5 Future-Proof Supply Chain Technologies

March 22, 2023

Many companies are modernizing their supply chains. But you have to go beyond modernizing your supply chain. You have to future-proof it through supply chain technologies.

Many new logistics technologies exist to help future-proof supply chains. Some of those include automated vehicles (AVs), electric vehicles (EVs), Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.

In future-proofing your supply chain, you’ll want to address three key areas to future-proof it.

In today’s environment, you must improve your responsiveness, your daily operations (effectiveness), and your daily output (efficiency). But when you address these three areas, you’ll go a long way toward future-proofing your supply chain.

With that in mind, there are five technologies that will enable you to build a more responsive, effective, and efficient supply chain.

These five technologies, unlike the others already mentioned, are available now. All offer promise in future-proofing your supply chain.

The five listed below, however, are ready for implementation now.

  • End-to-End (E2E) Visibility–enhances agility and resilience, boosting responsiveness.
  • Supply Chain (SC) Integration–eliminates silos increasing operational effectiveness.
  • Analyticsimproves the effectiveness of daily operations with a data-based approach.
  • Billing Solutionsimproves accuracy, speed, and efficiency of financial transactions.
  • Trucking solutions–increases employee productivity and efficiency while making jobs easier.

These five technologies cover operational performance challenges, optimization opportunities, financial issues, and labor-related matters. You can cover a lot of ground with this shortlist.

We’ll discuss each category, starting with E2E visibility.

Technology is important. But keeping pace with technology is not the reason to implement any of these technologies. Rather, you ought to focus on future-proofing your SC, so you can make a difference now. Doing so can improve your competitive edge.

That is, you want to exploit new technologies that are ready to implement.

The Value of E2E Visibility

Simply put, E2E visibility gives shippers, carriers, and customers visibility of cargo and products in the supply chain. E2E visibility should be real-time, giving all stakeholders relevant and actionable information.

This is a game-changer. It enables shippers and carriers to make ad hoc decisions based on the status of a shipment. Shoppers can order more products. Carriers can re-route shipments. And customers can change or cancel their orders as needed.

Real-time visibility provides increased flexibility. That makes supply chain agility and resilience possible. This helps to improve performance while keeping customers engaged. Even though they have different needs, all stakeholders are involved.

That makes E2E visibility a powerful solution that meets many needs. E2E visibility increases flexibility through real-time information, which improves daily operations while minimizing disruptions.

That completes the discussion about future-proofing operations. Now, let’s turn to financial opportunities.

The Value of Automated Billing Solutions

To keep the scope manageable, let’s focus on billing solutions. There’s no question that time spent on financial transactions and reporting is laborious. It's time-consuming, and that makes financial solutions ripe for future-proofing.

It does so because billing solutions offer many benefits.

First, financial software helps improve accuracy by reducing most human errors. That makes financial software attractive. Another key benefit is that billing software increases processing speed. So, it saves time while improving accuracy.

Those are the immediate results. Beyond that, automated billing solutions make reconciliation easier. It simplifies typical financial processes and procedures and builds confidence in financial reporting. That also makes compliance with financial regulations faster and easier.

In terms of financial status, billing software supports real-time reporting of financial transactions. That improves your ability to manage your budget. You can track expenses and make ad hoc decisions to influence your budget and your operations. This adds value to your operations.

Next, let’s turn to logistics analytics. We'll look at how they can improve performance, financial management, and customer service.

The Value of Automated Business Intelligence (BI) and Data Analytics (DA)

Solutions.  The future of logistics depends on analytics. You can improve the BI of standard operations with improved data capture, analysis, and reporting. BI uses both current and historical data. DA, meanwhile, uses historical data to glean insights to drive future business.

Today's sophisticated BI and DA solutions can exploit data previously ignored. That can lead to more and better insights. BI and DA also capitalize on opportunities and minimize disruptions. And they’re faster and more precise.

That’s one way BI and DA can future-proof your supply chain. Another is the gained functionality of supporting data-based decision-making. Increased access to data leads to better use of data. And the better use of data leads to better decisions.

Data-based decisions can affect all aspects of your supply chain. They can influence performance measures, financial metrics, and customer service.

BI and DA also support improved supply chain risk management (SCRM). Automated BI and DA solutions provide more and more sophisticated capabilities. One example is predictive analytics, which is ready to implement now. BI and DA represent untapped values.

Another opportunity to future-proof your supply chain comes from supply chain integration.

The Value of Supply Chain Integration

The era of siloed operations has ended. Integrated operations are the new way of doing business. Staying with logistics, there are many benefits to supply chain integration.

First, you can achieve streamlined business processes that result from integration. Today’s technologies make that possible, so you can optimize business processes. Equally important, you can focus on making critical information available when and where it’s needed.

Making data available at the right time and at the right place would increase the speed at which data and information flow. That fosters SCMR, so you can avoid or mitigate supply chain disruptions. That will help stabilize your operations.

Supply chain integration also improves communication and collaboration within and across organizations. Improved horizontal and vertical communication helps build trust through transparency. Keep in mind, communicating and collaborating in real-time is faster and easier than in siloed organizations.

During the pandemic, the value of integration was most noticeable in intermodal operations. The level of integration and synchronization needed is no more obvious than here. Achieving seamless intermodal operations is a perennial challenge that technology makes possible. It’s not the only area in need of integration, but it’s a critical one.

Supply chain integration has a multiplier effect, as it realizes many benefits. Integrating your supply chain is an important step in future-proofing your supply chain.

The Value of Labor-focused Technology Solutions

Thus far, we’ve focused on information technology and business processes. Now it’s time to turn towards how logistics technologies affect labor. In particular, supply chain technologies can positively influence labor in two ways.

It can replace labor, or it can supplement labor. In the former case, technologies focus on automating low-level, redundant work.

The first benefit is that technology can fill personnel gaps left by Baby Boomers. Many Boomers retired because of Covid-19, leaving many positions unfilled. So many companies are turning to technology to replace some human labor.

Next, automation of lower-level processes releases your workforce from low-value work. Now, they can focus on high-value work. Automation reduces tedium and enhances creative productivity.    

One example is the use of logbooks by drivers. This relieves drivers of a tedious administrative function. Doing so allows them to spend less time on that and more time driving. The same applies to warehousing, where robots perform mundane stocking and retrieval functions.

Also, returning to drivers, supply chain technologies exist to aid driver efficiency with better financial transaction processing. That reduces time spent on striving for accuracy while simplifying financial reconciliation. Again, this saves time, maximizing your drivers’ time on the road.

Supply Chain Technologies with American Global Logistics

At American Global Logistics, we keep our eye on today while building for the future. Supply chain management is dynamic, and adopting new technologies is critical to success.

We don’t just follow trends; we embrace them where they make a difference for our customers. We’re a forward-looking 3PL, but we’re also pragmatic so we can make a difference.

Partner with us to improve your supply chain’s responsiveness, effectiveness, and efficiency. You’ll gain a competitive advantage.

Contact us to find out how we can help you future-proof your supply chain.

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