Conventional supply chains were linear. The output of a step became the input of the next and the run resembled a chain. The term supply chain emerged thus. A break was never needed then. Today’s landscape is distinct. Lateral interventions are common. There are reasons for this. The customers think different now and are more into e-commerce, shop-small and more. The trend evolves day by day. The survival trick in such a scenario includes a proactive boost to supply chains. Time-sensitive decisions and real time connectivity are vital these days. They are better achieved with an automated process. The story of supply chain technology begins thus……
The Current Supply Chain Technology Trends 1
- Hyper automation: Aims at enhanced productivity integrating with back-office automation, increased supply chain visibility, reliable forecasting methods, measurable supply chain sustainability and enhanced customer experience 2
- Digital supply chain twin: ‘As is and complete digital duplicates’ of physical objects, which help better insights on existing product performance, enhance product quality, improve customer service, reduce operational costs, and more. 3
- Immersive experience and applications: An “immersive experience” pulls the user via technology, into a modern or augmented reality, with SCM related to on boarding, warehousing and operation of complex manufacturing and processing systems. 4
- Edge ecosystems: Edge and 5G are helping to deploy smart intra logistics robots for applications in warehouse and distribution. 5
- Supply chain security: Reduces the supply chain attacks leading to affect user’s data, as by targeting main organization, the connected supply chain stakeholders also are attacked, i.e., several targets being attacked through a single vendor.
- Environmental, social and governance (ESG): Tools/standards used by investors and supply chain stakeholders to judge a firm’s social and environmental conscientiousness.
- Embedded AI and analytics: New intelligent technologies helping achieve three competing outcomes: relevance, resilience and responsibility in SCM
- Augmented data intelligence: Augmented intelligence which is a continuum of human intelligence with Artificial intelligence is used in optimization and know-how of many empty containers to load, unload, at each destination.
Digital Supply Chain Twin and Application 3
Using the data collected from industrial IoT solutions, sensors connected to machines, and other manufacturing tools, virtual representations of a real-world product, equipment elements, production process, or whole systems are created in manufacturing environment. Unilever PLC has created virtual models of its factories, and at each location, the IoT sensors feed real-time performance data such as temperature and motor speed into the enterprise cloud. Then the digital twins use these data to make the production process more efficient and flexible. Using advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms, and IoT digital twin, Unilever simulates complex what-if scenarios to identify the best operational conditions, to use materials more precisely and limit waste from products that don’t meet quality standards.
Augmented Data Intelligence
Alibaba uses AI for augmented reality mirrors, and facial recognition payment to interactive in-store mobile phone games. Small Smart Selection is an artificial intelligence-powered algorithm, backed up by deep learning and natural language processing, helping Alibaba to recommend products to the customers, and then communicates to the retailers to increase inventory to keep up with the demand of the products and services. Alibaba came up with an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot which can understand higher than 90 percent of the customers’ queries, emotions and can prioritize and alert human customer service agents to intervene. Alibaba uses AI to optimize its supply chain, drive personalized demands and build products.
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