Industry 4.0 has gradually brought about new operational changes to conventional Supply Chain and Logistics activities in particular. Under the increased demands of modern consumerist culture, businesses are also developing their own desires, which range from automating manual processes, improving transportation management to ensuring operational transparency through information technology applications in Logistics. With a sensible digital transformation roadmap, businesses can not only fulfill their demands but also increase up to 10% their annual revenue . This article will introduce the top 7 technology trends that have been and will likely be the most important key differentiators for Digital Transformation in Supply Chain management and Logistics in the near future.
1. Using Smartphones to ensure operational transparency
Smartphones nowadays can emulate the powerful processing ability of personal computers and are becoming more and more accessible to everyone. 81% of manufacturing CEOs acknowledge the strategic benefits that smartphones have to offer . These compact devices are considered the medium platform to connect with many other sophisticated technologies. For example, a smartphone can become a 24/7 navigation device, report to image management conveniently or mediate applications such as logistics management software.
2. Synchronizing work processes with Cloud technology
All business data coming from production to business related activities can be integrated and uploaded to a cloud platform. Cloud integration can help manufacturers and retailers eliminate information silos as well as facilitate a method to connect with external transportation partners so that they can focus on their core competencies .
Many businesses are still hesitant to implement cloud technology for fear that cloud platforms cannot integrate with legacy systems and may compromise information security. However, cloud technology today has successfully disprove such concerns thanks to the advance of hybrid cloud technology. As a result, businesses can both secure their sensitive data while sharing strategic data with business partners.
3. Connecting physical devices to the cloud with Internet of Things solutions
Internet of Things solutions are helping the Supply Chain manage transportation or manufacturing activities easier and more effectively than ever before. The types of sensors used in logistics activities today not only become much smarter and more accurate, but also can be connected to the Internet. In addition to the ability to locate, the operational status of the attached vehicle can be sent to the manager in real time thanks to the advance of temperature, gasoline and door status sensors just to name a few . As a result, the micro visibility of businesses will be improved remarkably. Inefficient workflows can be easily detected for futher changes, thereby improving efficiency and reducing wasteful cost in companies' logistics activities.
Businesses can also consider using Smartphones connected to logistics management software to save costs.
Abivin vRoute application can help the driver locate a designated route, as well as help the manager track down his driver in real time.
4. Analyzing Big Data to restructure business operations
Under the emergence of the Internet of Things, data from all sources including customers, partners or from within the enterprise can amount to 500 terabytes (512,000 Gigabytes) per year for a medium-sized enterprise. . This poses not only a Big data storage challenge but also a managerial challenge on handling that massive sea of information.
Advanced Predictive Analytics is a new trend in Big Data science. This technology can help businesses forecast customer demand based on data recorded in the past. Businesses can also adjust the price of their services or goods with this technology to ensure profitability and competitiveness in the market. The latest MHI report shows that in the two years from 2017 to 2019, the number of manufacturing businesses using this technology has increased from 17% to 30% .
5. Applying Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to support decision-making processes
Utilizing transportation management equipped with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will save companies a lot of time planning and minimize human errors. Other than supporting production and business related activities, in Logistics activities, businesses can also take advantage of the power of these two technologies to manage inventory or coordinate delivery vehicles. Artificial intelligence can simulate logistics operations to provide the best solution for dozens of constraints and conditions in the enterprise's Vehicle Routing Problem. From there, businesses can save delivery costs by maximizing vehicle fill rates while still be able to prioritize the delivery to their frequent customers.
6. Automating business operations using robotics and autonomous vehicles
According to DHL, under the strong development of e-commerce platforms, the Logistics industry is facing a shortage of qualified workforce in parcel delivery . This leads to an urgent need to mechanize the Supply Chain to ensure service quality as well as minimize the burden on the workforce. In Vietnam, the mechanization in Logistics activities has started to take new initiatives. In addition to manual operations, some distribution centers of Lazada and GHN have also deployed some autonomous equipments such as conveyors and sorters to improve productivity up to 30,000 orders per hour, which is equivalent to 600 employees .
7. Ensuring professionalism with Software as a Service solutions (Saas)
Abivin vRoute - A SaaS solution for optimizing Logistics activities such as transportation management or inventory optimization.
According to Accenture, SaaS solutions that are highly specialized and can be customized according to their buyers will ensure return on investment (ROI) and increase flexibility for businesses' Supply Chain and logistics activities .
Abivin vRoute is a SaaS platform that provides Supply Chain with the ability to monitor logistics operations in real time to ensure transparency and productivity. This platform is a combination of cutting-edge technologies such as:
Artificial Intelligence: generating optimal routes based on more than 20 delivery conditions such as cargo weight and volume, vehicle types, delivery time, priority order,...
Internet of Things: connect with Telematics devices or drivers' phones to support real-time transportation management.
Big Data analytics: aggregating data to make accurate reports about logistics activities of businesses.
Succeed at Digital Transformation for your Supply Chain today with Abivin vRoute!
Vietnam Logistics Report 2019, Ministry of Industry and Trade (Vietnam), page 41