The astonishing number of technologies enabling today’s modern supply chains is truly impressive. It’s not just a few new technologies, but rather dozens that are transforming supply chain operations as well as improving dramatically the world’s standard of living. Undeniably, logistics technology has redefined our lifestyles and will continue to do so in the future. Indeed, it is the key enabler that provides us the luxury of shopping from home, same-day delivery services, and seamless access to a multitude of goods and services.
In this article, I’ll delve into the vast array of logistics technology enablers and trends transforming supply chains. Additionally, I’ll examine with you how these groundbreaking innovations impact various supply chain functions. In particular, these trending technologies are changing how supply chain leaders approach supply sourcing, planning, eCommerce fulfillment, warehousing, trucking, supply chain visibility, freight bill auditing & payment, and even automation of supply chain decision flows. So, please enjoy this article and let it guide you towards crucial technologies and resources to improve your own supply chain operation.
- A. Supplier Sourcing Tech Trends: AI And Data Analytics Game-Changers.
- B. Supply Chain Planning (SCP) Trends In Logistics Technology.
- C. eCommerce And Order Fulfillment Logistics Technology Trends.
- D. Warehousing Tech Trends: Smart Robotics Transforming Operations.
- E. Transportation Technology: 9 Innovations Remaking The Trucking Industry.
- F. Visibility And Tracking Logistics Technology Trends.
- G. Freight Bill Auditing And Payment: Ideas To Leverage Technology And Streamline Processing.
- H. Decision Intelligence Tech: A New Type Of Computerization That Automates Decision Flows.
A. Supplier Sourcing Tech Trends: AI And Data Analytics Game-Changers.
Supplier sourcing systems enable organizations to gather and analyze data on potential suppliers, aiding in informed decision-making. In particular, these systems facilitate supplier relationship management by providing a centralized platform for communication and collaboration. In many cases, both supplier sourcing and managing suppliers can be a very manual process.
Absolutely, the biggest technology-based game-changers for strategic supplier sourcing is data analytics and AI-powered autonomous negotiations. Further, both of these technology solutions hold unlimited possibilities to streamline the drudgery and due diligence work of sourcing suppliers. Additionally, these solutions offer the opportunity for companies to get the best mix of suppliers. Lastly, these technologies minimize risks and chokepoints in the supply chain. To detail, see below for more information on these technology capabilities.
Supplier Sourcing Tech Trends
- AI-Powered Autonomous Negotiations. This technology assists businesses by doing the research to identify viable suppliers. Further, it employs chatbots to work with and negotiate with potential suppliers. Finally, it can then negotiate contract terms that are important to both the company and the supplier, reaching a mutually beneficial agreement. For example, see Pactum’s AI that is capable of conducting conversational and highly detailed negotiations over legal and commercial terms fully autonomously.
- Data Analytics. In the age of eCommerce and global supply chains, no business succeeds by themselves. In particular, a strong supplier network is key for success and to minimize risks. So, this is why increasingly it is key for companies to leverage data analytics when sourcing suppliers. Further, companies need to have a data-centric mindset and use key performance indicators (KPI) when sourcing suppliers. To detail, key supplier sourcing KPIs include contract compliance, service performance, product quality, and risk mitigation. For more on supplier sourcing KPIs and data analytics, see my article, Benefits Of Cultivating Long-Term Strategic Supplier Partnerships.
B. Supply Chain Planning (SCP) Trends In Logistics Technology.
Supply Chain Planning Tech Trends: 1) Data Analytics; 2) Decision Intelligence
Supply chain planning systems are used to plan and optimize the entire supply chain, from procurement to production to distribution. Specifically, these systems typically include features such as demand forecasting, inventory planning, and production scheduling.
As new technology is introduced such as smart robotics, AI automation, and same day delivery software platforms, planners need to account for these new variables. This includes both risks and opportunities. So, one of the biggest technology enablers for supply chain planning is data analytics. For example, data analytics continues to improve in the areas of predictive analytics, real-time analysis, and proactive alerts. For more detail on how data analytics is transforming SCP, see my article, Supply Chain Planning: Data Analytics Advice That Will Result In A Better Way. Also in conjunction with data analytics, decision intelligence automation is poised to start automating actual decision flows within supply chain planning.
C. eCommerce And Order Fulfillment Logistics Technology Trends.
Nowadays, eCommerce is about a lot more than just having a website and some good shopping cart software. Indeed, eCommerce encompasses the entire online customer experience from click-to-delivery. So, eCommerce technology helps manage and track the process of fulfilling customer orders. In particular, features can include inventory management, order processing, and shipping and managing the delivery experience to include customer service. Below are key trending technologies for eCommerce. To detail, see below for a list of key eCommerce tech trends and additional resources to explore these technologies.
9 Trending eCommerce Technology Innovations
- eCommerce Cloud-Based Software Platforms To Integrate Workflows And 3rd Party Software.
- Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots For Customer Service.
- Mobile Wallets and Seamless Payments To Increase Sales.
- Social Media eCommerce Automation To Enhance Marketing.
- Business Intelligence (BI) For Advanced Analytics and Data-driven Insights.
- Personalization Automation to Enhance Marketing And Customer Experience.
- Omnichannel Retailing Automation To Offer Customers A Seamless Experience.
- Intelligent Robotics To Streamline Order Fulfillment.
- Fast and Flexible Delivery Options Powered By eCommerce Automation.
For more details and examples on eCommerce and order fulfillment trends, see my article, 9 New Trends In eCommerce Automation And Emerging Tech To Better Empower Business.
9 New Trends In eCommerce Automation And Emerging Tech To Better Empower Business.
eCommerce automation goes way beyond having just a website and a decent shopping cart system. In fact, it’s all about the whole online journey of your customers – from the initial click to the moment their order arrives at their doorstep. eCommerce tech plays a huge role in managing and monitoring each step of completing customer orders.
Indeed, eCommerce automation involves handling inventory, processing orders, taking care of shipping, and ensuring top-notch customer service. By embracing eCommerce automation, businesses can streamline their workflows, cut costs, and increase customer satisfaction. Click here to check out these 11 hot trends in the world of eCommerce automation!
D. Warehousing Tech Trends: Smart Robotics Transforming Operations.
Warehouse Tech Trends: Smart and Autonomous Robotics
Warehouse systems are used to manage the movement and storage of goods within a warehouse or distribution center. They typically include features such as inventory tracking, order fulfillment, and labor management.
Now, smart robots are the key logistics technology trend for warehouse operations. In particular, these advanced robots are equipped with artificial intelligence and sensors. As a result these smart robots can navigate through warehouses, identify and retrieve items, and even collaborate with human workers.
For example, Amazon’s fulfillment centers employ hundreds of thousands of smart robots. Initially, their first smart robots were called “drive units” that autonomously move shelves of products to human workers for order fulfillment. As a result, these robots not only increase efficiency and accuracy but also reduce the risk of injuries and improve overall warehouse operations. Moreover, now warehouse robots are increasingly becoming more autonomous and able to support more dynamic warehouse tasks. For more information on different types of smart robots, see my article, Warehouse Robots – 7 Types Of Truly Revolutionary Smart Robotics That You Need To Know About.
E. Transportation Technology: 9 Innovations Remaking The Trucking Industry.
Transportation technology consists of both truck automation and fleet management systems (FMS). Specifically, FMS systems are used to manage fleets of vehicles and other assets. Conversely, trucking technology directly augments transportation equipment such as trucks and trailers.
Recently, transportation technology investors have heavily poured money into autonomous vehicle research & development (R&D). To date, this R&D has not resulted in the trucking industry adopting fully-autonomous vehicles. In fact, it may be many years until autonomous technology is fully adopted. However, because of this extensive R&D effort several related transportation technologies are remaking the trucking industry. To detail, below is a list of 9 transportation technologies that are transforming the industry. Indeed, many of them as a direct result of autonomous vehicle R&D. Additionally, see links below for more information on specific trucking technology trends.
9 Trending Trucking Technology Innovations
- Electric Trucks.
- Forward-looking Camera Systems.
- Collision Mitigation.
- Electronic Logging Devices Data.
- Preventative Maintenance Systems.
- Internet Of Things (IoT) Trailer and Freight Status Monitoring.
- Dynamic Routing Systems.
- Autonomous Truck Platooning.
- Fleet Management Apps
Also, for more information on logistics technology trends for the trucking industry, see my article, Trucking Tech – 9 Awesome Innovations That Are Going Mainstream.
“When we talk about ‘smart transportation,’ it is more than moving cargo from A to B. Digitization within transport and logistics means seamless service to our customers, visibility in the supply chain, and driving a more efficient business.”Soren Skou
F. Visibility And Tracking Logistics Technology Trends.
Tracking and visibility systems are data-centric, requiring vast amounts of data. Without a doubt, these tracking systems will only work as intended if the data is complete, accurate, and timely.
Furthermore, supply chain visibility is a tall order in that the tracking source data is in many cases in separate systems. For instance, tracking and delivery experience systems ideally need to pull data real-time from eCommerce platforms, TMS, and transportation carrier systems to provide the actionable information needed. Further, these source data systems have a mishmash of interfaces to include EDI, APIs, SMS, e-mail, and proprietary data transfer interfaces. Lastly, most modern tracking systems use data analytics / data warehouse systems to provide Business Intelligence (BI) reporting and actionable dashboards.
So, supply chain visibility and tracking offer many challenges especially if your supply chain includes many logistics partners. In these cases, one specific technology or tracking platform may not be your “silver bullet” for all your tracking needs. At the same time, continuous improvement is key and there is a high probability that there are specific technologies that can meet your specific tracking needs. To detail, below are key trending technologies for tracking, traceability, and supply chain visibility as well as links to more resources.
9 Trending Tracking Technology Innovations
- Cloud-based Platforms Enable Easier Integration For Supply Chain Visibility.
- Blockchain Provides Traceability Technology For Supply Chains.
- Drones Technology For The Transport Goods And Inventory Visibility.
- 2D And QR Barcodes Able To Store More Data And Increases Interoperability.
- IoT Devices Increases The Capabilities And Durability Of Tracking Technology.
- Real-Time Global Positioning System (GPS) Tracking Technology.
- 5G Broadband Cellular Standard Empowers Real-Time Tracking Technology.
- Augmented Reality (AR) Enables Context For Better Tracking Of Asset Status And Visibility.
- Proactive AI-Power Predictive Analytics Precludes Shipment Delays.
For more details on the latest trends in tracking technologies, see my article, 9 Logistics Tracking Technology Trends: The Best Tech For Better Visibility And Traceability.
9 Logistics Tracking Technology Trends: The Best Tech For Better Visibility And Traceability.
The world of tracking technology is growing and evolving every single year. There’s a whole range of exciting advancements, from cloud systems and blockchain to drones, 2D barcodes, IoT devices, GPS, 5G connectivity, AI, and even augmented reality – just to name a few! Click here to explore 9 cutting-edge trends in tracking technologies. Further I’ll include real-life examples that show how supply chains can enhance visibility and traceability like never before.
G. Freight Bill Auditing And Payment: Ideas To Leverage Technology And Streamline Processing.
Any company that ships their product has a process in place to audit freight bills and pay carriers either manually or assisted by automation. In particular, 3rd parties to include 3rd party logistics (3PL) providers have extensive freight audit and payment systems to manage the process of auditing and paying freight bills. Specifically, these systems typically include features such as invoice validation, rate negotiation, and payment processing. Further, these systems usually have extensive electronic data interchange (EDI), application programming interfaces (API), and electronic funds transfer (EFT) interfaces with major transportation carriers as well as banking systems.
In recent years, advancements in technology have paved the way for alternative methods to audit and pay freight bills. Below are some innovative ways that you can streamline your payment process to pay carriers for their transportation services. Additionally, I have provided additional links to more resources on how to streamline your freight bill audit and pay processes.
8 Innovate Trends In Freight Audit And Payment
- Leverage A 3rd Party Audit & Pay Provider.
- Implement An Automated Freight Payment Systems EDI / APIs.
- Leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) Automation For Invoice Processing Analytics.
- Use Blockchain And Smart Contracts.
- Start Using Instant Payment.
- Use Cryptocurrency As An Alternative Payment Option.
- Simplify Your Freight Payment Terms.
- Streamline By Having Payor Pay Based On Electronic Shipment Manifest And IoT Data Capture.
For more details on leveraging new technology and methodologies to streamline freight bill processing, see my article, Exploring New Technology And Methods As Alternatives To Traditional Freight Invoicing And Payment.
H. Decision Intelligence Tech: A New Type Of Computerization That Automates Decision Flows.
Lastly, decision intelligence (DI) technology is now poised to transform the logistics industry. Indeed, DI software has the potential to dramatically automate decision-making flows, even real-time if needed. In particular, it leverages advanced algorithms, data science, and machine learning to automate decision processes. Further, this groundbreaking tech helps companies make better decisions, optimize decision-making, and streamline operations. To detail the benefits of decision intelligence tech, see my article, Decision Intelligence Tech To Empower Logistics: The Ways This New Automation Is Better.
Decision Intelligence Tech To Empower Logistics: The Ways This New Automation Is Better.
With real-time data analysis and predictive modeling, decision intelligence automation enables supply chain managers to streamline decision flows. In particular, it helps tackle bottlenecks, foresee demand changes, and proactively resolve potential issues. Click here to explore how decision intelligence automation can transform supply chains. This includes 10 unique examples covering everything from planning and sourcing to final delivery and customer service.
For more resources of what’s trending in logistics technology, see Transmetrics’ Top 10 Supply Chain and Logistics Technology Trends, SupplyChainDigital’s Top 10 disruptive supply chain & logistics tech, and OpenLibrary’s Introduction To Logistics – TECHNOLOGY AND LOGISTICS
For more information from Supply Chain Tech Insights, see articles on information technology.
Greetings! As an independent supply chain tech expert with 30+ years of hands-on experience, I take great pleasure in providing actionable insights to logistics leaders. My background includes implementing 100s of innovative solutions using emerging technologies and a data-centric development approach. I have also provided business intelligence (BI) solutions for 1,000s of shippers. For more about me, click here.