Warehouse optimisation and efficient inventory management help to fulfil orders faster and with a reduced risk of error.
The Benefits of Supply Chain Digitisation
The future of supply chain efficiency lies in digitisation. All industries are improving their digitisation efforts, but many supply chains are still using outdated technology that could be holding them back. The 2020s are being called ‘The decade of data’, and it is this availability of data that could encourage change throughout the industry, so what are the benefits of supply chain digitisation?
Generate data-driven plans
Having access to more data means more opportunities for analytics, and better data visualisation will also make it easier to apply that data, such as by forecasting demand. Intelligent algorithms and historical data can be used to predict customer trends before they happen, giving more time to prepare and source sufficient components, rather than playing catch up and competing with other businesses for stock in reaction to a new trend.
The coronavirus pandemic exposed many inefficiencies in the ways supply chains currently operate and highlighted the importance of improving resiliency and minimising risk. Embracing digitisation increases visibility throughout the chain, making it much easier to identify risk at every part of the chain, and to notice disruption quicker and respond accordingly.
As well as risk mitigation, digitisation can also give supply chains a competitive advantage, as they will be able to deliver a better, more efficient service for the end user. Manufacturers will be able to track the location of the materials or components at every stage, and streamlining manufacturing and warehousing processes means the products can be produced at a faster rate.
Improved supply chain visibility
Supply chain digitisation can drastically improve the connectivity throughout the chain. End-to-end visibility and transparency are enhanced by the availability of data without the need for user input. Low-code automation platforms allow all the businesses within a supply chain to access real-time information about manufacturing progress reports, delivery status, and location of parts.
Better lead times
Lengthy lead times are incredibly disruptive, but supply chain digitisation can reduce lead times because communication is quicker, and processes are streamlined to remove inefficiencies. While some lead times are caused by external factors such as component shortages, digitisation makes it much easier to identify such problems early on. More data allows supply chains to be proactive rather than reactive, predicting future requirements and avoiding disruption.
More efficient inventory management
Digitising inventory management is much more efficient because stock levels can be monitored and automated systems can place orders once stock levels drop below a set amount. Better stock control from automated systems means businesses are less likely to lose a sale because a product is out of stock. These systems also prevent overordering which can result in having to spend money storing excess stock or offloading it at a discounted rate.
Operationally efficient warehouses
As well as better inventory management, a digitised warehouse can be much more operationally efficient. Improved data and AI systems can be used to work out shorter walking routes throughout the warehouse and better inventory positioning, speeding up processes significantly. AI robotics can also assist in loading or unloading pallets and moving cargo.
Improved transit efficiency
The increased availability of data provided by Cloud-based GPS and BLE asset tracking also gives businesses real-time insights into the location and status of assets, including when it is in transit. Monitoring technology can also be used to improve the efficiency of the fleet, by tracking driving habits to improve standards and analyse route efficiency and traffic conditions.
Allows employees to be where they are needed most
The use of automation technologies also allows employees to work much more efficiently, because many menial and administrative tasks can be automated, freeing up employees to focus on more complex tasks instead. Many of these automated tasks can also be completed outside of normal business hours if required. This means that employees don’t have to work longer shifts to complete these tasks, where fatigue becomes a factor and the chance of costly errors is increased.
Digitisation is taking over all industries, and supply chains shouldn’t be any different. Digitisation can bring benefits to every stage of the supply chain, resulting in a much more efficient, resilient and competitive operation.
If you want to learn how you can improve the efficiency of your supply chain with processes such as digitisation, you can view our services.