In today's world, global economy can be erratic and businesses around the world need to adapt to ever changing scenarios. Moreover, growing competition and tectonic shifts in technology have forced businesses to re-think their supply chain and logistics strategies. Supply chain professionals around the globe are exploring possibilities and leveraging cutting-edge technology to gain competitive advantage. We discuss here top-two disruptive technological breakthroughs, which are crafting the next generation of supply chain and logistics.
Device mesh: Hyper-integrated, Automated and Responsive supply chain
Let's face it! In the last couple of years, an explosion of technologies is transforming the way supply chains will function in the coming years. Trending technologies include automatic identification and data capture (AIDC), Internet of Things (IoT), Bluetooth connectivity, electronic sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID), cloud computing, mobility and many more! Together, these technologies create a digital mesh of devices, which transform the supply chain and logistics processes. This enhances the information flow and communication between various supply chain units and stakeholders.
Device mesh is gaining popularity because they are able to address the gaps between ground realities and planning estimation in a volatile business scenario. In addition, they enable decision makers to respond to situations in a fast and efficient manner and avoid delayed communication. Also, we can't discount the valuable feedback we get from customers via various means such as customer service contact, social media platform, online interaction etc. - Just imagine the possibilities if we can have all of it almost real time!! Device Mesh unlocks such possibilities.
Especially logistics providers around the world are early adopters of cutting-edge technologies and have been able to improve logistics visibility, ensure on-time delivery, and enhance customer service through device meshes.
Three pronged benefits of Device Mesh in Logistics space
Other areas such as enterprise wide visibility, warehouse and yard management, and fleet management have immediate benefits of adapting to such technologies. Businesses can have better control over their assets across inventory and transportation, reduce operational costs, or improve data accuracy.
Advanced Machine Learning and Analytics: Smart supply chain solutions
We live in an era of data explosion such that by the time you complete reading this line over 2.5 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook. With every second more data get created, but there are limitations to amount of data a human alone can analyze. Machine learning algorithms viz. supervised and unsupervised help us analyze such big data explosions and spot trends, behaviors, and possible bottlenecks in supply chain and logistics.
Machine learning remains a consistent technology trend, which is bound to stay valuable in the coming years. Though a recent entrant in the trend hype, it has quickly evolved to capture attention across businesses. In fact, machine learning replaced big data last year in Gartner Hype Cycle.
For comparison here is Gartner Hype Cycle for 2014
Whether we talk about IoT, digital mesh, automation agents, user experience or smart machines; machine learning has an important role to play. Organizations around the world are waking up to the possibilities and insights that machine learning has to offer and are using it to gain competitive advantage. Logistics providers are saving millions of dollars each year by learning from data they generate.
Machine learning goes hand-in-hand with analytics. Data science as depicted on Gartner Hype Cycle is classified under innovation triggers -- businesses now have tools at their disposal to generate intelligence from historical data and to take it to next level. The advent of predictive analytics and advanced business forecasting techniques are helping businesses to mitigate risks, trigger early warning systems in supply chain, manage manufacturing better and anticipate demand beforehand.
Speed, agility, responsiveness, smart, and efficient are adjectives which define next generation supply chains. Evidently over time it will change the way business is done but there are extra costs which are involved in incorporating these technologies to your existing supply chain. Before embracing such disruptive changes, it's recommended that pros and cons are weighed rationally to have more benefit out of such enterprise.
Written by: Deepshikhar Tyagi