Technologies used by supply chain management companies to improve customer support

In today’s competitive environment, there’s far less room for inefficiencies, but the good news is that technology can streamline and improve overall business processes. Rapid transitions are triggered by new technological advances in all industry verticals. Cloud computing, mobile, the Internet of Things (IoT), technologies such as virtual reality, machine learning, and more recently blockchain have all ushered in a new era of customer experiences and expectations. Customers want high-quality selections, safer merchandise, ethical sourcing, accountability, transparency, and faster delivery, as well as flexible methods for acquiring and using products. The click-and-collect paradigm of retail was born out of these technological possibilities.

Supply chains are carrying out the daunting task of managing what is not far from an epic transition to meet the needs of customers and industry. Amazingly, the same set of techniques that enable tighter, more efficient supply chains can also be used to improve customer experience, engagement, and loyalty.

Supply chain management technologies that improve customer service:

Internet of Things (IoT)

Sensors, instrumentation, connectivity and machine learning have come a long way in the past decade. Inexpensive but effective sensors closely monitor and transmit data to the cloud or local edge via a variety of communication paths. Many elements of business processes can be accelerated using machine learning-based conclusions, and problems can be identified and resolved instantly.

IoT is used in the supply chain to track container ships, fleets, product location, and quality tracking. The IoT is used in the factory and on the construction site to locate, manage and remotely control machines.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI has huge business benefits due to its ability to generate correct conclusions from data. AI is an umbrella word for a set of capabilities that process and analyze data, enabling decision-makers to make more informed decisions rather than relying on instinct or precedent. AI is used either to augment human decision-making or to automate specific parts of business processes.

Today’s microprocessors, advanced computing and scientific algorithms, programming tools, and cloud technology make mining this technology a viable option. Artificial intelligence is used in supply chain purchasing, inventory, logistics planning, supplier relations and logistics.

RARV

Until recently, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) were widely used in the entertainment industry. Mixed Reality (MR) is an umbrella term that encompasses the AR and VR spectra. When we superimpose digital information on the physical environment, our interactions with it fundamentally change. We can significantly improve the way we perform a task.

Although RM is still in its infancy, it is gaining momentum and acceptance in the supply chain. Order pickers in some warehouses, for example, use augmented reality to acquire the next good pick of recommendations. A stock picker in a warehouse can be significantly more efficient with AR-guided picking, just as GPS gives us turn-by-turn directions. Field repair technicians use AR to acquire step-by-step repair instructions. A manager can visually monitor and control many places at the same time using virtual reality and instantly obtain the necessary information via IoT data streaming from connected devices, trucks, warehouses, factories and items. This amount of quick access to information for stakeholders is unprecedented.

Robotics

For many decades, robots have been the cornerstone of manufacturing. Robots can now perform a wide range of tasks thanks to recent advances in machine learning and sensing. Many jobs in a warehouse are repetitive and therefore lend themselves perfectly to robot-based automation. Robots are used to transport goods from one section of the warehouse to another for tasks such as pick-and-place.

Additionally, drones equipped with powerful imaging technologies can count inventory of goods in the warehouse much more efficiently and in minutes than humans. In the near future we will also see self-driving curbside vehicles and carriers that will quickly deliver goods to customers.

blockchain

This is a brand new technology that is developing rapidly. Blockchain is a platform, a technical architecture and a method for solving a certain category of problems simultaneously. Blockchain, by combining many concepts from distributed computing, networking, encryption, economics and mathematics, offers us the possibility of creating a common, tamper-proof, shared, confidential and unique version of the truth for all network participants.

Blockchain is being examined (or used) in supply chain tracking of product provenance, product journey, application automation, paperless bill of lading, change of possession, and finance and settlements commercial.

Summary:

The combination of these five innovations helps supply chains reduce costs, minimize waste, reduce risk, reduce loss, improve transparency and increase customer happiness. Although each of these systems can be used independently of the others, their combination offers new levels of efficiency and potential. Taking small steps at the start and growing from there, as with most technology projects, reduces the risk of failure.

Article written by:

Sumit Sharma, Co-Founder, GoBolt

Joseph P. Harris