If a supply chain is stuck in the past, utilizing digital tools to take data collection and inventory control to the next level should be high on the priority list. According to Forbes, many supply chains fail to embrace the new technology that other departments within a company update continually. Because the basic process of pick, pack and ship has remained fairly static, managers may miss how improved technology can create a more efficient and profitable supply chain.
Why it's the Right Time for Technology
While some industrial processes have remained the same, there is a benefit to adding new technology when it's available . This provides an incredible opportunity to begin redesigning supply chains with end-to-end processes that embrace the needs of the consumer.
Before newer barcode technology, the idea of mobile data collection that connected with ERP systems in real time would have been unheard of. For many companies, early forms of this technology would've been too costly. However, as prices for equipment have fallen, it is more cost-effective than the time, space and employee skills that are wasted creating paper trails for each inventory item and order. Furthermore, that paper trail is harder to sort through when information about an order is needed but not available in real time.
New Technology is Available for Processes Throughout the Supply Chain
Mobile data collection allows for the real-time collection of data at almost any point in the supply chain. It is one of the most exciting technologies for supply chain managers because it provides a broader view of what occurs among suppliers and distributors. However, other technologies used in the warehouse are also gaining ground:
- Voice picking software: Systems that allow workers to use voice-activated commands to input data improve safety and efficiency and reduce errors by nearly 100 percent.
- Automated data collection: Increasing the number of data collection points within the supply chain improves the accuracy of the information.
Managers may have different reasons for refraining from implementing new technology, but an analysis of current costs matched with the savings of new technology may change their minds. Others may have to convince executives of the potential of an end-to-end supply chain supported by new technology. Whatever the case, the majority of supply chain managers should start pushing for more technology.