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Embracing digital to mitigate supply chain disruption

By Ronald Kleijwegt, VP Global Sales & Managing Director EMEA, Blume Global 

We live in a world where disruption is inevitable – and its vital that supply chain organisations are prepared. However, many supply chain managers cite a lack of visibility into supply chain operations as a main hurdle in mitigating disruptions. Hidden areas within the supply chain create unnecessary instability within service delivery and have a huge impact on customer experiences, while increasing costs. 

Better visibility into supply chain networks is foundational to supply chain transformation, but visibility without actionable insights can only go so far. Supply chain managers need to focus on solutions that provide simple suggestions and let the user act, not just show status and issues. 

These solutions allow companies to successfully connect suppliers and logistics service providers (LSPs), monitor assets, shipments, alerts etc., and respond effectively when issues arise. As a result, operational, customer service, and financial benefits can also be realized across the supply chain. Here’s a closer look at the key digital technologies supply chain organisations need to embrace to mitigate risk from disruption.

Improving risk management with predictive and prescriptive analytics

Predictive and prescriptive analytics can equip companies with a strong competitive advantage, along with heightened control over every aspect of their supply chains. Without a crystal ball to predict disasters and unknown variables, companies need strategies and tools to help avoid disruptions. The advanced capabilities of predictive and prescriptive analytics can serve as a guiding light for the supply chain, analysing environmental factors such as weather events and using data to inform decisions, predict, prepare, plan and advise. This insight helps improve risk management and mitigation planning in the supply chain.

Optimizing supply chains with AI & Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an important role in optimising the modern supply chain, and in our advancing field, business leaders who aren’t already implementing AI run the risk of falling behind and will struggle to maintain, or obtain, a competitive edge. 

But implementing AI will take much more than slapping a machine learning overlay atop a transportation management system (TMS). Supply chain leaders who are just getting started with AI implementation can begin by identifying their operational challenges and prioritizing them. Is the most pressing challenge getting goods from point A to point B in a timely manner? Is it predicting the required quantities of goods six months in advance? Once supply chain leaders know where they need to first direct their attention, they can apply the best data to coming up with a solution.

Identifying goods delayed in transit with IoT

Connected devices and IoT-enabled solutions are giving us more data than ever to make better decisions — connecting the legs of the supply chain path while simplifying information exchange. To improve the flow of products and information from point A to point B, shippers are adding sensors on almost everything, not just the most expensive equipment.

IoT devices help address some of the inefficiencies inherent to visibility challenges. They can be attached to vehicles, and most any asset including storage containers or goods, and provide a continuous update of their location. Access to this live location data, plus data from other outside sources, enables organizations to track their deliveries with real-time shipment visibility, providing insights into first- and last-mile pickups, delivery milestones and shipment status across all modes.

Intelligent supply chain management solutions give companies granular visibility and agility throughout the shipping process to help suppliers meet demand and improve supply chain performance, resilience and agility. Having the visibility and data is important but the ability to act and execute based on that data is even more so. The bottom line is that an intelligent, digitized supply chain is critical to keeping up with ever-increasing demand and maintaining a high level of customer service.