Automation endures and reshapes the foundation of supply chain management. As automation matures, advanced technology makes switching from manual to automated supply chain communications easier. With software, such as robotics process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as leveraging the might of an advanced transportation management system (TMS), more efficient and streamlined management is simpler and more accessible than ever.
The Supply Chain Trends to Know in 2020
Problems With Manual Supply Chain Communications
There are many issues with manual supply chain communications. Some challenges are due to the human error associated with manual practices. Manual supply chain communications often result in higher labor costs or discrepancies that lead to customer dissatisfaction. Such errors can also result in inconsistencies within the logistics process, such as route planning discrepancies or trucks arriving well beyond planned times. These lead to profit loss, but they also put a dent in the company’s reputation. Not being able to provide excellent, fast service will kill a business in this industry. While the outlook with traditional communications seems bleak, automated supply chain communication can ultimately lead to the reduction of costs that are associated with manual operations.
RPA and AI Create New Efficiencies That Present New Opportunities
As technology becomes more powerful and useful by the day, it is a massive opportunity for supply chain management teams. Technology applications using RPA and AI create a whole new way of streamlining everyday tasks. Transitioning to an automated supply chain communications platform will enable logistics to consolidate tasks, keep an eye on data in real-time, and use that data to prevent errors. And trends revealed within leading industry surveys indicate support for RPA is on the rise. According to Supply Chain Dive, “These are benefits companies are apparently buying into. A study from the Information Services Group found 72% of enterprises would be using RPA by this year. And a report from EY found material requirement planning, order management, and procurement are some of the top tasks that could be aided by RPA. Tanja Küppers, the VP and global head of finance transformation at DHL Supply Chain, spoke with Deloitte about how the company is using RPA and said technology can increase the quality and consistency of a process.” In other words, as this technology becomes more visible and available, the more automated supply chain communications become. Keeping up with the competition is increasingly critical, and that is one opportunity businesses should not pass up. Simultaneously, RPA and AI also redefine the fundamental way customers interact with the supply chain—such as relying on chatbots and interactive resources to find out key details surrounding shipment status, ETA, and more.
Tips to Apply Automated Supply Chain Communications Effectively
Some of the ways to successfully operate automated supply chain communications are:
- Utilize RPA and AI to reduce miscommunications. Employing new software can only benefit the company. And since these advancements in technology work in the background and rely on data, they are more error-proof. Think about it; automated supply chain communications reduce common issues that will save money in the long term.
- Monitor trends and plan accordingly. Trends change almost daily, and monitoring them, especially with RPA or AI technology, will allow companies to plan asset allocation and shipment schedules easier. Using these functions of automation in logistics will grow especially important as peak season approaches.
- Calculate costs and numerous what-if scenarios to derive the best shipping rate. The use of RPA and AI in quoting represents a phenomenal advantage in supply chain management. Since the technologies help companies calculate the costs to ensure they remain within budget, they are more likely to avoid settlement problems. Using automation in this capacity will naturally improve all collaboration and reduce how long it may take to achieve ROI.
Reap the Rewards of Automated, Centralized Communications With the Right TMS
Supply chain leaders can reap the many benefits of using an RPA or AI for automated supply chain communications. These include reduced labor costs, increased revenue, predictive maintenance opportunities to avoid out-of-service (OOS) designation, consolidation of tasks, automatic replenishment, and real-time monitoring of sales and distribution. When you think about the possibilities for automating communications in the supply chain, there is no limit. And the streamlined benefits of transitioning to a more sophisticated freight management program will create less stress and assist all logistics levels. At least, your team can unlock the secrets of centralized and automated communications by implementing a robust TMS with the right partner today.