5 Tips For Utilizing Technology To Overcome Trending Supply Chain Issues – Technology Org

A well-organized supply chain is critical for efficient business operations. The supply chain function of an organization deals with the movement of goods and materials from one location to another. An efficient supply helps to reduce the cost and delays in moving goods. But this comes with its own set of challenges. You have to overcome those challenges to realize the full potential of your supply chain.

Warehouse supply chain logistics - Illustrative photo.

Warehouse, supply chain, logistics – illustrative photo. Image credit: Jacques Dillies via Unsplash, free license

Supply chain challenges

The most prevalent supply chain challenge is operational costs. Transportation costs are on the rise with the increase in fuel prices. Labor has also become expensive due to the challenging job market. Businesses have to eke out the maximum efficiency from their supply chain operations to remain profitable.

Businesses need to keep up with consumer demand. Of late, consumers are demanding faster and cheaper shipping exerting pressure on the supply chain function. Faster deliveries implicitly mean a high cost of operations. Fast delivery is unfeasible if you can’t exponentially increase the efficiency of your operations.

In addition to these challenges, scarcity of materials and equipment is also challenging for supply chain operators. Global supply chain problems, geopolitical conflicts, and increased competition are other challenges you need to overcome. According to your industry, you may face challenges that are specific to your industry but not present elsewhere.

Technology in the supply chain

Digital transformation is changing how various industries operate. The use of technology in the supply chain is on the rise. Not using technology will be the downfall of your business.

Effective use of technology helps you to gain a competitive edge. Ineffective use of technology adds to the cost without adding any value. The following sections cover some of the ways you can effectively utilize technology to overcome supply chain challenges.

Visibility

The lack of information at decision-making centers is a huge problem. This leads to faulty decisions and an inability to change strategies. Supply chain visibility helps you have complete information about your supply chain at any point in time. You can access the information from anywhere.

Software suites ranging from ERP, WMS, CMMS, etc, can be used to have real-time and historical data on your supply chain. Supply chain visibility helps you make better decisions and implement them on time.

Integration

You have multiple departments within your organization. You also have various vendors, suppliers, and other stakeholders for your supply chain. If you have a siled technology system, the different stakeholders of your supply chain cannot access or update information.

Beyond using technology, you need to integrate the different software suites you use. There should be a free flow of relevant information to the different departments of your organization. You need to have real-time information about your suppliers to maneuver supply chain strategy according to requirements. Integrating all the software of your organization and your suppliers helps you to make accurate decisions on your supply chain operations.

Automation

Manual errors introduced by employees cause delays and increase the cost of operations. It is impossible to eliminate such errors if you rely solely on labor. Automation solutions like picking robots, collaborating robots, sorting robots, etc, should be implemented in your operations.

Robots have near-zero error rates and help dramatically improve the efficiency of your supply chain. Automated guided vehicles (AGV) can be used for transportation to eliminate errors there. The cost of implementing automated solutions used to be quite high.

But with advancements in technology, the costs have come down significantly. Automation is a worthwhile technology investment that will deliver a high return on investment for a long time.

Maintenance

Maintenance is an important element in keeping the supply chain up and running. You have vehicles, machinery, physical assets, and infrastructure that are part of your supply chain. Such assets were acquired incurring high capital costs.

To ensure a good return on capital expenditure, you need to prolong the life of these assets. Regular maintenance activities are required to achieve this. Scheduling maintenance for a complex supply chain is immensely difficult.

A computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) is a technological tool that helps you create and execute maintenance strategies for your supply chain. CMMS has historical and real-time information on all assets of your organization. This can be used to coordinate and flawlessly implement maintenance activities.

Analytics

With software, you have all data about your supply chain operations. This information helps you in effective supply chain management. The large amount of data collected with software contains insights into your operations. Uncovering them will help you reduce waste and improve efficiency and profitability.

But you cannot comb through the trillions of data points to garner insights. Analytical tools have to be applied to the data to do that. Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms help to extract meaningful insights from data. Better insights into your operations will help you to overcome challenges and even preempt challenging scenarios.

Technology-driven supply chain

Staying competitive in the modern business environment is a tough task. You need the leverage of technology for the optimal operation of the supply chain. The primary contribution of technology is the centralization of information and the supply chain visibility that comes with it.

Integrating the technological solution with internal and external stakeholders in noble decision-making. Automating processes and maintenance improves your efficiency metrics. The final step is to use analytics to predict future requirements and accommodate them. Only a technology-driven supply chain can survive the competitive landscape of the future.

Bryan Christiansen

Bryan Christiansen is the founder and CEO of Limble CMMS. Limble is a modern, easy-to-use mobile CMMS software that takes the stress and chaos out of maintenance by helping managers organize, automate, and streamline their maintenance operations.


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