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The Technologically Advanced Supply Chain

The modern supply chain has come a long way since the first bale of sugar was shipped from India to the US and then Rum to the rest of the world. The modern supply chain is now quite obviously much more sophisticated and integrated than ever in human history, and it is this supply chain that has had the most influence in the creation of a true global village. Yes, the world’s interconnectedness through media and the internet is the underpinning of the global village, but it is the transport networks and routes that make the virtual village a reality. As transport linkages improve, consumers can now get anything from pretty much anywhere and at any time. There are various aspects of this new and improved supply chain, and the most critical of these are discussed below.

Data collection at every stage

Supply chains can now generate big data, and the use of this big data to improve efficiencies is currently a major component of the modern supply chain. Every stage of a supply and demand chain is recorded, raw material usage can be monitored, fleet tracking solutions implemented, and the ongoing data generated is then available to analyze. For example, fuel consumption and more can be measured and recorded, whether it is the time spent in transportation or the delay between ordering and delivery. This data must then be analyzed and used to make improvements to the supply chain.

Machine learning and AI

Intelligent replenishment is no longer something to look forward to; it is here, now. Based on the data collected as aforementioned. Smart technology and artificial intelligence can be programmed to anticipate demand and effectively initiate supply or production. Buying online is the mainstay of many a producer, and demand online is in real-time and immediate. Not having stock or waiting for raw materials to produce required stock should be a thing of the past, and the appropriate use of machine learning and AI will serve to improve efficiencies.

Internet of things and seamless integration

As soon as big data is available and collected from the supply chain, it will be possible to integrate this knowledge with the Internet of Things (IoT). Being able to connect the physical devices that perform the measurement and tracking through the internet can now produce smart containers to monitor storage conditions of goods and improve quality management. The coding and tracking of goods and products using handheld scanners and tablets is transmitted across the supply chain and used for the authentication of these products or raw materials upon their arrival. This has been proven to reduce the risk of counterfeiting and lessen non-genuine parts or products finding their way to market.

Conclusion

What the supply chain looks like in 5 to 10 years is still somewhat of an open question. However, we do know that the available technology is advancing the supply chain faster than any other changes in the history of trade. The technologically advanced supply chain is here to stay, and if your business is not involved, it may be time to upgrade a few systems.

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