Consumers have become aware of supply chains to a degree now that they have enjoyed same-day or next-day delivery service in recent years. They may not know all the elaborate details and jargon about shipping, warehousing, and inventory, but consumers know how to track packages they've ordered online in real-time.
Customer satisfaction, in fact, is a driving factor for supply chains on how to overcome top logistics challenges. Emerging courier services are emphasizing faster delivery speeds to gain an edge over traditional competitors. Here are the top 3 logistics challenges in the next few years as many supply chain leaders move toward smart technology to improve agility and accuracy.
1. Investing in the Right People and New Technology
Supply chain managers and consultants can command six-figure salaries, which is why it's important for logistics firms to be selective on who they hire. It's important to hire leaders with experience, but also knowledge of the changing paradigm toward digital transformation. Suppliers must also invest in the appropriate smart technology that will easily integrate with future technology. The key is to make the supply chain visible to all suppliers, which allows managers to monitor real-time inventory and delivery tracking.
Keeping costs under control will be part of the financial challenges for logistics firms through the pandemic and its aftermath. Finding ways to reduce transportation costs is an ongoing endeavor for the logistics industry so that more of the budget can be devoted to new technology. Part of the solution to meeting these financial challenges involves developing strong risk management strategies.
Hiring the right people particularly applies to customer service, which is the most personal connection between the company and its buyers. It's also getting increasingly difficult to find supply chain talent (managers and warehouse workers) with a broad understanding of logistics. Improving real-time communication among all stakeholders is another huge challenge that will require a digital infrastructure.
Some of the technologies that suppliers should consider investing in during the 2020s include alternative (artificial) intelligence (AI) software, robotics, 5G wireless connectivity, delivery drones, and omnipresent IoT devices with sensors that track data in real-time.
2. Using Big Data Effectively and Efficiently
Despite the potential power of expanding a company's knowledge base, big data can also be misused to waste time and resources by focusing on too much irrelevant data. One of the crucial elements of digital transformation will be how to maintain inventory accuracy. Without an accurate inventory, supply chains become more disorganized and wasteful, leading to financial losses. But if every product has an embedded RFID chip, its precise location can be tracked in real-time with smart technology.
The use of thousands of sensors to collect a wealth of data must be managed by both humans and automation. Since no human is capable of absorbing and disseminating that much information, the help of machine learning software will save time and money sifting through data to find meaningful patterns. Big data is a double-edged sword in the sense it can be both valuable and costly. While machines can help speed up recommendations on decisions, human analysts will still be needed for certain crucial decisions that computers can't make.
Maximizing analytics that tracks production processes is the key to streamlining a supply chain operation. Managers must use this data to make real-time adjustments for various reasons, such as a logistics firm routing deliveries based on weather and road conditions. Effective interpretation of company data can cut costs, reduce waste and boost production. In that sense, the use of smart technology contributes enormously to sustainability and overall corporate social responsibility.
3. Building Strong Cybersecurity
Preparing for worst-case scenarios such as a cybersecurity breach will be required for business survival in the future. Ensuring the secure transmission of data will also become more expected among suppliers, which means periodically upgrading cybersecurity. The expansion of interactive devices on wireless networks opens the door to security concerns the same way the more open windows a building has, the more opportunities for the wrong people to enter.
Moving toward digital transformation to adopt cloud-based tools across an organization's entire infrastructure requires the most robust data protection methods available. These solutions include virtualization, encryption, and 24/7 network monitoring. It's helpful to join cybersecurity networks that share alerts about the latest malware attacks.
Harnessing powerful technology that shares data should serve a good purpose for society. Therefore, its operators have a social responsibility to prevent cybersecurity breaches or the leaking of confidential information. Unfortunately, cybercriminals like to target well-funded companies that serve large communities as well as small firms that rely on old technology.
The future of logistics will be both spectacular and challenging, as it will favor companies that invest in smart technology to track deliveries and inventory. Contact us at Pallet Marketing Inc. to learn deeper knowledge about how to overcome top logistics challenges from pallet builders near you.