The key areas where IoT might have profound impact are enhanced logistics management, improved supply availability and improved customer service
Global research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc., has identified top eight supply chain technology trends in 2019 that have a broad impact on the industry. However, these technology trends have not yet been widely adopted but might be experiencing considerable changes or reaching critical tipping point in maturity or capability.
Christian Titze, Research Vice President, Gartner, said, “These technologies are those that supply chain leaders simply cannot ignore. Within the next five years, if half of large global companies are using some of these technologies in their supply chain operations, it’s safe to say that the technologies will disrupt people, business objectives and IT systems.”
These top eight supply chain technology trends are:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In supply chain, the AI technology seeks to enhance human performance. AI capabilities, through self-learning and natural language, can help in the automation of various processes in supply chain like production planning, demand forecasting and predictive maintenance.
- Advanced Analytics
Advanced analytics spread across predictive analytics that is identifying data patterns and anticipating future scenarios. Titze said, “Advanced analytics are not new, but their impact on today’s supply chains are significant. They will help organisations become more proactive and actionable in managing their supply chains, both in taking advantage of future opportunities and avoiding potential future disruptions.”
- Internet of Things (IoT)
The supply chain practitioners are increasingly exploring the potential of IoT in the industry. The key areas where IoT might have profound impact are enhanced logistics management, improved supply availability and improved customer service.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA technology cut down human intervention and enhances consistency across manual data sources within manufacturing. Titze, said, “We are seeing a significant reduction in process lead times RPA technology is used to automate the creation of purchase and sales orders or shipments, for instance.”
- Autonomous Things
Autonomous things leverage AI to automate functions that were earlier performed by humans, like autonomous vehicles and drones.
“The rapid explosion in the number of connected, intelligent things has given this trend a huge push. The once distant thought of reducing time for inventory checks by using drones’ cameras to take inventory images, for instance, is here,” said Titze.
- Digital Supply Chain Twin
Digital supply chain twin is a digital depiction of relationships between all the physical entities of end-to-end supply chain processes including products, customers, warehouses/distribution centers, finance, plants, markets, attributes and weather. They are connected to their counterparts in real-world and are used for understanding the state of the thing or system to improve operations and respond efficiently to changes.
- Immersive Experience
“Immersive user experiences will enable digital business opportunities that have not yet been fully realised within global supply chains. In supply chain, organisations might use augmented reality (AR) along with quick response (QR) codes and mobile technology to speed up equipment changeovers in factories,” said Titze.
Although blockchain initiatives related to supply chain are nascent, but the technology has potential to fulfill the long-standing challenges presented across complex supply chains globally. For supply chain, blockchain solutions provide various capabilities including automation, traceability and security.
“Organisations might use blockchain to track global shipments with tamper-evident labels, allowing a reduction in the time needed to send paperwork back and forth with port authorities and improved counterfeit identification,” said Titze.