Supply chain management evolves, and supply chain leaders have a grand opportunity to leverage supply chain automation and drive success. However, many leaders approach automation with a poor understanding of its capabilities, not to mention potential risks during implementation. To put the real power of automation (including its complimentary benefits through advanced AI, machine learning and big data) to work within the supply chain, leaders need to understand the barriers to implementing such processes, how automation enables competition, and its benefits.
Barriers to Implementing Automated Processes Continue to Plague the Industry
Today’s supply chain leaders face considerable uncertainty, and Amazon’s unrelenting push for world domination shows no signs of stopping. Unfortunately, significant barriers to supply chain automation still exist. As explained by Supply Chain 24/7, companies struggle with evaluating investment options. Executives may rely on the wrong criteria for new technology evaluation and implementation, and of more serious concern, is the execution of poor investment strategies, such as a mediocre integration. This can render savings obsolete. However, all agree that automation is essential to supply chain success, and the key lies in understanding its value.
Automation Within the Supply Chain Enables Competition With Amazon and Big Retailers
As explained by Supply Chain Digital, automation will pave the way for robotics within warehouses and throughout the supply chain. As digital transformation continues around the globe, those that fail to meet the same customer expectations of Amazon, Walmart, Target, and others will risk losing customers and face potential bankruptcy. However, supply chain automation effectively levels the playing field between companies of all sizes. In other words, small businesses can finally take advantage of the same resources available to Amazon and the Big Box retailers. However, it does come at a cost, including the potential pushback of shareholders and employees. Instead of trying to please everyone, demonstrate how automation will benefit all parties involved. For instance, automation improves worker safety and does not add to labor costs.
What Are the Benefits of Supply Chain Automation?
Proper execution of automation within the supply chain will help leaders realize key benefits within their organizations. These benefits include:
- Increased warehouse savings derived from faster order fill rates and increased order accuracy.
- Improved worker satisfaction, contributing to lower turnover rates.
- Cost avoidance, such as better space utilization, reducing demand for more warehouse space.
- Enhanced customer service levels, furthering brand loyalty, and profitability.
- Intuitive systems and controls enable faster, more efficient planning for maintenance and avoiding downtime.
The Digital Supply Chain: The Landscape, Trends, Types, and the Application in Supply Chain Management
Ensure Success in Automation by Choosing the Right Supply Chain Systems
Any supply chain automation strategy must follow a carefully defined path to achieve success. Poor implementation will leave a gap within capabilities and may lead to costs higher than your prior use of technology. To avoid this problem, supply chain leaders must have the wherewithal and experience to implement systems effectively and reduce investment costs. More leaders are choosing to outsource the process by partnering with a supply chain systems integrator.