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Levelling up with technology in supply chain

Over the past year, we have seen many businesses shelve supply chain projects and ideas due to obvious reasons however one area that has managed to avoid the dusty heights of storage is technology.

Of course, Technology is a broad term however it is noticeable that there have been some significant developments in the implementation of tech that have allowed some businesses to weather the storm but more importantly, literally reap the rewards.

Drones are more than just cameras

For several businesses in the region, the monitoring of acres of crops, farmland and even aquacultures have been continuously developing with the inclusion of satellite and remote sensing but nothing beats a visual – enter the drone. Fleets of drones can now be programmed to fly over acres of land allowing live observation and supervision of precious produce. This is only one of the applications, drones can now be designed for planting and seed applications, spray treatments and fertilization and there are even developments into drone pollination and irrigation.

Utilising the data from technology

Covid-19 has taught us many things but one that has caught the eye of the data gurus has been consumer behaviour. Analytics around consumer behaviour and data has taken a leap toward being more than just a great story to tell at the latest supply chain networking event. Global businesses are now utilizing the vast amounts of data they have which will, with hope, link up with smart(er) warehouses and even autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to manage supply and demand to single unit figures. Whilst we are still a little way away from AI taking over, this is a huge opportunity to take advantage of the vast amounts of data businesses already hold.

Really real-time tracking

Smart technology has allowed tracking to become even more accurate however we are almost at a stage where using geo-location tagging can mean businesses can increase efficiency to the max. Obvious advantages are knowing where goods are in real-time, but it also helps to eliminate losses through operation errors, avoid delays, and even prevent theft. Geofences can mean instant alerts can be sent via a dedicated platform to notify the recipient a product has entered or exited a pre-defined area. Embracing this fully can optimize supply chains to gain a competitive edge over those who are unable or unwilling to invest in the latest tracking tech and it can mean the difference between winning and losing a tender.

Changing dimension

3D printing may not have had the instant impact on the supply chain world as others, and some go as far as saying it’s nothing more than a gimmick, but there are already businesses who can see the advantages and are investing heavily. For some, this allows a whole new phase of build-to-order strategy with some already creating apps for consumers to create and design their own products ranging from toys to building materials to medical devices.

This may mean companies are encouraged or even forced to rethink their value proposition, why buy factory when you can get built-to-order in the exact specifications you need? Again, not an overnight change but certainly a technology that is easily overlooked but changing the shape of manufacturing and production.

This article was originally published with our December 2020 edition of our Proco Thinking News, read the full newsletter here.

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