The Emergence of Disruptive Supply Chain Technologies in 2018

Developments in technology are moving at an exponential rate. In fact, several of them, including the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and blockchain have matured and stabilized enough to be used in industrial settings in the last five years.

Several of these applications drive the competitive advantage for supply chains globally. Embracing a complex web of aspects like product tracking, fraud detection, end-to-end visibility, settlements, productivity, compliance, employee safety, and delivery speed, the following key trends are enabling change and agility in the supply chain ecosystem around the world:

  1. Traceability and authentication:

Although positioned at the end of the supply chain maturity curve, blockchain holds promise vis à vis certain supply chain management functions like smart contracts, traceability, and authentication. Blockchain is bound to make product tracking simplified and streamlined, starting from the place of origin, quality chain, and the location where the product is sold. It easily captures the key details about a product, including the design, sourcing, manufacturing, distribution, sales, and usage. This gives companies a clear path for a root cause analysis and process optimization.

2. Creating value-add through the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT):

An increasing number of supply chain domains are adopting the IoT for activities such as sourcing, manufacturing, logistics, preventative maintenance, managing customer demand, and enhancing customer services.

3. Enhancing employee and customer digital experiences through immersive technologies:

With widespread usage within the supply chain domains, AR, VR, and mixed reality enable better experiences for the employee as well as for customers. Imagine the possibility of monitoring production lines remotely or enhancing purchasing choices for customers through product visualization or store layout and planning. Interesting, isn’t it?

4. Artificial Intelligence and advanced data analytics will make supply chains more proactive:

Taking advantage of future opportunities and mitigating risks in a supply chain ecosystem is only possible if companies efficiently deploy the newer technologies. Promising to revolutionize the supply chain processes, AI and data analytics will be game changers when it comes to taking effective data-driven business decisions on predictions and customer demands.

5. The coexistence of physical and digital workers:

Chatbots and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) are no newbies in the world of technology. Yet, their use in the realm of the supply chain is gaining traction even as we speak. Enhancing the productivity of human workers, these technologies enable the easy automation of complicated tasks like order and payments processing, email communications, and inventory management.

Global supply chains are complex ecosystems, to say the least. Fueled by the fierce competition and continually emerging innovations, it makes perfect business sense for companies to comprehend and the complete essence of trending technologies and employ the knowledge to further efficiencies in the supply chain management.



Meet the Author

Rajendran headshot

Rajendran Nair

Chief Marketing Officer
Rajendran has over two decades in enterprise software in roles ranging from development to product management to marketing. He was most recently at Rootstock, the leading ERP for Manufacturing on the Salesforce platform. At Rootstock, he was responsible for driving topline, streamlining sales and marketing operations, and substantially increasing market awareness including favorable positioning in four major analyst reports.