Supply chains have been through tremendous upheaval over the past few years and show the potential to descend back into turmoil at any time. Following the last few difficult years of the pandemic-era shipping crises, shippers have accelerated supply chain technology adoption during this period of relative calm. When the next crisis comes, they will be ahead of the game.
From Logistics Management,
“According to Koray Köse, senior director and analyst for Supply Chain Research and Advisory at Gartner, 99% of organizations plan to invest in emerging technologies over the next five years…Citing a recent Gartner “Supply Chain Technology User Wants and Needs Survey,” Köse says that the key drivers behind these initiatives include the need to support new business/operating models (for 36% of companies), improve resiliency and agility (35%), and enhance decision making (35%).”
Shippers and customers turn to innovative supply chain technology to take control of their supply chains, prepare for the next crisis, save money, and gain efficiency.
Digital supply chain management is at the heart of nearly all of the advancements adopted by shippers to transform how they approach their operations.
Let’s talk about digital supply chain management and how it advances shippers’ best interests.
What is Digital Supply Chain Management?
Digital supply chain management is supply chain management that utilizes an added layer of digital technologies to rewrite how supply chains perform. The technologies included in these advanced platforms include:
- Predictive analytics used to forecast demand, analyze previous performance, and optimize inventory levels
- Automated ordering and replenishment
- Robots for picking and assembly
- Internet of Things (IoT) technology to track freight locations and conditions
The digital supply chain brings standardized and integrated processes using technology to place, source, make, and deliver products and services to users. The benefits are tremendous and transformative to the organization.
- New digital technologies, such as analytics, automation, and IoT, improve efficiency across the entire supply chain.
- A digital supply chain provides uninterrupted visibility from the start to the end of a company’s supply chain, enabling real-time visibility and push notification of exceptions that enhance decision-making and communications for all stakeholders.
- With the benefits of more accurate forecasting, better quality control, quicker response times, and improved customer service, shippers take control of their supply chains instead of being controlled by them.
What Does the Digital Transformation in Supply Chain Management Mean for Shippers in 2023?
Meeting the imperative of digitizing supply chains increases supply chain resilience and dramatically promotes growth. A McKinsey study showed that the average supply chain only has a digitization level of 43%, yet shows that companies that aggressively digitize their supply chains boost annual earnings growth by a tremendous 3.2%.
That level of earnings growth is rarely found in other logistics investments.
A Gartner study from 2021 predicted that 50% of global product-centric enterprises would invest in real-time transportation visibility, but that prediction is yet to come to pass. The 2022 McKinsey study showed that only 2% of the surveyed executives were putting the supply chain at the forefront of their digital strategies despite the expressed desire to transform through technology.
The tremendous potential of digitalization in supply chain management and logistics goes unrealized for too many. Shippers that take a first mover position, enhance their customer service, moving them to preferred partner status.
Supply chains have always left shippers little control over exceptions and poor communications capabilities. The pandemic resulted in a complete lack of control, becoming much of the force beyond run-away inflation. Visibility, AI, enhanced communication, and digital management have returned more than just pre-pandemic levels of control; they have enabled shippers with what would have been considered supply chain superpowers in the past. That new level of control provides them with exceptional return on investment (ROI).
IoT is notable and has been a game changer across industries, with hospitals as one industry adopting rapidly to alleviate the logistics disaster they experienced at the height of COVID. With so many logistics challenges experienced across industries during the pandemic, IoT adoption grew by 8% in 2021 to 12.2 billion active endpoints.
Just as IoT improved hospital emergency room operations to serve patients better, it has given shippers unprecedented supply chain management capabilities. Shippers empowered with IoT supply chain solutions track and monitor the movement and condition of shipments. They constantly know the location of their freight and whether it remains in a deliverable state.
IoT endpoints collect and transmit data automatically, whereas other devices only do so at intervals or when prompted by the user. The data collected is more robust than other methods and collected and compiled for each container. Monitoring includes such valuable tools as temperature and humidity monitoring to protect temperature-sensitive cargo.
With IoT, shippers see, share, and react to exceptions immediately.
Three digital supply chain solutions driving the transportation industry forward
Technical advancement often sounds like an organizational challenge, but it needn’t be. Adding an API to an existing tech stack isn’t disruptive, and its use is streamlined and intuitive. Shippers that take an aggressive approach to expand their use of technology have access to three mission-critical solutions.
Real-time visibility across the entire supply chain gives shippers unprecedented control. The crisis of pandemic and post-pandemic port performance has finally cleared, resulting in a 90% decrease in shipping rates.
Despite returning to normal operations, shippers realize that normal port operations aren’t enough. The new focus on visibility data gives shippers ways to avoid demurrage and detention charges, identify weak links, up their customer service game with expanded communication options, and increase overall efficiency.
Shippers enacting real-time visibility now have seen the tremendous expenses incurred during the supply chain crisis and are prepared to counter the next one.
Transform raw data into actionable insights
Post-pandemic, shippers began the hunt for more supply chain data, but raw data alone changes little. The standardization, compilation, and presentation of the data through supply chain analytics provide actionable insights and a working view across the entire supply chain.
Data from disparate sources is often totally different. Supply chain digital analytics software standardizes and simplifies the data before compiling it. By presenting hundreds of thousands of data points in an easy-to-digest manner, analytics help shippers see past performances and carrier scorecards to inform current and future operations.
Armed with new actionable insights and the KPIs that matter to their operations, they know where supply chain weak links reside and which carriers outperform. Port performance, ground carriers, and air carriers are all evaluated, and KPIs inform them of inefficiencies plaguing their supply chains, of which they need to be made aware.
APIs are game-changers for shippers, moving them away from the days when shippers, freight forwarders, and BCOs were left manually tracking freight movements. These digital supply chain management solutions integrate with their existing tech stacks enabling them to receive automatic updates when standardized milestones are met, or exceptions occur. Carrier ETAs are made available automatically.
Integration allows for information to be pushed to other relevant systems. Exception alert APIs relay exception information and also evaluate the causes.
With API integration, now easy-to-integrate add-ons to meet specific shipper needs, add even more magnified results as required. Some of those add-ons include:
- Enhanced location visibility
- Enhanced terminal visibility
- Vessel verification
- U.S. Customs data
- Vessel tracking and live ETAs
The Challenge of Digital Supply Chain Management
Digital supply chains keep growing in their use to improve efficiency and supply chain resilience throughout the transportation industry. While the benefits are transformative, some challenges do stand in the way of their implementation when undertaken in-house.
- Lack of in-house expertise: To implement in-house requires a team of experts that can adapt the current tech stack. Additionally, subject matter experts are needed to help guide shippers through the implementation and operations of digitized supply chains that aren’t always user optimized. Kinks must be worked out throughout the platform’s use, often being a cause for frustration.
- The steep initial cost of in-house technology: While returning a good ROI and giving shippers greater supply chain control, new in-house technology does have considerable upfront costs.
- Difficulty turning raw data into actionable analytics in-house: A system that collects data but doesn’t efficiently convert it and adequately present it has meager value. An in-house implementation leaves the possibility of tremendous amounts of low-value raw data when those tasked with implementation don’t understand how to track and present needed KPIs.
These challenges are easily and cost-effectively overcome when partnering with a world-class digital supply chain partner. A partner that knows how to integrate their API effectively, keep costs low, and ensure raw data becomes actionable ups the ROI game, making the organizational transformation inexpensive, quick, effective, and genuinely beneficial.
Face the Future Fearlessly with Digital Supply Chain Management From Vizion API
The pandemic was a source of true supply chain crises that have become learning opportunities and chances for shippers to create supply chain resilience and take control. Digitization of their supply chains creates previously unthought-of efficiencies, takes customer service to the next level, and delivers an industry-leading ROI.
Shippers committed to aggressive supply chain management digital transformation to fortify their operations before the next crisis, see immediate returns and gain a competitive edge.
Partnering with Vizion API removes the challenges that come with in-house implementation. The integration cost is tremendously reduced with an API already configured for optimal visibility and game-changing analytics. The expertise is left to a partner that specializes in digitization. They provide a platform designed to be user-friendly and immediately transformative.
Shippers taking an aggressive approach with the right partner realize supply chain digitization without the kinks, costs, or difficulties. This transformation produces returns to them of incredible revenue gains, world-class customer service, and efficiency through supply chain control they never knew was possible. When the next crisis presents itself, they are ready.
Vizion API makes world-class digitized supply chains a reality for shippers. Now is the time to be aggressive about tech implementation to bring control over shippers’ supply chains.
Book a demo with Vizion API today, and we will show you the benefits supply chain control and resiliency bring to your operations.