5 SUPPLY CHAIN TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2021
Many existing supply chain issues came to light this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did businesses experience shipping delays, but also inefficient processes and bottlenecks which lead to serious shortages globally. As a result, businesses have been looking to invest in technology to improve their processes and efficiency. With proper data collection and analysis, technology like artificial intelligence and robotics can play a large role in shaping the digital supply chain for years to come. Here are our top 5 supply chain technology trends to watch in 2021.
5 Supply Chain Technology Trends to Watch in 2021
Stronger & More Efficient AI
Automation has been one of the biggest trends in several industries for the past decade. One of the driving factors behind this is the use of Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Not only does AI help automate and streamline your operations, but it also removes the possibility of human error and allows employees to focus on more complex tasks. However, the strength behind AI lies in its ability to analyze data and identify patterns. As a result, these insights can provide highly accurate business forecasts and help make better decisions about your logistics activities. With the help of AI and ML, logistic operations can become more accurate and efficient while cutting costs.
While we are still years away from a fleet of autonomous vehicles, there is a reason why this topic has been an industry buzzword for quite some time. Issues like driver shortages and sustainability concerns are driving the research and investment into self-driving and unmanned vehicles. For example, Amazon has been working on the Prime Air Delivery program where they use drones to deliver small packages in 30 minutes or less. While this technology is still years away from industry-wide adoption, we will continue to see this driving factor in 2021.
Automation & Warehouse Robotics
Automation in supply chain management is not limited to operations, but manual tasks as well. According to the Deloitte 2019 Annual Industry Report, more than 32% of businesses are actively using robotics and warehouse automation. The use of automation and robotics can significantly cut down manual operations, mitigate risks of human error, reduce labor costs, and improve inbound & outbound warehouse activities. As technology continues to improve, we’ll see more automation and warehouse robotics performing menial labor more efficiently, freeing up employees to focus on more complex tasks and critical decision making.
Better Supply Chain Analytics from IoT
The internet of things (IoT) is another technology quickly adopted by the supply chain industry. IoT involves a network of connected objects or “things” fitted with sensors, software and technology to relay data between each other. The key driver behind IoT is the ability to collect data and improving transparency across the supply chain. For example, sensors can be fitted to trucks to provide real-time location tracking, or in the warehouse to help with inventory management. Gathering more data from the entire supply chain allows businesses to increase efficiency, minimize downtime, proactively respond to customer demands, and make better business decisions.
The increase of Automation, Robotics, IoT, and other interconnected devices has created new areas of vulnerability for cyber attacks. Not to mention, the COVID-19 pandemic saw many businesses migrate to the cloud and network-based infrastructure to remain competitive while cutting costs. As supply chain management is becoming more digital, we will see an increase in technology and measures to protect those networks, devices, people, and software.
If you’re interested in learning more about improving your supply-chain, C2W Distribution can help. We offer both 3PL & 4PL solutions to meet your fulfilment, eCommerce, dropshipping, & storage requirements. By leveraging our state-of-the-art equipment and technology, we’re able to fulfil your business needs while making your supply-chain more efficient, reducing costs, and improving customer satisfaction. Leave the logistics to us, while you focus on your core competencies.
Interested in learning more? Contact us today to see what we can do for you.