The supply chain operations worldwide have been disrupted because of the unprecedented times caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some experts predict that it may get even worse before we experience improvement.
This rapid spread of the virus led to shutdowns in many industries while consumers shifted their spending away from travel, dining, and in-person entertainment to online shopping and home-based entertainment.
However, as the lockdown is gradually being lifted the consumer demand has suddenly skyrocketed.
The irony is, although things appear to be returning to normal, the supply chains that were disrupted during the global health crisis are still facing challenges and are struggling to bounce back. As a result, companies experience tough times to meet consumer expectations.
- 40% of companies underwent shortages and out-of-stocks situations.
- 56% are forced to renegotiate contracts.
- 68% tried to find alternative sourcing options however many remain unsuccessful.
- 5% stopped operation.
The pandemic has emerged to be a stumbling block that most consumer brands are not accustomed to seeing.
- Lead time has become unreliable; the consistent metrics of the supply chain no longer apply.
- Delay in delivery is a common phenomenon.
- Cash is flowing like an unstoppable water stream due to the increase in freight prices and delivery costs.
- Managing and tracking data is a nightmare for many logistics companies.
- Accountability and compliance are at stake.
- Quality control and defect management are under pressure.
Despite all these negativities, businesses are striving to implement strategies to overcome these challenges. Companies now switch to technology and process improvement. Alongside, they are emphasizing more on client servicing and driving improvements in the customer journey.
As consumer bases continue to grow at rapid rates, supply chains should adapt to larger, more complex methods of product transportation. To make it happen, the operational processes need to be agile which will quickly conform to the changing requirements.
Thus, it is high time to implement smart mechanisms within the supply chain ecosystem.
Also Read: Why Workflow Automation Is Imperative For Your Business
Multichannel Support to Communicate with Clients
A supply chain department should have the ability to source inquiries coming in from various channels like email, text, chat, phone, etc. It is essential to stay connected, manage all your service requests from a single unified interface, and match the best channel for the task. The idea is to make the order and fulfillment processes easier for customers. In other words, meet your customer where they are most comfortable.
Bringing Artificial Intelligence into Action
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are already transforming the supply chain. These advanced technologies drive visibility into all aspects of the supply chain by eliminating deep-rooted inefficiencies or uncertainties. AI helps to apply methodologies that humans simply cannot match at scale. AI also optimizes the capabilities required for more accurate capacity planning, enhanced efficiency, higher quality, lower costs, and increased output, while improving the working conditions.
Automation in the Supply Chain
Supply chains are based on process-oriented tasks where automation plays a key role. Automation essentially comprises recognizing and automating routine processes, which are often time-consuming.
Manual paperwork, production, inventory, shipping, and more – all of which can be automated. It improves productivity as well as boosts the overall efficiency of the service team. In a way, it minimizes the workload from the employees; helps companies to bring down costs without hampering productivity.
Back-office: Various documents are used in the supply chain that includes delivery orders, bills of lading, maritime waybills, and so on. Supply chain teams process these documents on a regular basis which is a time-consuming and manual procedure that prevents companies from achieving operational efficiency.
Using appropriate technology, you may automate end-to-end documentation processes that involve tasks like data capture and the context. Team members can share information more quickly across departments ensuring the operational process occurs in an efficient manner.
Transportation: Automation backed by AI can also be instrumental in transportation. AI assists in real-time tracking of the trucks, products in transit, and flags potential delays. It allows you to optimize the transfer of resources and products throughout the supply chain by lowering costs and speeding up delivery.
Also, a trending topic is Route Optimization. It’s a process to find the best route to ship and deliver a package from the manufacturing unit to the end-users as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
Key Benefits of Using Technology in the Supply Chain:
- Optimize operational efficiency
- Reduce cost
- Minimize human errors
- Increase speed and on-time deliveries
- Maximize productivity
- Measure performance in real-time
The goal of good supply chain management is to increase revenues by improving customer satisfaction and lowering operating costs. By using the right technology, you can certainly achieve your business goals, and be the winner during these unprecedented times!