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 Supply Chain Innovation with Emerging Technologies

The supply chain industry is currently experiencing a transformation with the emergence of new technologies. These technologies include electric bikes for last-mile delivery, self-service and do-it-yourself logistics programs, on-demand warehousing, collaborative mobile robots, truck platooning, blockchain in supply chains, tagging, sensors, and geolocation technologies.

The new technologies driving the supply chain

According to IoT in Logistics Analytics research, 6 upcoming supply chain technologies are expected to define the next era of the digital supply chain, including

  • Automatic Sorting and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS)
  • Intralogistics robots also called warehouse robots
  • Blockchain in supply chains
  • IoT track and trace to monitor location of assets
  • Digital twins technology
  • AI in supply chain

Digital twins technology in supply chains refer to virtual replicas or simulations of physical supply chain systems, processes, or assets. A digital twin captures and models the data and behavior of a real-world supply chain, allowing for analysis, optimization, and decision-making in a virtual environment.

By modeling the supply chain in a digital twin, businesses can simulate different scenarios and test the impact of various changes or interventions. This allows for optimization of supply chain processes, such as inventory management, production planning, and logistics.

Businesses are utilizing supply chain software to optimize their processes as customer expectations for speed and convenience increase, and global supply chains become more complex Additionally, supply chain digitization, omnichannel supply chain management, and cloud supply chain solutions are key innovations in the field. These innovations allow for the automation of manual tasks, synchronization of all operations, the connection of different sales points, flexibility, agility, and increased data visibility.

Why supply chain innovation affects every industry?

Supply Chain Software is Involved in Each Phase

The supply chain affects every industry because it encompasses the entire lifecycle of goods and services, from sourcing raw materials to delivering products to end customers. Efficient and effective supply chain management is vital for achieving operational excellence, customer satisfaction, cost efficiency, and sustainable growth in any industry. For instance, Amazon might not be involved in the raw material stage but it relies heavily on supply chain technology for data analytics, warehousing, and delivery.

Amazon leverages advanced data analytics and algorithms to manage its vast inventory efficiently. The company employs a demand-driven approach, utilizing real-time data to forecast demand, optimize stocking levels, and reduce stockouts.

Amazon heavily utilizes robotics and automation technologies in its warehouses. Robotic systems, such as Amazon’s Kiva robots, help streamline order picking, packing, and sorting processes, improving operational efficiency and reducing the time between order placement and shipment.

Last-Mile Delivery Innovation – Amazon has been at the forefront of last-mile delivery innovations. It has experimented with various delivery methods, including Amazon Prime Air (drone delivery), Amazon Flex (crowdsourced delivery), and Amazon Lockers (self-service pickup locations), aiming to make deliveries faster, more convenient, and more flexible.

Amazon leverages advanced supply chain technologies throughout its delivery process. For instance, it uses machine learning algorithms to optimize inventory allocation, predictive analytics for demand forecasting, and IoT devices to monitor and track shipments in real time.

Examples of digital technologies in SCM for different industries

Here are some specific examples of how digital technologies are transforming supply chains in different industries:

1. Retail and E-Commerce

  • Online marketplaces, not just Amazon or Alibaba, utilize data analytics and AI algorithms to optimize demand forecasting, inventory management, and personalized marketing. In today’s marketplace business success in the e-commerce space is not possible without AI in supply chain applications. Of course, not all companies might have the resources of the big players but data democratization is leveling the playing field.
  • RFID tags and IoT sensors help track inventory levels, monitor product freshness, and prevent stockouts.

2. Manufacturing

  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices gather real-time data on equipment performance, enabling predictive maintenance and minimizing downtime.
  • Supply chain Digital Twins technology simulates production processes, allowing manufacturers to optimize operations, improve quality control, and reduce waste.
  • Robotics and automation streamline assembly lines, improving productivity, reducing errors, and enabling flexible production.

3. Logistics and Transportation

  • Transportation companies use GPS tracking and telematics to monitor the location and condition of shipments, improving supply chain visibility. iTech has developed and end-to-end suite of GPS Fleet Management Tools for Simplex group in USA – Read the case study here.
  • Route optimization algorithms leverage real-time data to minimize delivery times, fuel consumption, and carbon emissions.
  • Last-mile delivery solutions, such as drones and autonomous vehicles, enhance efficiency and enable faster and more precise deliveries.

4. Healthcare

  • Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and digital health platforms improve visibility and collaboration among healthcare providers, enhancing patient care and supply chain management.
  • RFID tags and temperature sensors ensure the integrity of pharmaceuticals and vaccines during transportation and storage.
  • Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring technologies facilitate virtual consultations and enable the efficient delivery of healthcare services.Read iTech’s case study on developing a telemedicine app for a US healthcare organization during the pandemic.

5. Food and Agriculture

  • Blockchain in supply chain enables transparent and secure traceability of food products, helping to identify and manage foodborne illnesses and improve food safety.
  • Precision agriculture technologies, including drones, sensors, and satellite imagery, optimize crop monitoring, irrigation, and yield prediction.
  • IoT in logistics is also used in refrigerated trucks and warehouses to maintain proper temperature and humidity levels, reducing spoilage and waste.

These examples illustrate how digital technologies are being applied in specific industries to enhance supply chain management, improve operational efficiency, and deliver better products and services to customers.

The risk…

The risk is obvious that only supply chain players with large resources can take advantage of these supply chain innovations. This would create a dangerous divide between the big players and the smaller companies and force the have-nots to the kerb. The good news is that while smaller companies might not always be innovators or pioneers but they can be beneficiaries of open-source and data-informed tools. There are several trends and developments that are helping to democratize access to these technologies.

Over time, the cost of technologies such as IoT devices, cloud computing, and AI/ML algorithms has decreased. This reduction in costs makes these technologies more affordable and accessible to a wider range of businesses, including smaller players.

Many digital technologies are scalable, meaning they can be adopted gradually and expanded as needed. This allows businesses to start small and gradually increase their investment in technology solutions as they grow and witness the benefits.

iTech is one of the solution providers offering affordable and specialized supply chain technology solutions. As a pioneering software development company we are focused on developing user-friendly, cost-effective, and scalable technologies that cater to the needs of big and smaller players. Talk to our senior team to understand better how we can deliver value for your organization.


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