Technology’s Role in Improving the Supply Chain
In today’s supply chain landscape, technology is becoming the key driver of an organization’s success, innovation and competitive edge, because of this, many companies are investing in transportation management software (TMS) systems.
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Companies today exist in an omni-channel world, where the movement of goods and supplies is a common thread that runs throughout the various stages of the supply chain.
TMS systems are able to provide an excellent central view of end-to-end order fulfilment processes while also giving employees enhanced visibility into their specific departments.
This leads to greater collaboration and helps companies break down silos and operate more effectively and efficiently across the board.
How the Cloud is Leveling the Playing Field
Leaders at larger companies are lucky in that they have the infrastructure, budget and resources to adopt new technologies early and use them to stay one step of ahead of the competition.
Fortunately, cloud-based technologies are driving down the cost of supply chain software, removing a long-time barrier for small- and medium-sized businesses. This means companies of all sizes can now operate in a more efficient environment and use enterprise level technologies to help gain a competitive advantage. In short, supply chain technologies such as TMS systems work to level the playing field.
Trends in Supply Chain Execution (SCE)
Despite new tech advances, forthcoming changes to supply chain execution will revolve not around the technology itself but rather the convergence of the multiple systems and the teams that enable it. This is because companies are looking at new ways of maximizing their investments and optimizing the resources already on hand. There is an emphasis on breaking down the barriers that isolate the departmental silos in order to create one converged supply chain across procurement, manufacturing, warehousing, transportation and support.
Other technologies are continuously being developed to meet changing market needs. The online consumer is spurring new practices in shipping, with the model changing from right product/right place/right time to any product/any place/any time. As consumer demands evolve, so will the criteria and technology used to satisfy those demands. Solution providers must be able to deliver enhanced and agile functions that allow companies to take advantage of new business opportunities at a much faster pace.
Cloud-based SCE adoption has matured and become standard practice for most businesses today. In fact, it has matured so much that users now have the option to build on private, public, or hybrid cloud platforms. As long as the systems themselves are cloud-enabled, there is no reason why SCE functions cannot be delivered through Cloud computing.
That said, there may be some operational reasons why the Cloud is not the ideal option, such as the need for sub-second response times for items zipping down a conveyor belt or if there are heightened security requirements. In these cases, it is best for the supply chain software to live on-premise where it can be quickly accessed.
What’s the Next Frontier for the Supply Chain?
In supply chain execution, it is less about what new technologies will soon be arriving than it is about when existing technologies will become viable and helpful to everyone in the supply chain – so supply chain professionals can take advantage of all new technologies and apply them to their individual needs.
The true value of technology in the supply chain is the benefit it brings to supply chain experts. Without cutting-edge technology, SCE experts would not be able to innovate nearly as much or provide end-users with fast, on-demand service.