Digital Disruptions in Supply Chain – Get Ready to Thrive!



The present technological landscape is constantly evolving and impacting every business and industry. The Supply Chain and logistics industry is no exception. It is already inclining toward futuristic technology innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT), software robots, big data, and predictive analytics to improve logistical management and exceed customer expectations. The Supply Chain industry is evolving into a digital ecosystem that acts as the manufacturing industry’s backbone. With Web 3.0 and Industry 4.0 already on the horizon, failing to keep up with the technology trends might be a critical disadvantage.

The Supply Chain Challenges

To understand challenges across the Supply Chain industry and how we should address them, it is essential to know how the industry is structured. A Supply Chain network for any organization consists of:

• Logistics, Distributors, Retailers, and Consumers Downstream
• Logistics and Supplier Upstream

Three key items that flow across the Supply Chain network are:
1. Parts/Products
2. Information
3. Money

The significance of information is the most important of the three. Stakeholders in a Supply Chain could plan their activities more effectively if they get timely and accurate information.

Let us consider a company that manufactures the spare parts required to manufacture the products that it sells. Let us also assume it also owns the logistics and distribution system. Given that there are no external dependencies, there are no substantial obstacles or concerns. It only needs to forecast consumer demand and schedule production accordingly.

Today, organizations are dependent on partners as they do not own the complete operations and thus, stand at risk resulting in challenges. Additionally, the ongoing global logistics disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia – Ukraine war have significantly affected Supply Chains and strategies. The following are some of the most critical Supply Chain challenges businesses across the globe are facing:

1.  Shortage of raw materials
2. Difficulty in meeting demand
3. Issue of asymmetric information
4. Increasing supply chain management cost
5. Lack of trust and collaboration between partners

While some of these challenges will play themselves out over time, a few are permanent, requiring a paradigm shift in the way we think about future Supply Chains. Over the past years, digital transformation has aided in reducing Supply Chain related challenges. At Opteamix, we believe that the Advent of Web 3.0 and Industry 4.0 will result in the comprehensive deployment of Digital Supply Chain capabilities.

We have listed down the six technology trends that can potentially disrupt Supply Chain operations in the near future. Businesses and Supply Chain leaders need to embrace and adopt these technology trends to improve the ROI:

1. Hyperautomation – Hyperautomation combines technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Language (ML), and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate processes at an enterprise scale. RPA Bots can track inventory levels, issue warnings, send emails, generate purchase orders, and read emails to update the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, lowering overall service costs and increasing productivity. Supply Chain data (Text, statistics, images, and videos) that flow across the value chain will provide a wealth of information to the decision-makers. New-age Data Analytics systems that use AI and ML can assist decision-makers in forecasting demand at various Supply Chain nodes.

2. Digital Transport Management System (DTMS) – Digital Transport Management offers a sustainable solution to enhance the performance of local and international logistics networks, optimizing the cost of running the Supply Chain operations. Today, businesses rely on Digital Supply Chains and Digital Transportation Management to improve transparency and reduce costs. DTMS combines strategic, tactical, and operational planning with transportation order processing, freight invoicing management, and event reporting. The most significant advances in DTMS in the Supply Chain are process continuity and digital network capacity. Even smaller firms can benefit from implementing a DTMS within their Supply Chain network.

3. Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Realities (AR, VR, and MR) – Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Realities are positively impacting every industry and enhancing customer experience. The use of smart glasses (AR) in order picking helps improve the entire process faster and more accurately. VR also assists delivery teams in tracking the address, position, and weather information on the windshield, reducing the need for them to check their handheld devices frequently, resulting in increased efficiency. These tools can assist managers in viewing real-time events on the job site and assist in predictive modeling.

4. Edge Ecosystem – Edge computing is a distributed computing framework in which data sources are closer to processing and storage. This increases the response time and conserves bandwidth. Edge computing can effectively assist businesses in reducing IT expenditures while improving dependability. Smart devices, intelligent machines, sensors, and computing systems that utilize Edge Computing and Edge Data Processing allow enterprises to make data-driven, agile, and accurate decisions.

5. 5G – In terms of data speed and processing capability, 5G is a significant leap in technology compared to 4G. The omnipresent aspect of 5G increases the Supply Chain performance and possibilities. Running a 5G network in a plant, for example, may reduce latency and improve real-time visibility and Internet of Things capabilities. Organizations may employ 5G in Supply Chain operations to improve delivery time and reduce inefficiencies. Enhanced geolocation with 5G can help in reducing travel delays due to unexpected traffic conditions.

6. Web 3.0 – Web 3.0 is built on Blockchain technology that can offer a plethora of benefits for the Supply Chain and logistics industry, including improved inventory tracking and transparency in invoicing and payments. Blockchain technology allows all stakeholders in a Supply Chain to access the same data eliminating communication and data errors. With Web 3.0, less time will be spent on data validations, improving quality, and lowering costs for delivering goods and services. Web 3.0 offers a fully integrated system across the Supply Chain ecosystem, from the supplier to the end-user improving trust by creating a pipeline for the future product and supplies for the Supply Chain industry.

Innovation in Supply Chain management is essential for businesses to remain agile to manage unexpected issues like COVID and war crises. Though there is always pressure on the Supply Chain industry to improve the ROI, the Supply Chain organizations must accept the future trends and invest in tech that can help them grow and thrive in the long run to keep themselves ahead of their competition.

With Opteamix’s Technology Consulting Services, you can transform your Supply Chain operations to achieve optimization at every step of the network. We will help you build a Supply Chain network that leverages technology to ensure resilience, reliability, and agility.

Check out our most recent Infographic on technological trends that can help you transform your Supply Chain operations.

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