In the modern supply chain, we are now seeing, more rapidly than ever, things like manual processes and physical documentation being replaced by new technologies and digital alternatives to help streamline some previously tedious tasks. Environmental and economic challenges are also amongst the challenges being addressed by industry leaders and innovators. Important new innovations in supply chain are paving the way to the future to transform every aspect of the industry. Some of these include:
IoT & AI
The Internet of Things (IoT) allows companies to implement technology such as sensor and cameras that share their data in real time. Removing the human interaction for this type of information gathering saves time and results in the collection of more accurate, up-to-date, and meaningful data. Once the data from IoT devices is collected, this is where the power of AI is most critical. AI has the ability to take in all this information and produce ways that one can optimize their supply chain in ways possibly never thought of before.
Automation has been on the rise for years both inside and outside of the warehouse. With the automation via implementation of robots within warehouses, supply chains are able to achieve faster order-to-delivery times, decreased errors, and fewer workplace accidents. Additionally, automation out of the warehouse is present in autonomous vehicles. Autonomous cars have been driving around for years, and recently, autonomous trucks have been unveiled as potential future replacements for their manned predecessors. Autonomous vehicles have made massive strides over the years in safety and efficiency, so it’s clear to see how they could be utilized in supply chain.
Alternative fuel choices for transportation in supply chain are now not only about overcoming environmental challenges but could soon also help overall costs. While traditional fuels such as diesel remain the go-to choice for most supply chain leaders, alternatives such as bio/renewable diesel and natural gas are continuing to improve their financial viability as replacements for fossil fuels.
The Blockchain is a decentralized ledger that stores all transactions across a network of computers. This decentralization allows for more accurate asset tracking, data verification and keeps data more secure by allowing everyone within the network to have their own permanent record of the transactions. Technology is changing fast, and more and more companies are choosing to integrate one or more of these innovations into their supply chains. While there are still many challenges to overcome, many in the industry are optimistic for the future with improved efficiency, lower costs and reductions in environmental impacts near on the horizon.