalization, in conjunction with pressures of the nationwide labour shortage, requires more than digital adoption. To further improve operational efficiencies, reduce costs and create opportunity for bottom line profits, supply chains must move from adoption to digital transformation.

According to Supply Chain Management Review,

Digital transformation is perhaps best explained as the implementation of new technologies to accelerate operations, sales and customer service, back office productivity and, ultimately, the growth of the business from end-to-end.

Whether the customer is a shipper, retail wholesaler or vendors, the goal of digital transformation is to ultimately improve the customer experience.

This week Morai Logistics provides an overview of what digital transformation looks like in transportation supply chains. The benefits moving from evolving from simply adopting digital technology to a comprehensive and whole-scale transformation will also be reinforced.

Digital Transformation of Supply Chains

There are many industries across the world recognizing the need to digitally transform. North America ranks at the top of the global market. By 2022, global statistics forecasts that spending on ‘the technologies and service that enable digital transformation’ will reach USD 1.97 trillion. However, in a study on the adoption of digital transformation within five major sectors, supply chains reported the ‘lowest level of digitization’.

Although digital transformation is considered to be a main focus for many, the truth is, this process fails more than it succeeds. According to the found of Supply Chain Insights, there are four common mistakes businesses make:

  • Disconnect with vision and strategy on implementing digital transformation
  • Transformation process does not include ownership from the business
  • Focus is not on meeting the needs of the customer market
  • Lack of partnership with innovative technology companies

Let’s address mistake number one: disconnect with vision and strategy. Before a supply chain executes digital transformation, they must understand the trends shaping the need to transform.

Universal Need for Digital Transformation

There are many reasons why digital transformation can improve the end to end profits of an organization. They may change depending on the industry. For supply chain and logistics, the following three reasons why adoption should move to transformation.

Customer Experience

Today, customer experience is at the top of the board when it comes to strategic priority. From social media to online buying, to smartphones, consumers have the power to connect anywhere at any time. This has changed the buyer’s journey significantly. Consumers expect a heightened level of transparency and personalized and engaging experiences.

Employee Support

The current capacity crunch and nationwide driver shortage, also requires organizations to look at employee fulfillment. Integrating digital tools throughout the supply chain, will promote efficient methods of productivity and communication. This can have an incredible impact on performance and empowerment, while also giving more time to focus on ‘streamlined decision-making’.

Strategic Insights

The implementation of technologies throughout all facets of a supply chain can help generate large data sets, known as Big Data. Online interactions between shipper and supplier can generate unceasing amounts of data. However, without appropriate tools to translate these numbers into valuable insight, meeting the needs of either party becomes challenging. Therefore, digital transformation ensures that innovative technology solutions are in place to provide strategic data that will ultimately achieve success.