We’re in an age where technology is developing faster and faster and offering us tools and ideas like never before. How have these technologies influenced businesses and companies in improving the quality, quantity, and efficiency of their work in supply chain management?
Here are our favorite three ways, to show you just how much technology has transformed the way we work.
1. Greater Transparency
The most important thing within any business is developing a solid, well-formed relationship with your customers, and this can be achieved through greater transparency. Customers appreciate honesty, so greater transparency will help you:
- Encourage customers to keep coming back
- Set you apart from the competition
- Boost customer satisfaction
- Spread positive awareness of your business through word of mouth and avoid negative awareness being spread
- Show your loyalties lie with the customer rather than the profits.
All of these will boost your sales and help your business grow. So, how has technology helped this happen?
With technology nowadays, the improvement in digital communication means it’s so much easier for customers to see exactly what stage their order is at. No longer do they need to wait for slow and delayed updates – everything is visible to them at the click of a button, meaning they can keep connected with their orders, and either remain satisfied or speak up if they have a problem.
But where technology really influences transparency is within customer service. Nowadays, customers can receive instant feedback on any queries, whether that’s through delivery and tracking systems, an FAQ page, or an online chat system connecting them with employees. Giving your customers greater access to the process and making sure they feel connected and in the loop with their order and your company will help them be more satisfied and build that all-important relationship.
2. Greater Efficiency
As Jacques Ellul said:
“Modern technology has become a total phenomenon for civilization, the defining force of a new social order in which efficiency is no longer an option but a necessity imposed on all human activity.”
Efficiency nowadays isn’t a choice, but a need – and the more efficiently you work, the more profits you earn, and the more successful you’ll be. This means everyone is focused on being the most efficient as possible, and if you don’t match up, you’ll quickly get left behind. Technology ensures that you can boost efficiency and push yourself against competitors.
For example, technology allows you to track every part of your process, from stock checking in real-time to avoid any stock losses, to labor management and data-capture. Everything is now trackable and available at the touch of a button, meaning you can keep track of everything going on. This allows you to do several things:
- Be able to address problems and errors as soon as they arise
- Monitor the efficiency of each stage of the process
- Identify any potential risks and put in place prevention measures
- Identify potential opportunities to maximize your efficiency
All of this improves your control over each sector, so you know exactly what’s going on and where. This means you can easily cut out problems and improve current processes.
It also improves communication within your employees – long gone are the days where messages would need to be delivered by messengers. Now, messages can be delivered in seconds, allowing miscommunications or problems to be tackled much quicker, as well as reducing the chance of delivering the wrong message, or it not getting there at all. Software also means that data can be accessed by all employees, saving precious time and allowing the production process to be sped up massively, boosting your efficiency and boosting your profits.
Being able to maximize efficiency is incredibly important as a supply chain manager, and knowing the technology that can improve your efficiency is incredibly important. If you want to know more about maximizing efficiency, consider taking a masters in supply chain management from Kettering University to learn the tips and tricks of the trade from the best.
3. Cutting Expenses
What part of the supply chain requires the most expenditure? Most often, it’s three things: energy, transportation, and labor.
When it comes to energy, the biggest jump in technology is the use of other, renewable sources. This means investing in solar power and using this to power the process and your equipment rather than relying on energy from fossil fuels. Not only will this save you money in the long run, and is well worth the initial expense, but it also acts as a great selling point to customers, showing you’re making steps towards a better environment. Not only do you cut expenses through energy costs, but also boost profits through a marketing point.
One of the most exciting developments in technology to be utilized in supply chains is autonomous vehicles. Although it’s only in the early stages right now, once they become fully specialized and optimized, they have the potential to transform transportation for any business.
- They avoid needing to hire drivers, which is particularly useful during the night when you have to not only pay more but take the risk of them being tired and at a greater risk of being in an accident.
- They cut down your labor costs dramatically.
- Since many autonomous vehicles can be programmed to travel on the most efficient route, you’re also less likely to waste money on unnecessary fuel or other expenses.
- It tackles the truck driver shortage within the supply chain industry, making this the best option moving forward in the future.
The use of machinery such as autonomous vehicles not only for transport but also for in factories or an industrial setting, means you can replace workers with automation. This not only improves the efficiency and quality standard of your production but cuts your labor costs down further. Less wasted product and less money spent on labor means you cut down your expenses and really optimize your profits.
Utilizing technology is one of the best business decisions you can make in supply chain management to improve transparency, achieve greater efficiency, and cut expenses.