The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many ongoing and hidden issues in global logistics. This created a need to improve digital supply chain management, along with its processes and operations. Today, companies are looking for ways to change their supply chain models. One of those ways is investing in supply chain technology for better efficiency. Companies can no longer stay away from using technology to enhance their digital supply chain management and business performance. With proper data collection and centralization, technology like AI, ML, and robotics can help supply chains shape up and increase efficiency.
5 Top Supply Chain Technology Trends to Watch for In 2021
1. AI and machine learning
AI and machine learning in the supply chain means having access to more data and the upgraded ability to make better decisions. But consolidating, filtering, and extracting valuable insights from these mounts of historical and real-time data is no easy task. AI and machine learning algorithms help detect patterns and gaps across a company’s supply chain, as well as produce highly accurate forecasts for the business. 61% of executives reported reduced costs and 53% stated increased revenues after implementing AI into their supply chains.
2. Autonomous vehicles
Self-driving trucks have been an industry buzzword for quite some time. Despite giant companies investing billions in autonomous vehicle startups, there are still years of development and testing to be completed before it breaks into the industry. In the near future, it is likely that these vehicles will serve a limited number of interested customers before being implemented throughout the industry. However, growing issues like driver shortage and sustainability concerns will keep driving the autonomous market forward.
3. Robotic automation & warehouse robotics
Smart systems and robotic automation can significantly cut down manual operations, mitigate risks of human errors, reduce labor costs, increase warehouse functionality, and improve product arrival and delivery process. Collaborative robots and similar devices are also getting a lot of recognition in warehouse automation. According to the Deloitte 2019 Annual Industry Report, more than 32% of supply chain executives are actively using robotic technology for warehouse automation.
4. Internet of Things (IoT)
A few years ago, the Internet of Things passed the conceptual stage and became a common technology in the industry. The key driver of IoT adoption is an increased need for more accurate and real-time data. Gartner’s 2019 Supply Chain Survey reports that 59% of participants had partially or fully used IoT across the company’s supply chain. Gathering more data through connected devices lets companies uncover new trends and tendencies, and make better business decisions.
The cybersecurity of supply chains has been an industry concern for a while. The logistics industry is a prime target for cyberattacks due to the interconnected nature of supply chains, which have devastating consequences. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies were migrating to the cloud and intensifying digitalization. Regardless of whose information is being exposed, cyberattacks can cause disastrous security breaches for software providers, supply chain executives, and their business partners, often resulting in massive monetary losses.
Written by PLS Logistics on March 16, 2021
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