Impact of Technology on Supply Chain Operation

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The Supply Chain strategy has been utilizing the various concepts to tackle the dynamic and unpredictable demand in the competitive environment, which needs to be redesigned in the pandemic. The situation is demanding for alternative ways that should consider many features such as product life cycle, product variety, and its margin, zero stock rate (on average), lead time, and others. Coordinating with different organizations along with multiple goals to achieve is a tedious task in the competitive global market. Most of the companies have started following the “just-in-time” approach to reduce the inventory cost, which is an additional burden to the supplier to hold the stock ready for dispatch. Consequently, the distribution centers are opened and integrated to serve the customers’ needs effectively. With the help of advanced technology, the process of the supply chain can be enhanced further. Information shared from the process is crucial for processing and understanding the real-time situation about the quality of the goods, lead-time accuracy, and schedule of the delivery. This state-of-the-art technology will transform the present state of the supply chain into the future state.

Internet of Things (IoT) plays a major role in giving the right information to the management to take the right decision by using sensors and radio frequency identification. The other information systems are also used for communication such as Bluetooth device communication, nearby interaction system, and a global positioning system. This incorporation of IOT helps in delivering the right quality perishable goods at the right time to the customers.

Food wastage is one of the major problems that should be eliminated because, as per the report by the state of food security and nutrition in the world, one out of nine people is hungry in the world. This explains the significance of avoiding food wastage and leads to a question that what if the food quality degrades during transportation? There are lots of chances that the quality of the food may get deteriorated, which can be tracked by IoT. The ambient condition is one of the necessary qualities to transport perishable goods, even a small change in temperature or humidity will have a significant change in quality. Because of the cloud technology, the data provided from the sensor network are immediately processed and required modifications are done within the stipulated time. Thus, this technology ensures the safety of food quality during transportation across the globe. For example, DHL Resilience 360 is a platform for business operations that mainly deals with risk management in the supply chain process.

Big data is now becoming famous due to the advancement of the internet, which is generated by tens of thousands of users on a daily basis regularly. The supply chain management and the customers can get benefits from using this big data, providing the quality service will make the company profitable by proper planning of inventory, and demand scheduling and make the customers satisfied with the services by meeting their expectations. Recording all the activities in the database will be helpful to trace back the root cause of the problem and also to perform the supply chain analytics.

Though the autonomous vehicle is in the preparatory stage, this advancement cannot be ignored when we discuss the future of the supply chain. During this pandemic, we definitely understand the need for autonomous vehicles for small activities like delivering food and medicine to the Covid-19 patients, flooring cleaning bots in the hospital, etc. Two aspects are focused here, that is, one is safe from the epidemic and the other is deploying human sources for intellectual activities. The latter should be taken into consideration for allowing autonomous vehicles in the business operations. For instance, UPS, the largest package shipping company in the world, is partnered with Waymo, an autonomous driving vehicle company, to make pilots run the self-driving shuttles in delivering the package in Phoenix.

Overall, various parts of the technology utilized in the supply chain’s enhancement have been discussed, which indicates the uptrend in the performance of the supply chain process. Technological research is also going on to unleash a new dimension of the supply chain that is mandatory in times like this.


This article is co-authored by Dr. Raul V. Rodriguez and Satheesh Kumar M, Woxsen University