The Covid-19 pandemic has created a huge disruption in the global supply chain with several companies failing to keep themselves afloat in the market. Many SMEs are struggling to run their businesses because the sales from vendors are no longer reliable. Although some industries like food, agriculture and hardware have overcome the situation comparatively well, it is high time to redesign the supply chain to make it more robust and resilient in future.
We need to keep an eye on customer-driven data and advanced technology. Consumers want to get a personalised experience and are hoping if not downright preferring to have that experience online. Technology enables doctors to remotely see, diagnose and treat patients from the comfort of their home. Life science companies are moving away from conventional door-to-door sales strategies by installing an automated sales force.
There are many methods and technology solutions that can be used to provide supply chains with better transparency. This allows real-time decision making and flexibility, which is likely to be crucial for how businesses in the future track and respond to changes in consumer behaviour as well as fluctuations in the supply chain.
Advanced monitoring and tracking systems allow real-time tracking and immediate asset and inventory positioning analyses. This enables businesses to gauge the planned freight routes or climate control of their shipments with the monitoring technology offering independent verifications of time, position and control measurements. This allows the rationalisation and optimisation of fleets to increase profitability.
Since the last decade, supply chains have become more agile, integrated and data-driven. The complexities of this system lead to operational risk, obstacles and opportunities for fraud and safety issues. Currently, many businesses implement blockchain technology to ensure the transparency and security of their products as it moves across regional and international borders. The products often flow through a lot of procedures and intermediaries. Each product is registered in the blockchain system creating a permanent history of the product from its manufacturing to sale. This significantly reduces disruptions, mistakes and operational costs. Furthermore, it will create better transparency in the supply chain process.
Supply chain risk mitigation is based on historical data and highlights. New predictive models are likely to help decision-making and action rather than reaction. The usage of more resources and time is not effective when a customer is already disappointed about not getting their products on time. Many leading supply chain managers are using data analytics, machine learning and other advanced technologies that forecast future supply chain challenges like pandemics and environmental or geopolitical crises. This will assist companies with their strategic, production, inventory planning as well as provide effective risk management.
Investment in cognitive decision centres (CDC) can assist in the visualisation of the overall function of the supply chain. In the future, artificial intelligence may be used to collect and analyse cross-functional data that will enable decision-makers to identify the root cause of the disruption.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.