Even though robotics and AI will never be able to fill in for human logic and expertise, there is a case to be made for supply chain automation thru automated systems. Whether you work as a transportation management solutions expert, a professional driver or a supply chain specialist, automation can make your life easier in numerous aspects.
Supply chain automation integration into supply chain management tasks such as order tracking, data analysis, and warehouse management can be highly beneficial no matter the scale or industry in which your business operates. With that in mind, let’s take a look at several key stages of supply chain management which can benefit from automation for the betterment of your performance and client satisfaction.
Benefits of Supply Chain Automation
Let’s take a brief look at the reasons for including supply chain automation in your day-to-day supply chain management operations before we dive into the implementations themselves. Automation does exactly what one would think when they hear the word – it efficiently “automates” numerous processes which would otherwise be handled by specialists and managers.
Justin Evans, Marketing Expert at Top Writers Review spoke on the topic recently: “Even though trust and camaraderie play a major role in your business overall success, automated data processing systems can make the entire staff’s work easier to handle at any given moment.” That being said, many of these processes are time-consuming and prone to human error (such as with inventory management or order processing for example). That is why supply chain automation can bring a plethora of benefits to your business and supply chain management, including but not limited to the following points:
- Increased productivity and client satisfaction
- Improved management accuracy and lowered turnover times
- Drastically lowered risks of workspace injuries
- Ability to market your high-performing business to larger clients
- Decreased environmental footprint and eco compliance
The Digital Supply Chain: The Landscape, Trends, Types, and the Application in Supply Chain Management
Supply Management – Machine Learning
The first major stage of supply chain management which can benefit from supply chain automation thru automated software and systems can be found in the warehouse and storage management operations. The bigger your business and product portfolio are the harder it will be to manage your supply without making human errors along the way.
Whether you work for an online eCommerce reseller or operate as a major supplier for a multitude of companies across the globe, managing your inventory is the quintessential part of your business. However, this process is nigh impossible without adequate machine learning and software assistance in regards to keeping tabs on available inventory, alerts about short supply, new shipping requests, etc.
Even the most skilled supply management specialists can only do so much without specialized software, machine learning AI and other automation assistance to help them out. It’s worth pointing out that even with supply chain automation present in your business structure, supply chain managers and other staff members should still double-check inventory numbers and make final decisions.
Supply Logistics – Robotic Solutions
Depending on the type of products and services you offer to your clients, you may benefit from integrating robotic supply management solutions into your operations. A great example of this practice can be found on Amazon, which is one of the most influential eCommerce platforms on the planet.
Robotic hardware which revolves around warehouse management, item handling and transportation in and around your warehouses is crucial for many shipping businesses. The reason behind this is simple – some materials and operations are simply too heavy, bulky or all-in-all difficult to manage for employees.
This is especially true when you factor in the possible workspace injuries and the risk of damaging the goods your clients have ordered to be delivered. Robotics can also be used in manufacturing facilities if your business operates on a scale larger than supply chain management, making the supply chain automation level even greater in the long run.
Supply Shipping – Driverless Vehicles
Lastly, supply chain management can become vastly more efficient with driverless vehicles on your premises. Driverless vehicles in supply chain management fill in the role of traditional forklifts and employees who would otherwise physically transport palettes and other stored items in and around your warehouses.
These vehicles can be programmed to fill in for a number of different roles, including cargo loading and unloading, warehouse item search (provided that items are barcoded) and lead to a drastic increase in turnaround times as a result. Going a step further, driverless vehicles will also be able to deliver small-scale orders to your clients, effectively bypassing third-party delivery services from the equation.
Supply chain automation in vehicles can also be beneficial due to a fluctuation in driver shortages which may or may not happen as the years go by. Should driverless vehicles be present in your management operations, this problem would effectively be eliminated (even though you will still need employees present as backup and assistance).
Transformative Supply Chain Automation (Conclusion)
It’s easy to look at the numerous implementations of supply chain automation in supply chain management and feel overwhelmed by the technological possibilities. However, their integration can have transformative effects for your company and lead to new business opportunities due to increased production capacities.
Do you have the first-hand experience with supply chain automation? Do you consider it a necessity or can it be mitigated by other technologies and management strategies? Let us know in the comments below.