Is your Business Ready for Supply Chain 4.0?

It’s raining disruptions in the supply chain and logistics industry. Technologies like machine learning, big data analytics, IoT, automation, predictive intelligence, natural language processing and more are creating waves that are tossing out traditional methods of executing supply chain and making way for what we call ‘Supply Chain 4.0’.

Supply Chain 4.0 is all about making operations highly flexible, agile, cost-effective, compliant, and accurate. With high investment and customer expectations at stake, the room for error will keep getting shorter and businesses that will fail to embrace Supply Chain 4.0 will ultimately perish.

So, the question is, is your organization ready for Supply Chain 4.0? Here are five key areas that will help you understand where your organization stands with respect to embracing Supply Chain 4.0.

How flexible are your supply chain and logistics operations?

Today it’s crucial for businesses to quickly respond to changing business and customer demands. For instance, accurately planning capacity and optimizing delivery routes becomes key to ensuring flexible supply chain and logistics operations. To achieve this businesses need to constantly analyze large volumes of current and historical data generated by different logistics platforms. Automation is another important area that businesses must focus on to build flexible supply chain and logistics processes.

Dependency on manual intervention to execute activities like task allocation, 3PL selection, vehicle tracking, managing stakeholder performances and planning multiple deliveries are some of the hurdles that business needs to eliminate to ensure flexible operations. A modern supply chain and logistics platform is powered by a business process management (BPM) engine that helps logistics stakeholders to add new processes or redesign their existing operations on the fly. This ensures a timely response to changing customer and market needs.

With regard to customer expectations, flexibility of delivery operations is of immense importance. Businesses must provide customers with a self-service delivery model. They should be able to change the delivery time, date and location based on their convenience. Leveraging modern supply chain and logistics platforms businesses can customize delivery workflows simply by dragging and dropping activities based on the need.

Can you term your supply chain and logistics processes as ‘agile’?

With the growing demand for faster and same-day deliveries, businesses today need to shrink delivery turn-around-time and scale operations to match demands. According to research, more than (51%) half of retailers offer same-day delivery and 65% plan to offer it within two years. As much as 49% of shoppers say that same-day delivery makes them more likely to shop online. Without an agile supply chain, it becomes extremely difficult to deliver on these expectations and battle competition. 

Agile supply chains leverage advanced tools to help businesses plan highly efficient routes, minimize delays, and boost delivery productivity. The ability to scale operations is also an integral part of an agile supply chain. Tools with crowdsourcing capabilities can intelligently outsource delivery tasks to third-party logistics providers based on cost, proximity, and type of delivery. This becomes increasingly significant when responding to demands during peak business seasons.

Is your supply chain proactive?

If keeping customers happy is important, then so is shrinking operational expenses. Poor visibility of logistics operations and reactive approaches result in increased costs in the form of poor productivity, unwanted delays, theft, damaged goods and excess consumption of fuel. Businesses that are ready to embrace Supply Chain 4.0 use digital control towers (DCTs) to ensure real-time visibility of delivery processes. DCTs are powered by alerting tools that proactively trigger distributed notifications, directly to the concerned stakeholders related to exceptions such as delays, theft suspicion, SoP non-compliance, etc. It helps in proactive monitoring of exceptions related to any transporter or shipments and also provides simple and fast alert resolution workflows.

Supply chains that are powered by machine learning technology generate highly efficient and risk-free delivery routes by analyzing historical data of previously availed routes. Similarly, it empowers businesses to choose the right 3PL provider for a particular shipping task, ensuring high levels of productivity. All these positively impact supply chain profitability as well.

How compatible is your supply chain with regard to evolving regulations and SLAs?

The compliance landscape in the supply chain and logistics industry has gotten more dynamic and sophisticated than ever. According to Deloitte increased stakeholder expectations, heavy fines resulting from non-compliance with carbon emission regulations, delayed market access due to complex global trade rules, and a multitude of overlapping product integrity requirements are common challenges organizations navigate. 

Not only knowledge about changing regulations, but access to information and the ability to accurately interpret the impact of existing norms is important as well when it comes to achieving high levels of compliance. Advanced logistics platforms today are empowering global businesses to drastically shrink carbon emissions by reducing fleet volumes and fuel consumption.

Organizations that have real-time visibility of their logistics operations achieve high-levels of SLA adherence. Without adequate visibility businesses under or overestimate route productivity and 3PL performance. It also results in inaccurate benchmarking of KPIs like delivery TAT, first-attempt delivery success and failures among others.

Modern supply chain and logistics platforms are driven by predictive intelligence, real-time visibility, IoT-based tracking, analytics and more that empower businesses to gain a holistic picture of their operations and quickly address compliance gaps. 

Is your supply chain accurate enough?

Ensuring delivery accuracy is a key aspect of Supply Chain 4.0. For instance, things like providing customers with highly accurate ETAs are a crucial part of providing delightful customer experiences. Not only this accurately predicting delays and benchmarking KPIs are equally important. Logistics and supply chain tools powered by disruptive technologies like machine learning and predictive intelligence are being leveraged by savvy businesses to create highly accurate operations.

Supply Chain 4.0 is already here. Businesses that are still shying away from embracing modern and disruptive technologies might find themselves losing their competitive edge and get trapped in an endless loop of sky-rocketing operational expenses and poor customer experience.

FarEye’s data-driven supply chain and logistics platform have empowered 100s of businesses from across disparate industries and geographies to reduce logistics costs, improve logistics visibility, and deliver delightful customer experiences. To know more you can sign-up for a quick demo here.

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