A Guide to Supply Chain and Logistics Technology
AI-powered digital tools, API platforms, advanced assets for tracking shipments, and automation of market data are transforming how supply chain and logistics companies operate. Improved efficiency, increased productivity, cost savings, and a superior customer experience are some of the benefits promised by advances in transportation and logistics — and the digital evolution is just beginning.
While logistics and supply chain management are used interchangeably in some cases, definitions vary considerably. According to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), logistics is the area of supply chain management that plans, implements, and controls the flow and storage of goods, services, and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption. Logistics is generally concerned with transporting goods between points on the supply chain, while supply chain management refers to the entire process.
Emerging Supply Chain and Logistics Technologies
Emerging technologies profoundly impact the supply chain, particularly in manual processes. Some of the primary advancements of technology in logistics and supply chain management include the following.
Artificial and Augmented Intelligence, Machine Learning
Transportation firms and technology companies are leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for:
- Multi-national distribution strategies
- Route planning
- Autonomous vehicle development
- Consumer demand forecasting
- Dynamic asset maintenance
- Environmental impact assessments
Future advancements include “last-mile” electric vehicle delivery, optimized predictive and planning software, and automated inventory management via robotic warehouse picking systems. In addition, customer-side tools use AI-powered algorithms that encourage selecting specific products with benefits that include enhanced demand forecasting and improved transportation logistics.
Augmented Intelligence (also known as Intelligence Amplification or IA) is increasing across all sectors. Considered superior to standalone AI tools, augmented intelligence combines human knowledge and experience with the amplification power of artificial intelligence algorithms that perform repetitive and tedious work.
According to Gartner, augmented intelligence is projected to create $2.9 trillion of business value and lead to a global increase of 6.2 billion worker productivity hours. Companies throughout the supply chain benefit from IA solutions that enable office employees and warehouse workers to do their jobs faster, with greater accuracy, and at a reduced cost.
Computer models create most products; however, the final results are rarely exactly the same. Current modeling techniques also fail to provide information that reveals how parts wear out, when to replace them, and how owners modify products to meet their specific needs.
Digital twin technology replicates objects and processes on the virtual plane, allowing engineers and logistics professionals to engage with a digital model similar to its physical counterpart. Use cases throughout the supply chain are numerous, particularly in the shipment sector, where digital twins collect product and packaging data. This technology improves future operations by identifying current weaknesses through collected data.
Manufacturing firms also use digital twins in warehouse facilities to experiment with new equipment and layout changes. With 3D models, supply chain hubs can test different scenarios to improve productivity and increase efficiency. In addition, digital twinning can provide real-time information that improves delivery times between each point on the supply chain.
Is Digital Evolution Right for Your Business?
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Advanced Data Analytics
Advanced analytics platforms are increasingly being used throughout the supply chain to implement inventory control, enforce quality standards, execute real-time deployment, and optimize warehouse operations. In addition, advanced data analytics helps managers leverage accurate business intelligence that enhances decision making.
System integration via API-led connectivity unlocks the power of real-time data, leading to increased supply chain visibility, greater efficiency, reduced risk, and improved shipping times. In addition, the integration of systems frees up legacy data that can be used for demand forecasting, predictive maintenance, and delivery improvements.
APIs Address Modern Supply Chain Challenges
Supply chains are growing in size and complexity. Siloed data that’s inaccessible creates roadblocks that decrease efficiency and productivity. Rather than being used to a company’s advantage, data and integration complexity often become massive impediments to progress.
API-led connectivity emerged as a solution that addressed modern challenges faced by the transportation and logistics industry. API-led connectivity changes how a firm accesses source systems by freeing up data and removing complexity. Supply chain teams and information technology professionals can easily find and consume data by tying into the appropriate productized system API to orchestrate data flows. The results are increased efficiency and productivity on the business side that speeds up processes to improve the overall customer experience.
API-Led Connectivity Solves Critical Challenges Facing the Transportation and Logistics Industry
The path to digital evolution for transportation and logistics firms requires logistics technology services that work with legacy applications to unlock the power of data.
Evolution is never easy, and challenges arise along the way. Learn how MuleSoft addressed those critical issues for leading companies by watching AVIO Consulting’s webinar on-demand, Challenges Facing the Transportation and Logistics Industry — And How MuleSoft Can Solve Them.
Lead Solution Engineer, MuleSoft
Vice President of Sales, AVIO Consulting
Join Jeff and Mike as they address several transportation and logistics challenges, discuss use cases, and answer participant questions.