Supply chains are a vital part of any business operation. They exist as a lifeline that determines when products, goods, and services are able to be delivered to their intended audiences. The process of managing a supply chain requires coordination and expertise between various parts of an organization, as well as its partners. In this vein, supply chain visibility provides an invaluable resource to organizations and their management. The capacity to observe and regulate the production process gives companies room for improvement while also highlighting the parts that require improvement. During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, the importance of good supply chains became more vital than ever. With the need to quickly shift business operations to a new model while also considering the potential threats of disease, optimizing the supply chain becomes a vital key to success. Most leaders are currently deeply engaged in examining the weakest parts of their supply chains and finding ways to reinforce them. In order to adhere to schedule, produce high-quality products and give customers consistent goods, the process of improving supply chains is vital. Thankfully, with the development of new technology and smart applications, the possibility of reinforcing supply chains and increasing their visibility becomes easier. This work will discuss some of the emerging technologies in the field of business organization, aiming to display the importance of supply chain optimization and the integration of smart technology into the corporate structure.
Disruption to Visibility of Customer-Driven Supply Chains
Visibility, as stated previously, is one of the most important parts of production and supply chain organization. In order to ensure that supply chains proceed without disruptions, it is necessary to encourage visibility on all steps of the process. Digital intervention and analytics are being actively invested in for the purposes of promoting end-to-end visibility (Sanders, 2021). In previous decades, it was possible to monitor supply chains through their vital links, but with the development of technology, the ability to witness even the most incremental parts of the process becomes available (Sanders, 2021). Through end-to-end monitoring, the effects of demand changes, corporate decisions, or global trends become directly visible in their influence on supply chains. Increased and more cohesive visibility gives companies opportunities to better fulfill their professional obligations before their investors and customers (The importance of supply chain visibility 2021). There are a number of key technological innovations that are able to improve visibility and bring significant disruption to the field of business management. Specific software, such as Quickbase, is said to be able to improve supply chain visibility significantly (The importance of supply chain visibility 2021). Offering a customizable interface to perform planning, convenient access to supplier data, elimination of secondary systems, and other organizational solutions.
In terms of advancing practice, more companies are coming to adapt various types of analytics into their process. Depending on the industry, as many as 75% of examined companies plan to invest more in analytics after the start of the COVID-19 crisis (Alicke, Barriball, & Trautwein, 2022). Smart technology, aside from analytics, becomes the key component to promoting better visibility (Alicke et al., 2022). The use of cloud-based applications with flexible environments, IoT, and other similar technologies give organizations an opportunity to promote feedback on all parts of the production chain (Banker, n.d.). As discussed in an article regarding the integration of new technology into the supply chain and delivery processes, many technologies that are able to enhance organizations are already available but severely underutilized (Banker, n.d.). In cargo delivery, especially by sea, the tracking process lacks real-time tracking technology and many other amenities air travel or ground-based transportation may provide (Banker, n.d.) The use of AIS and the Internet of Things has a high potential to let interested parties track ships, which would significantly improve the convenience and understanding of this supply chain link.
Artificial Intelligence In Supply Chain Management
Present-day organizations significantly benefit from introducing AI to the tasks attributed to the supply chain, which is also advantageous for targetting new purchases to individuals. This instrument’s potential in the area in terms of management can be explained by its positive effects on operations’ timings and efficiency (Jacobs, 2021). For example, the adoption of AI-based solutions for this objective can adequately address the growing complexity of business activity while being used for analyzing “deep-rooted inefficiencies and uncertainties” (Jacobs, 2021). This aim seems crucial for guaranteeing that demand is met and clients are satisfied with the products they receive. In other words, AI in this field is an invaluable solution for ensuring that customer feedback is not neglected and issues are resolved promptly.
In addition, AI substantially improves end-to-end visibility, which means that automatized platforms adopted by organizations have the possibility to make drastic changes as effortlessly as possible. Currently, they already benefit from the facilitated process of data harvesting for business goals, whereas their clients eventually receive services of better quality in the context of greater convenience (Jacobs, 2021). Moreover, the informed suggestions on further innovations in supply chain management made by AI contribute to the opportunity to keep the information up-to-date and, therefore, useful for analysis at any time when needed (Jacobs, 2021). Thus, one might claim that businesses eliminate emerging problems faster and make predictions, determining demand and customer satisfaction with greater precision.
In conclusion, the introduction of new technology in the supply chain has a lot of potentials to improve businesses. With the effects of the recent pandemic severely changing the way most organizations lead their operation, communicate and manage resources, the application of various types of technology has become more vital than ever. Visibility stands as one of the most vital parts of supply chain optimization, being responsible for the capacity of an organization to do their business according to schedule and answer the demand. Digital technologies are being actively adopted in order to ensure end-to-end visibility, while most companies also invest in analytics. Analytics, while having a relatively different rate of application, is being widely considered as the necessary component to change. Other technologies, such as the Internet of Things, are also regarded as being vital in improving supply chains. IOT inclusion has the capacity to improve tracking throughout the delivery process, opening up avenues for different types of data tracking. For some types of delivery, the adoption of further tracking and management technology becomes an apparent necessity to advance. In addition, artificial intelligence shows a lot of promise in helping businesses make better decisions. It can improve communication between workers and organizations, make smart suggestions and predict possible future trends. However, it is important to remember that, despite advancements in technology, human control is the primary and necessary part of supply chain optimization. Technology can serve as a way of improving the process, but it also has the capacity to make wrong predictions and reach unforeseen conclusions. Therefore, a rigorous and careful examination from employees of companies is always a necessity.
Alicke, K., Barriball, E., & Trautwein, V. (2022). How Covid-19 is reshaping supply chains. McKinsey&Company. Web.
Banker, S. (n.d.). Supply chain visibility seeing new technology investments towards end-to-end visibility. ARC. Web.
Jacobs, T. (2021). Artificial intelligence in supply chain and logistics. ThroughPut. Web.
Sanders, R. (2021). End-to-end visibility in supply chain: EY – US. EY – Ernst&Young. Web.
The importance of supply chain visibility. (2021). Web.