Thanks to the rapid pace at which technology continues to advance, the very concept of the supply chain is evolving right along with it. Every day tech advancements debut that not only make it easier for organizations to accomplish their goals and to operate on a global scale, but that also change what is possible in a manufacturing environment in general.
But just as it’s important to be mindful of how far supply chain technology has come even as recently as in the last decade, one must also turn their attention towards where this all might be headed. That’s how a business can both use technology to solve the challenges of today and better prepare themselves for the ones they might face tomorrow, too. There are a few examples of supply chain technology in particular that are shaping the future right before our very eyes.
The Tech-Driven Evolution of the Supply Chain: Breaking Things Down
By far, three of the core pillars of the future of supply chain technology include the blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
The blockchain is a distributed database that is constantly being added to that contains records that have timestamp information and other transactional data. In a supply chain and manufacturing sense, the blockchain can be a great way to verify the authenticity of certain products – something that has become increasingly important for an organization like Level X Supply that sources materials for clients from all over the world. It can also prevent counterfeiting because, by its nature, the blockchain is both secure and tamper-proof.
Artificial intelligence can also help exponentially in the supply chain, particularly when it comes to automation. Back-office automation, for example, can make sure that a lot of the important (but time-consuming) tasks like document processing are handled automatically and accurately. This frees up the invaluable time of human employees so that they can focus on more important matters.
This level of automation can also be applied to everything from logistics to warehouse operations to quality checks, inventory management, and more. The goal isn’t to replace human employees in the supply chain – quite the opposite. It’s about making sure they’re always available to focus on the matters that truly need that human touch while using artificial intelligence to increase accuracy and resiliency virtually everywhere else.
Finally, we have the Internet of Things. Also commonly referred to as the IoT for short, the term refers to a network of countless sensors that are embedded in everyday objects – in a supply chain context, that would include manufacturing equipment found in places like factories. Not only can it help give organizational leaders a better sense of how resources are actually being utilized (thus making sure equipment and personnel are where they need to be at all times for peak productivity), but it can also help with regard to preventative maintenance.
Rather than waiting for a mission-critical piece of equipment to break so it can be fixed, small problems can be addressed now before they have a chance to become much bigger ones later. This is a perfect way to increase the total lifespan of assets while also avoiding unplanned downtime and periods of lost productivity that could disrupt the supply chain at various points.
At Level X Supply, we’ve made it our mission to leverage these and other emerging technologies whenever possible. We do this not only to streamline operations, but to help enhance transparency up and down the supply chain as well.
A Brave New World for the Global Supply Chain
If the events of the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the supply chain is nothing if not malleable. It’s resilient when it needs to be in order to adapt to ever-changing trends and opportunities, while sturdy enough to mitigate risk from a myriad of different sources. Historically, it has maintained this status by embracing emerging technologies. Today, we’re talking about the blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. Years ago, the very ideas of automation and on-demand transportation were spoken about the same way.
But while the technology itself may change, the goal of its utilization does not: provides aim to work together and utilize technology to function better as a collective than they could as individuals. That’s something we’ve always fought for at Level X Supply and it’s one trend that shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
If you’d like to find out more information about the future of supply chain technology, or if you’d like to discuss your unique needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact Level X Supply today.
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