Technological innovations such as AI, cloud computing, blockchain, and big data analytics have been rapidly changing the outlook for many industries. Such technologies have had a significant effect on the supply chain industry as well. Such technologies are so powerful that it has been able to keep pace with the rapidly increasing consumer demands and in some cases, create a demand as well. Additionally, the rise of e-commerce alongside an increase in purchasing power has driven the volume of business supply chain usually handles. With such fast-paced evolution of the digital consumerism and logistics models, supply chains trends are dynamically changing. Here are some of the supply chain trends that are expected to gain traction in the coming year.
Perfect Order Deliveries
Perfect orders are the key metrics to measure customer satisfaction. So how perfect is the perfect order? The perfect order is an index that is compiled by measuring the four aspects of an order including:
- On-time deliveries (percentage of orders arriving at final destination at an agreed upon time between the shipper and the customer)
- Shipped complete (percentage of orders shipped with all units and lines)
- Damage free shipping (percentage of customer order that is delivered in good and usable condition)
- Correct documentation (percentage of total orders for which customers received accurate invoice and all other required documentation)
Recent surveys have concluded that only 84% of all orders can be termed as perfect order, which is deemed low as shippers will have to incur additional cost to rectify wrong orders. Companies are trying to reduce this loss with the help of technology like RFID, barcodes, and IoT to achieve the perfect order mark.
Demand for Data-driven Logistics
Technological logistics startups and other companies have resorted to using data-driven technologies such as IoT, sensor technologies, RFID, big data, analytics, and machine learning algorithms to handle real-time unstructured data. Such data-driven technology largely assists in demand and warehouse forecasting and also proactively sends out an alert when certain conditions are triggered. Additionally, such technologies will also increase process efficiency and shorten the delivery times.
Emergence of Elastic Logistics
Elastic logistics is a concept which enables a supply chain to flexibly expand or shrink their capabilities in order to align with internal and external demands at a given timeframe. With the advent of AI, businesses are being able to redesign their operations to provide flexibility to its logistics functions by anticipating demands and managing operations accordingly. Other factor contributing to the concept of elastic logistics is flexible automation solutions that can efficiently respond to market fluctuations.
Increasing Adoption of Drones and Augmented Reality (AR)
Drone deliveries are not something new with Amazon Prime Air already working on such models. Drone technology coupled with powerful processors and cameras can find optimized routes and make error-free deliveries with face recognition feature. The AR technology also helps supply chain companies to instantly get product information so they can process the orders at a faster rate. It can also eliminate the process of manually scanning the barcodes, as AR can directly project all vital product information on an employee’s line of sight.
AI and Blockchain
AI technology has been used by some innovative companies to increase their supply chain efficiency. In 2018, the adoption of AI systems in logistics and supply chain management is expected to grow at a significant rate. Additionally, blockchain technology can improve the security measures along with providing much-needed transparency in the supply chain. Blockchain technology can provide identity proof of individual customers and verify every orders and transaction taking place. It also improves the traceability of the product with a faulty part in any product can easily be traced back to its origin.
For more information on trends in supply chain, AI, blockchain, elastic logistics, drone deliveries, data-driven logistics, AR, and perfect order deliveries: