digital Archives - Total Supply Chain Summit | Forum Events Ltd

Total Supply Chain Summit | Forum Events Ltd Total Supply Chain Summit | Forum Events Ltd Total Supply Chain Summit | Forum Events Ltd Total Supply Chain Summit | Forum Events Ltd Total Supply Chain Summit | Forum Events Ltd

Posts Tagged :


Why digitising supply chains can help pay for itself

By Derek Bryan, VP EMEA, Verizon Connect

For some businesses, digital transformation represents an opportunity to improve how it operates and connects with partners and customers; for others, it can seem like a headache with a considerable price tag attached. 

While it’s true that any change requires careful planning, those in the ‘loathe camp’ may be overlooking the benefits and considerable return-on-investment (ROI) digital transformation can generate, especially across supply chains. 

Opening the door for automation

Most supply chain managers are time poor and have many plates spinning at the same time. Digitising the supply chain can open the door for automating administrative tasks, freeing up time to improve operational performance. For example, it can help to check for human error or flawed data input throughout the supply chain, assist with job allocation, automatically update clients or supply chain partners on the status of jobs, and simplify compliance processes. 

Automation is often labelled as a threat to job security, particularly those which involve physical labour as is commonly found in supply chain-based occupations. This is far from reality for two reasons: first, the technology required to carry out all the tasks required of a human worker is either too expensive or too sophisticated to be economically viable for businesses; second, automation tends to impact time-consuming, repetitive tasks such as reporting, job allocation and scheduling. This means that workers and supply chain managers are empowered to focus more of their time on value-add tasks while the admin gets taken care of. 

Channelling value back to the customer

At its core, digital transformation has the imperative to make everything centred around meeting the needs of customers. While digital tools have enabled new service offerings to customers, the supply chains they rely on have become increasingly intricate. Not only do supply chain managers contend with more complex networks of stakeholders, they must also operate within narrower time frames due to rising customer expectations.

Most organisations already have the tools required to fulfil customer orders on time, such as route-planning, GPS tracking and live traffic updates. At the very least, customers expect to be kept regularly updated on the status of deliveries or engineers, especially when it comes to delays.

With the right digital tools at hand, such as an integrated software platform that automatically tracks the status of jobs and processes, organisations can enhance both the quantity and quality of customer touchpoints either online or via mobile applications – literally putting delivery information in the palm of the customer’s hand.  

This also helps notify managers when mobile workers have completed a job, validate the condition of their cargo, and create or reassign jobs in near real-time, based on which worker is most suitable for each delivery or job. Not only does this mean workers are able to complete every aspect of their job without disruption, but supply chain managers obtain a clearer view of whether their mobile workforce is operating effectively, and on time.

Unexpected benefits

A digital supply chain can bring unexpected benefits too. The issue of vehicles being empty on their return journey is a challenge for lots of companies. Aside from the sunk fuel and worker costs, the shortage of drivers currently being faced in the UK makes it even more difficult for supply chain managers to reliably get goods to where they need to be, when they need to be there. 

Enabling the integration of vehicle tracking systems with intelligent software platforms to provide updates on available freight capacity in near real-time, means businesses are able to fill empty vehicles on their return journeys by identifying their live locations and offering the capacity to companies looking to move goods to destinations on route. This means that assets can be utilised, helping to reduce empty miles and emissions, increase productivity, and making transport operations more cost efficient. 

The future is software-defined

Digital tools don’t just sit on top of existing structures, they create a platform upon which supply chains are orchestrated. In an age where just about anything can be digitised, organisations can use this to identify operational inefficiencies in the supply chain and open up new revenue streams. Not only that, the inherent flexibility of software-defined supply chains gives businesses the chance to do this continuously and easily scale their products and services to meet changing demands.

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.

Nestlé and XPO Logistics building ‘digital warehouse of the future’

Nestlé and XPO Logistics are co-creating a 638,000-square-foot distribution centre at the new SEGRO East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park in Leicestershire.

The facility, described as a ‘digital warehouse of the future’, will be occupied predominantly by Nestlé for its consumer packaged goods and will function as a testbed environment for XPO technology prototypes prior to global release.

The custom-designed distribution centre, scheduled to complete in 2020, will feature advanced sorting systems and robotics alongside state-of-the-art automation co-developed with Swisslog Logistics Automation.

Nestlé says the site’s digital ecosystem will integrate predictive data and intelligent machines to deliver one of the most advanced distribution management centres in the world, handling KitKat, Maggi, Nescafé and other brands.

The facility will be located in the Midlands to benefit from direct access to the M1 motorway for road transport, the East Midlands Airport for cargo flights, and an onsite rail freight terminal with direct access to the major UK ports of Southampton, Felixstowe, London Gateway and the Channel Tunnel.

The facility will be sited on man-made plateaus, with landscaping to minimise the visual impact to nearby settlements. Additional sustainability measures include energy-saving LED lighting, environmentally friendly ammonia refrigeration, air source heat pumps for administration areas and rainwater harvesting.

Nestlé Director of Supply Chain David Hix said: “We are thrilled to be working with XPO Logistics to build a flagship digital warehouse and technology laboratory at the East Midlands Gateway Logistics Park. This is a world-first investment for Nestlé that builds on a century and a half of proud history in this country. Our partnership with XPO will encourage innovation and experimentation in our UK logistics operations and help futureproof our business. We will be able to be even more responsive for our customers across our brands, which include some of the most recognisable in the world.”

Richard Cawston, Managing Director, Supply Chain, XPO Logistics Europe, said: “Nestlé has entrusted XPO with the digital architecture for its future vision. Together, we will create limitless opportunities to explore new technologies in a state-of-the-art logistics environment. The new East Midlands centre will operate as both a think tank and a launch pad for XPO innovations, with far-reaching impacts on the way business is done. We look forward to an inventive collaboration with Nestlé.”

Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, said: “This is excellent news for North West Leicestershire and the wider East Midlands economy. That two global giants – Nestlé and XPO – should choose to locate their new state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable facility here shows that this region is a great place for businesses to invest. It’s very positive for the development of our local economy.”