The past few years have seen a rise in e-commerce and online shopping trends, which have been further fueled more recently by the shelter-in-place orders implemented worldwide. Fluctuating — and in some cases, skyrocketing — demand for products and order fulfillment places increased pressure on manufacturers, warehouses, along with shipping and logistics companies. This uncertainty makes the right software and business technology even more vital. For companies looking to improve their operations, these current technology applications are examples of tools and systems that will enable effective supply chain management.
Supply Chain Management: Suppliers and Factories
Proper data governance methods and analytics software are essential for keeping track of inventory, orders and factory operations. This technology helps manufacturers and warehouses predict product demand, while also optimizing the inventory that they produce or maintain. Not only can this reduce the cost of storage, it also ensures that suppliers do not waste surplus inventory. Suppliers may also benefit from custom online portals to manage orders, payment, shipping, and delivery. Managing internal operations and shifting paperwork online could be a great benefit to reduce inefficiencies.
Other factories have chosen supply chain optimization through the use of beacon technology. IoT beacons can be used to automatically streamline processes and monitor the functioning of machinery in real-time. This helps businesses strategically schedule repairs to reduce downtime.
With certain factories currently shifting production to meet the demand for PPE, it is even more critical that they manage resources effectively and streamline operations. It is also imperative to follow safety guidelines when “pivoting a factory” to verify quality product output. Companies may have good intentions, but healthcare professionals and front line workers could be placed at risk if their equipment is not up to the appropriate medical standards.
A custom-built platform to manage resources, machinery and factory operations could help ensure a smooth transition back to normal production when your business returns to pre-pandemic operations.
Supply Chain Optimization: Warehousing
Business warehouses can also benefit from data governance tools and analytics to manage inventory and optimize order fulfillment processes. Having a digital database of your warehouse enables effective inventory management. Additionally, a digitally rendered version of your warehouse and internal tracking tools can help warehouse workers quickly locate items and fulfill orders. RFID tags and asset tracking apps are another solution for effective and efficient warehousing operations.
With the increased demand for fast and efficient delivery, companies that can deliver with speed and precision will have a leg up on the competition. What’s more, predicting demand is critical for supply chain optimization. While many have anticipated the future of drone deliveries, it is far more common to rely upon strategically-placed warehouses and reliable trucking teams to get items where they’re needed most.
Another invention that is helping streamline warehouse operations is robotic technology. Particularly for warehouses focused on personal order fulfillment, robots can help alleviate the pressure and workload placed on warehouse workers. Some of the benefits of warehouse robotics include increased productivity, accuracy and operational efficiency through task automation.
Improving Shipping and Logistics
Data analytics can help optimize delivery routes and orders based on capacity and location. Weight and product packing are also critical to delivery efficiency. Analytics for logistics empowers businesses to pack delivery vehicles in a systematic, data-driven way. Even small changes can affect the speed of the delivery and gas consumed by a delivery vehicle. Order tracking software can help shipping and logistics companies track and manage their shipments.
Additionally, companies are always looking for ways to improve last-mile delivery. Whether it is through improving delivery schedules, verifying drop-off, optimizing routes, or implementing transparent order tracking, there are many ways to improve the customer experience while building a positive company reputation. Mobile delivery tracking software allows delivery drivers to take their systems on the go. When paired with barcodes, RFID tags or other package scanning options, these devices can log deliveries and ensure the last leg of supply chain optimization is successful.
How Your Business Can Implement Effective Supply Chain Management
From product manufacturing to final delivery, businesses rely on technology and software platforms to help them improve supply chain management. Whether you are looking to streamline your operations, optimize the use of your resources or improve the delivery of a quality product and service, the team at 7T is ready to help.
We can develop a custom software solution that meets the needs of your business. We’ll ensure that your development project delivers a powerful ROI — whether that means increasing sales, reducing operational costs, or saving money by eliminating inefficiencies.
In addition to custom software development, we also offer cloud integration, technology consulting and data governance and data lake creation services. To connect with a member of our team, contact 7T today.