Supply chain management professionals are being asked to do more than ever before: more accuracy, more speed, more customization, and all for less money. To respond to these demands, supply chain digitization has emerged as a main method by which supply chains can be optimized.
Automation technology must be integrated throughout the supply chain to prevent hiccups and slow-down moments. For instance, when Amazon can keep the customer updated on delivery information as it happens, there has to be an integrated system that automatically sends updates or changes the tracking status of a shipment every time it passes a new checkpoint. If they were working with dated technology or multiple non-integrated tools, millions of shipments would be affected and they would not have the reputation for accuracy that has made them industry leaders.
The use of APIs, or application programming interfaces, allows many companies to create synchronized data and delivery systems that were impossible before modern computing. Companies like Postmates use APIs to connect a network of delivery systems with companies who want to be able to offer same day deliveries; the API does the heavy lifting to make sure that the right courier gets the right parcel and scanning parcels along the way ensures an amazing degree of accuracy.
As digitization progresses, you can expect to see artificial intelligence factored in even further, as well as wearable technology that makes better use of human resources and helps them accomplish their supply chain tasks with even greater efficiency. At the same time, more and more supply chain work will be done not only digitally, but on mobile devices, enabling a professional workforce in supply chain management that can be innovating on the move.
The biggest opposition to digitization is upfront cost; many businesses are slow to change their infrastructure because, in that transition period, everything slows down and mistakes can be made. That being said, SimpliShip has made managed services and API integration our business, going so far as to offer our own shipping marketplace that works internationally. Don't let the daunting giants of industry intimidate with their current systems; digitizing your supply chain is not only possible but will create enormous leaps in accuracy and productivity in the next few years.