How the Pandemic Could Shape the Supply Chain’s Digital Future
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now more important than ever for supply chain and logistics management businesses to transition to digital operations. Digital logistics are far from simply being the wave of the future; they have the potential to elevate your current supply chain operations to otherwise unparalleled levels. There are a lot of important benefits to moving to a digital supply chain platform, not just in the age of COVID-19, but for the overall future of the logistics management industry.
Digital logistics means improved analytics, streamlined production processes, greater shipping, receiving, and warehousing efficiency, easier communication across various departments, and above all, opportunities to identify potential production delays and problems as soon as they happen.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider transitioning your supply chain to a digital logistics platform for the future.
Digital Transformation-Derived Flexibility
One of the main benefits of switching to a digital platform for your business’s supply chain is that it allows you to engage in a much more flexible method of tracking production processes, inventory, shipments, and customer deliveries. By streamlining these processes, you can also increase production and delivery efficiency significantly which allows you to better serve your customers and provide them with up-to-the-minute information as requested.
The supply chain is constantly bombarded with an endless barrage of previously unprecedented challenges including pandemic-induced border closures, diplomatic issues between countries, and even natural disasters. There’s no shortage of potential problems—both manmade and natural—that can prevent you from getting your products to their intended destinations. A digital platform gives you the advanced tools you need to not only educate yourself about these potential issues a lot faster, but to also streamline viable solutions for these problems and be better prepared for them in the future.
The Growth of Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)
As a direct result of this pandemic, the global economy will see an inimitable rise in mergers and acquisitions between companies. Small- and medium-sized businesses with moderate to large supply chains will inevitably struggle to survive the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic-driven closures and their aftermaths around the world. Of course, the extent of these closures varies largely based on each country’s individual response to the pandemic as well as the efficacy of those responses.
Many European and Asian countries are well on their way to getting things back to normal and slowly rebuilding their economies. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for North American countries like the United States, which is one of the largest product importers and exporters in the world.
Since there are strict restrictions on international trade and product imports and exports, it’s estimated that many small- and medium-sized businesses will be acquired by larger enterprises. In some cases this can be a good thing as it allows struggling logistics management teams to recoup some of their losses and move on to other endeavours. But it can also be a bad thing for some supply chain businesses because there are a lot of predatory companies that are looking to poach small companies with digital platforms for a minimal cost and a pandemic is the perfect opportunity for that.
If you plan on merging with another company or selling your business, there are a lot of potential gains provided that you make the right call. On the plus side, it can pay off to have a more experienced entity in charge of managing the more complex aspects of your business, which gives you the opportunity to focus more on the day-to-day operations.
How the Pandemic Has Impacted the Growth of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence has been on the rise in the supply chain industry for a number of decades. In fact, the presence of automated mechanisms used to streamline various processes is nothing new. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing and many workers wary about returning to their jobs, it makes sense that a lot of supply chain companies need to find innovative ways to fill in those gaps or else risk major financial losses.
Local grocery stores, discount stores, retail establishments, restaurants, and office supply depots all rely on fast, efficient supply chain operations to get their products out on the shelves, in warehouses, and in the hands of their customers. Production delays don’t just cost supply chains a lot of money; they also negatively impact the businesses that rely on timely product availability and deliveries. Otherwise, these businesses risk customer dissatisfaction and massive financial losses.
Integrating more artificially intelligent processes in the logistics management industry can help streamline production and delivery processes in a safe, health-conscious, and completely contactless way without completely eliminating the human element. Automation allows logistics workers and managements to still manage their operations from a safe distance using innovative and secure digital platforms and networks that are connected and can communicate with one another. COVID-19 may not have introduced the need for automation in the supply chain industry, but it has certainly perpetuated the notion that this is a much better way of doing things.
Increased Human and AI Interactions
It could be argued that COVID-19 is also changing the way that humans in the supply chain industry are interacting with artificially intelligent mechanisms. On a global level, automation and AI are taking on more of an active role in the logistics and supply chain industry. Human-based artificial intelligence is making big waves in the technological world and it’s especially important in light of urgent situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
What this means is that for the majority of the time, automated mechanisms will have full control over production line and supply chain outputs. However in times of emergency, human intervention and decision-making skills will take over and be implemented. This helps maintain a very strong humanistic element to an otherwise mostly automated process.
The Role of Lean Supply Solutions in Digital Logistics
Lean Supply Solutions is a privately owned corporation with a focus on providing innovative solutions for a large and diverse base of multinational, regional, and local companies. We also provide forward-looking end-to-end control logistics capabilities, customized technical services, IT solutions, 4PL, and consulting services by supporting major OEM assembly operations and tier-one facilities. To learn more about our digital logistics solutions, please feel free to contact us today!
- Published in Blog
SMB Proactive Tools to Mitigate Supply Risk
Over the past few months, supply chain leaders were faced with one of the biggest challenges in their careers. Industries across the globe were forced to reformulate their logistics management protocols in response to the financial, staffing, and resource shortages caused by the COVID-19 restrictions placed by various governments. The global economy suffered immense losses as international supply chains were either completely cut off or severely restricted—some are still enduring this issue.
Unsurprisingly, small- and medium-sized businesses have taken the biggest financial hit while big businesses and well-established brands are expected to survive this health and financial crisis for the most part.
Fortunately, there are certain tools that SMBs can use to help mitigate supply chain risks and navigate through these unprecedented times. If you work in the supply chain and logistics managements industry and are treading through rough waters due to the pandemic, here are some tools you can use to help get your business back on track.
Invest in Supply Performance Software
Reliable cloud-based supply performance software is an absolute must for all supply chain and logistics management operations regardless of size. This software is designed to help you mitigate risk in times of prosperity and economic downturns alike. As the name suggests, supply performance software provides supply chain businesses with a reliable digital platform to access information, promptly communicate with employees, and offer data-driven insights as needed.
This software is an extremely valuable investment for supply chain businesses in the best and worst of times because it helps you track inventory, follow active shipments, and monitor delivery statuses even when severe restrictions are in place.
Supply chain performance software provides you with detailed up-to-the-minute analytics regarding your logistics management operations. Important metrics to make note of include:
- Product and service quality control
- Cost of shipping, receiving, and storing inventory
- Delivery and service requirements
- Special requests made by customers
With this type of technology in your arsenal, you’ll always know the whereabouts of various shipments and whether there are impending delays. This information allows you to communicate with your customers and provide them with updates in the event that there’s any kind of holdup for any reason.
Boost Security Measures
Supply chains in general are extremely easy targets for online criminal activity. Oftentimes, their online security systems are vulnerable and poorly managed. Hackers bank on the fact that logistics management companies will neglect to update their network security measures and use this vulnerability as an opportunity to intercept data sharing applications.
In fact, supply chain databases are a goldmine for online identity thieves. For that reason, you need to always be on top of your cybersecurity game, especially in times of economic disparity such as the COVID-19 pandemic. As people become increasingly desperate to supplement their loss of income, they’ll stop at nothing to make a quick buck even if that means stealing someone else’s hard-earned livelihood.
As the surplus in demand continues to grow and supply of products dwindles, it’s never been more important to protect your assets and prevent hackers from infiltrating your online networks. Hiring a managed network service can help you mitigate the risks of hackers breaking into your system and stealing valuable logistics management information. They’ll frequently patch network failures, update your virtual systems, and implement strong security measures to keep your business’s confidential information safe from hackers.
Use Technology-Enabled Services
Times of severe economic downturn can lead to severe job loss and insecurity. Unfortunately, the supply chain industry is far from immune to this phenomenon. Even before the pandemic, the industry was swiftly moving in the direction of automation. Now, that advancement is a life saver for a lot of logistics management operations.
Automating inventory and product movement is a lot more cost-effective than hiring, training, and paying a full team of employees to do the same jobs that can easily be done by technology-enabled services at a fraction of the cost. Technology-enabled services like automation can help supply chain companies save money in a number of ways, including:
- Reducing or eliminating the cost of hiring and training new employees
- Reducing the square footage of warehouses and shipping facilities
- Increasing product output versus input
- Focusing more on improving product quality and service efficiency
While it’s always preferable to hire more production line and warehouse workers, the reality is that an increasing amount of these positions have been moving toward automation for decades. On the plus side, that allows supply chain operators to expand their services and create new types of positions that are better suited by human experience and knowledge. Most notably, technology-enabled services allow supply chain owners to expand their operations to external services such as making deliveries, customer service, and overseeing product and service quality control.
Managing Technology-Enabled Services to Increase Efficiency
Along the same wavelength, installing automated applications within your supply chain operations has been proven to increase production efficiency. Due to supply shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, indirect supply risks for items like toilet paper, paper towels, office supplies, disinfectants, etc. are at an all-time high.
Professionally managed technology-enabled services can help mitigate these risks and the inevitable costs that are associated with them by immediately alerting supply chain operators to potential supply issues. The faster you’re made aware of situations like this, the faster you can work toward finding and implementing the appropriate solutions.
Moreover, the instant you become aware of the nature of the problem and what caused it, the better prepared you’ll be for similar issues in the future.
Pushing through the Recession Period
Regardless of industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the way we all do business. At Lean Supply Solutions, we’re committed to providing you with innovative and proven logistics management solutions that are geared toward expanding your operations on a regional, national, and international level. Using a unique blend of processes, world-class quality systems, and cutting-edge IT systems, we provide quantifiable value for our clients all over the world. Contact us today to learn how we can help you get through these hard times.
- Published in Blog