Modern technology is changing industries across the globe and supply chain management is no exception to thetrend. In fact, the rise of e-commerce has forced businesses to concentrate on on-demand supply instead of thinking about on-shelf availability.
According to the Gartner, the supply chain management (SCM) market will exceed $13 billion in total revenue as Software as a Service (SaaS) industry by the end of 2017, up 11% from 2016. It is on pace to exceed $19 billion by 2021. This rapid growth will be fueled by several different technologies including 3D printing, internet of things (IoT), big data, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence (AI) among others. The transition will help simplify supply chain management, increase its efficiency, and discover new business opportunities. Here is how.
Increased efficiency through real-time monitoring
Though in the coming years, the supply chain will become more complex, the modern technology will also make it less expensive and more efficient. Real-time tracking of shipment will allow seamless transport of goods from the suppliers to the end consumers, increasing the overall efficiency of a supply chain while reducing costs. Technologies such as bar coding, voice recognition, and radio frequency identification (RFID) are at the heart of this transformation.
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With the help of Internet-based software, electronics manufacturers and suppliers will be able to reduce shipping errors. E-commerce and retail are particularly interested in using RFID technology. Nearly 96% of retailers are planning to start tagging apparel with RFID as it can lift inventory accuracy up to 95% or better. However, the trend is also catching up in other industries as well.
Decentralization of manufacturing
When it comes to manufacturing, advanced robotics and automation coupled with big data and real-time monitoring will lead to increased decentralization. Thus, modern technology is also poised to change the production end of the supply chain. With the help of smart supply chains, manufacturers will be able to procure raw materials, energy, transportation, and supporting technology from the best and cheapest sources available in the global market, resulting in reduced manufacturing costs.
Through predictive asset optimization solutions, electronics manufacturers will also be able to monitor day-to-day floor operations. Real-time communication will allow businesses to send and receive alerts adjusting the production output accordingly. The prevailing trend of automation and data exchange in the manufacturing sector is just the beginning of Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution.
Third-party integration tools will process and distribute data to support faster growth. In the coming years, only integrated organizations are more likely to survive the extremely competitive manufacturing sector.
Ability to foresee new opportunities
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report published in 2016, the number of connected devices is expected to reach 28 billion worldwide by 2021 of which close to 16 billion will be related to IoT. The enormous amount of data collected from these billions of devices can provide previously undiscovered insights into the enhancement of supply chain management.
Image courtesy: Ericsson
For example, several leading brands have started leveraging social media platforms to encourage direct communication with their end users. Facebook alone had more than 60 million businesses pages with four million businesses actively advertising through it, in 2016. Today, the social media is often used to interact with customers. In future, it will be used to create automated updates to the inventory or create personalized products based on the consumer interaction on social media. In other words, modern technology is going to revolutionize the decision-making process
However, businesses should start building a roadmap to improve their current capabilities and offerings if they want to explore the wealth of opportunities the modern technology is likely to yield in future.
Better contingency planning
Perhaps, the biggest benefit of real-time tracking and analysis is the ability to provide a better contingency plan. Apart from the theft, supplier delay, production interruptions, and raw material shortages, modern technology will also enable businesses to reduce the losses resulting from natural disasters in the coming years.
Every year, American shippers have to sustain billions of dollars in losses due to natural disasters. They are also known to affect freight flows and transportation prices. Together, hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused $290 billion in damages in 2017. However, modern technology such as real-time location tracking can help identify natural disasters or weather conditions that may hinder delivery schedules. Organizations will be able to divert shipments and freights to prevent damage.
Modern technology will profoudning impact supply chain management for electronics OEMs. Responsible business organization should choose carefully with an eye toward getting the most for their money.