Supply can be defined as the whole process of making and selling products in the market, the first stage being the supply of raw materials and the last stage being the sale of the finished products. Proper management of the supply chain is necessary for any business to thrive and excel.
A well-developed and efficient supply chain is necessary to fulfill the demands of customers on time and keep the business smoothly. When managed in the right way, a supply chain can lead to lower costs and a comparatively faster production cycle. Product development, procurement, production, logistics, etc. all come under supply chain management.
Without supply chain management, there a huge risk of delays reduced production, and the business might lose its competitive edge. Excellent management of the supply chain not only results in good business but also helps to reduce risks make things run more smoothly.
With every advancement in technology and innovations supply chain tends to get an upgrade as people are looking for new ways to optimize the supply chain management to increase efficiency. Let have a look at some of the supply chain innovations for 2021.
Supply trends for 2021
1. Blockchain and its wider adoption
Blockchain is one of the innovations that is being considered as one of the biggest breakthroughs in many industries. This also includes the supply chain industries and researchers suggest that by 2024 about 31 billion dollars can be saved by the food and beverages section alone if blockchain is utilized properly.
Sharing of data is an important aspect of supply chain industries. By using blockchain the data can be made more transparent and can help to reduce the obscurity in sharing. Sharing is also made easier and secure. The data on a blockchain cannot be corrupted or muted. Wider adoption of the supply chain will help supply chains to become more informed and transparent.
Cryptocurrencies are widely accepting blockchain which will also have a positive impact on the business in the future.
2. Better AI
Automation has improved business and has been a huge success in almost all sectors since its implementation. The continued success will only call for more operations to be automated in supply chain management. One of the new trends is the emergence of AI for boosting automation in industries.
AI’s ability to study from the data of past operations enables it to perform basic functions automatically and hence eliminates any possible human errors and saves a lot of time. This also helps to direct human capital to do more complicated tasks.
AI can also understand certain patterns and predict future demands which can be very helpful in increasing the efficiency of the supply chain.
3. Robotic automation
In supply chain management, automation is now being adopted in manual tasks as well. A large amount was invested in North America alone for robotic automation. Nowadays, drones are being used for the delivery of products, and the use of driverless is not far.
In many warehouses, mobile robots are being used to perform labor-intensive works. In the supply chain robots are replacing unskilled laborers and this, in turn, helps them to divert their focus on better decision making.
4. IoT – End to End
The internet of things is another widely accepted technology in many business sectors. Like blockchain, IoT also helps in increasing the transparency of various operations in the supply chain. The use of different types of sensors helps to gather information more easily and accurately. This information can be used for tracking the items being transported, inventory management, etc.
IoT is something that can be used in almost all operations of the supply chain. It can be very effective to increase efficiency, respond timely to the demands of customers, minimize downtown and increase the Return of Investment.
5. Smart contracts
Smart contracts are something the supply chain industries can gain a lot from. Smart contracts can be defined as smart protocols that execute automatically when the specified conditions are met. This is a technology that helps to achieve automation beyond robotics and AI.
In the supply chain, smart contracts can automatically produce an invoice while conducting a financial transaction or when a shipment reaches a destination.
It also can be used to initiate automatic payments using cryptocurrencies. These contracts eliminate the need for authorization from a trusted party and hence make the process faster.
6. 3D printing
3D printing is one of the best ways to temporarily deal with the demand and shortages in supply chain industries, especially in times of the Covid where nothing can be predicted. The combination of 3D printing and traditional methods helps to create parts with better performance at lower costs.
3D printing can help to keep some of the operations running during shortages and prevent a huge loss that can be resulted from stopping the operations.
7. More agility
The use of machine learning and AI has allowed creating a flexible supply chain that can absorb any shocks irrespective of their size. This shock can be an unpredictable demand or a natural disaster that can affect one or more operations in a supply chain.
The use of technology can help to foresee future demands and downs to an extent and help the industry to be more agile.
The adoption of new technologies and innovations are improving the supply chain industries and making the operations faster, more accurate, flexible, more granular, and risk-free. New trends and innovations must be studied properly and implemented on time to stay racing in the field.
If you have any queries related to the supply chain or require any supply chain-related services you can contact Pedraza Customhouse Brokers, Inc. We are one of the best in the field and always stay updated according to the latest innovations and trends. We offer the best global logistics solutions and can help to bring clarity to the complexity of international trade.