One of the ongoing goals in supply chain management is to improve speed and accuracy while also keeping costs low. The ever-growing role of technology in supply chain services offers many real and upcoming advantages in this area, from enhancing logistics in manufacturing to speeding up pick-and-pack to reducing errors and so much more. Here are just a few of the ways in which tech is making operations smarter, sleeker, and streamlined.
Mobile Technology Keeps the Supply Chain Moving
Smartphones and tablets allow managers and workers across the entire supply chain stay up to date and informed in real time. Specialized barcode scanning apps can be synched to your warehouse management system to reduce the need for bulkier devices, and the constant access to real-time inventory status reduces the need for running back and forth to terminals. Wearables, like Fitbits, can contribute by monitoring signs of physical stress or exhaustion so managers know when someone needs to be tagged out for a break. When looking for ways to make things more efficient, a humble pedometer can let you find out which paths through the warehouse take the fewest steps as well as what other methods can minimize excess motion.
Rising Wages Drive Automation
There is an ongoing push for a higher minimum wage in certain sectors. If your warehouse or distribution centre becomes negatively affected by this, you may not have the option to change locations. Finding a new site is one matter, but finding one without higher wages that also has the same transportation infrastructure and shipping access is another. Instead, many warehouse operations will opt for increased automation once the efficiency calculation starts tilting in their favour.
Get Good Data and Solid Analytics
You can’t improve without knowing what needs improving, and this starts with measurements and analytics. Whether you focus on tracking returns on investments (ROI), fulfillment errors, traffic flow, shipment delays from customs or supplier problems, or anything else is up to you. The important thing is that your data is solid, reliable, and that you have the means of crunching the numbers to find out what might need improvement and where. These same data collection and analytic methods can then be used to assess possible improvements.
Use Shipment Trackers
A unified, online platform that can track shipment progress has several advantages that anyone interested in enhanced supply chain services will want to consider. First, it lets managers keep an eye on the flow of goods in and out of the warehouse and lets anyone involved in delivery be on the watch for common days or areas for improvement. Second, you can better serve customers by keeping them apprised of the statuses of their orders. You may be familiar with how some shippers let customers log in to a site and monitor the progress of their deliveries in real-time—this is exactly the sort of enhancement that web platforms and trackers can provide.
Use the Cloud to Bridge Services
The cloud is an online storage medium that can store files and data and allow it to be accessed by any connected device. Cloud storage removes the need for focusing efforts and data collection on a handful of computers or other devices and allows supply chain operations network together. This has particular use for managers, who can keep important project documentation on hand regardless of where they are.
Use Technology to Enhance Supply Chains with Lean Supply Solutions
Lean Supply Solutions is a third-party logistics (3PL) fulfillment company whose operations are based around the Lean Methodology, a proven philosophy focused on eliminating any operations, equipment, or resources that are not capable of adding value to clients’ supply chains. By striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, predictable, and quality results. To learn more about the Lean Methodology, outsourcing to Lean Supply Solutions, or to ask any questions, give us a call at 905-482-2590.