Unlike yesteryears, today new-age technologies like AI, Analytics, and Blockchain have accelerated the innovation in the logistics industry, particularly strengthening intelligent supply chain management. Such systems are capable of operationalizing data lakes to empower better decisions.
The amalgamation of AI tools with deeper analytical processing and blockchain advents caters to a platform for the better, efficient and intelligent supply chain management.
AI for Supply Chain
Regulating its promise to disrupt every industry for better, AI is transforming supply chain management as well. The technology has a number of applications in the supply chain which include extraction of information, analysis of data, planning for supply and demand, and better management for autonomous vehicles and warehouses. AI-enabled NLP scans through the supply chain documents like contracts, purchase orders, chat logs with customers or suppliers and significant others to identify commonalities which are used as feedback to optimize SCM as part of continual improvement.
ML helps people manage the flow of goods throughout the supply chain while ensuring that raw materials and products are in the right place at the right time. Also, technology can source and process data from different areas and forecast future demand based on external factors.
And most importantly, AI helps analyze warehouse processes and optimize the sending, receiving, storing, picking and management of individual products. In terms of autonomous vehicle management, while optimizing warehouse operations, AI powers autonomous vehicles within distribution centers.
Analytics for Supply Chain
According to a market report, the Supply Chain Big Data Analytics Market is expected to register a CAGR of over 17.31 percent during the forecast period 2019 – 2024. The growth is owing to the advancements in information technology that are enabling firms to access, store, and process a massive amount of data.
As quoted by Deloitte, analytics, particularly predictive analytics helps transform data into real-time insights. Using the insights created by analytics solutions firms can use historical enterprise data to feed predictive models that support more informed decisions; identify hidden inefficiencies to capture greater cost savings; use risk modeling to conduct “post-mortems” around significant investments and decisions; and link supply chain models to customer and pricing analytics to clarify the whole profitability picture, not just the parts and pieces.
According to Capgemini Analytics, “Supply Chain Analytics brings data-driven intelligence to your business, reducing the overall cost to serve and improving service levels.”
Blockchain for Supply Chain
As the logistics industry is facing a lack of transparency across supply chains, the blockchain serves with an opportunity to transform the supply chain and the industry as a whole. It can enhance the efficiency and transparency of supply chains and positively influence everything including warehouse, delivery and payment systems. Blockchain helps record the quantity and transfer of products as they change hands between supply chain nodes. The technology can also enable tracking the change orders, buy orders, shipment notifications, trade documents and receipts from the blockchain ledger. Specifically, bitcoin can align well with basic needs for reliability and integrity in a supply chain.
As suggested by Rob O’Byrne, Founder of the Logistics Bureau, “in-depth transformation of supply chains will not happen overnight. However, supply chains can already start using blockchain in some areas of their operations. Smart contracts can help eliminate costly delays and waste generated by manual handling of paperwork. From there, new doors may open to faster, more intelligent, and more secure processes throughout the entire supply chain.”