BY AMIT MITTAL, Business Coach, Consulting & Advisory
Who in the world had thought back in Feb 2020 that the global economy will face such an economic crisis that will impact all businesses? Yes, COVID-19 has created an uncertain environment and we need to redefine our business strategies going forward. Post COVID-19 ERA will witness the survival of the fittest. Global Sourcing and International Supply Chain has to evolve and embrace the latest technology remain in the business and sail through rough seas.
The innovative approach which is pertinent to smoothen the supply chain in which the organizations have learnt hard way about the role of integrated and well the managed supply chain for the success of the business to make it agile and flexible in the post-COVID era. Few pointers related to the latest development in supply chain technology which we all should start working on:
1. Digitization: – To integrate corporate systems with robust supply chain applications to bring transparency and make the system responsive. Digitalization will aid in eliminating the manual process, make warehouses paperless and help in quicker decision making
2. Cloud: The Future of the supply chain is on how quickly we move on the cloud to have scalability, flexibility, and global reach. Cloud-based supply chain application is the answer to expensive computing infrastructure.
3. Omnichannel: As the world is moving towards omnichannel sales and marketing which not only include selling to brick and motor stores but also various eCommerce channels like Wayfair and amazon of the world, etc. Similarly, the supply chain has to gear up to service orders to individual customers and also to replenishing brick and mortar stores at the same time.
4. Sustainable Products Sourcing: It has been seen as sustainable products nowadays are responsible for 60-70% growth in sales turnover. Eco-friendly supply chain like converting plastic packing to cardboard or fabric bags. Smaller packaging etc are helping to reduce carbon footprint and also helps in increasing sales due to customer preference for sustainable products.
5. Circularity: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is the standard mantra to attract customers. Use of recycled material for packaging, and even in main products like recycled fiber and recycled innovative packaging, etc
6. Agility: How business can be flexible to quickly respond to change in demand? The customer is seeking shorter lead time, lower MoQ, local availability. Companies are seriously working on local manufacturing and warehousing to be more resilient and responsive to ever-changing customer demand.
7. Internet of Things is used in many ways including to authenticate the location of goods through RFID tags and have better monitoring and control of inventory at any time and location. GPS devices help in tracking the truck movement and exact arrival time so that the warehouse is well prepared to receive the goods. The storage condition of raw material like yarn, chemicals, etc through IoT devices with temperature, humidity sensors are being used. IoT helps in speeding up the supply chain in case there is a challenge.
8. Big Data and Supply Chain logistics alignment: There is an enormous amount of data available for customer preferences and market trends which are helping in redefining the supply chain to predict the future from past performance.
9. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: The routine supply chain tasks and procedures can be automated. Analytical add-on applications are being used to improve planning and decision making, identify purchase patterns, automate tedious warehousing processes, and to manage inventory.
10. Robotics and Automation in Logistics: How can robots assist to speed up the labor-intensive work. Like Sorting, Counting, fetching the product to the warehouse. Many companies are providing services to convert your labor-intensive repetitive work to robots. Many of the warehouses are moving to automated warehousing solutions to improve material handling, storage, and goods retrieval as per demand. Compact rail driven racking storage systems and the use of automated guided vehicles (AGV) are also getting popular in the future warehouses.
To conclude, even though COVID-19 has hit all of us hard but it also has challenged us to change the way we use to do business in the past. It’s a time for the organization to adopt technology sooner than later or else they might miss the boat. Thank you!