Skipping a Generation: Shifting the Supply Chain on a Faster Track
For more than 15 months now, the pandemic has been a major concern for a large part of the world’s population. From innovative companies and government agencies to healthcare professionals and community leaders, this evolving coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has impacted everyone. The situation has highlighted inequalities in healthcare, amplified weaknesses in global supply chains, and exposed data disconnections and IT inefficiencies that challenge the patterns of asset visibility in each industry.
But, its unprecedented test bed of willing populations has come up with many value propositions that tech marketers had previously pushed into the abstract. In a giant plunge, COVID-19 launched digital domains we’ve been hearing about for decades and firmly forced them into the mainstream.
Developments in distance learning, telemedicine, teleworking and corporate videoconferencing have been pushed from the outskirts to the center of Main Street. Historians will analyze the business, personal and community impacts for decades to come.
Many tipping points have now been forcibly knocked down and tumbled down out of necessity, and we’ll never be back as before. Not all the way back. For better or worse, the multi-year tracks have been condensed into months by the pandemic, and there have been (mixed) results. But there’s also the potential for digital transformations with, in many cases, immature business and technological models taking hold. Imagine how long it would have taken for 100% of any student body to even try distance learning, let alone depend on it for an entire year. It was a glimpse of the future when we weren’t ready for it. But, the potential of these platforms is now obvious and undeniable.
As some economies open up, the global supply chain has been affected and will need time to recover.
The visibility, tracking and asset management systems have been put to the test over the past year. Some companies have grown stronger in these unprecedented times, especially those that had already embarked on strategies of top-down automation and digital transformation. The weaknesses of many supply chains were highlighted and the contributions of frontline workers within their evolving digital landscapes were amplified. Many companies are now ready to take the best of what we have seen under duress and take it to the next level.
Adapt to the transformation of the workforce
From the boardroom to the warehouse to the showroom, newsroom and beyond, the picture has never been clearer. Professionals in logistics, healthcare, construction and housing, information and communications technology, energy, maintenance, retail, public safety, manufacturing and transit were hailed as heroes. But, many saw new opportunities as work from home policies take hold both nationally and globally. They may have new ideas about where they would prefer to work. Or they can feel overworked and underrated like never before.
Those who remain in the logistics and supply chain markets are generally keen to adopt new technologies. Smarter logistics systems powered by commercial artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning enhancements have been introduced to meet spikes in demand for medical supplies and to absorb large increases in online orders and distribution. Employee empowerment that is achievable through the collection of real-time asset data must be shared, just as the workers of tomorrow must be trained and educated throughout their careers. The digital tools that have enabled businesses to succeed over the past year may offer unprecedented precision to catalyze analysis, automation, procurement processing and contribute to the contactless skills inspired by the pandemic as these programs are expanding in the coming years. An Internet of Things (IoT) workforce can focus on customers, while contributing to digital transformation outcomes and real-time asset visibility programs that have been accelerated over the past decade. ‘last year.
Dealing with the corporate data deluge
The growing demand for operational efficiency through a combination of mature, interdependent systems and scalable technologies is driving waves of new data in unprecedented volumes. Compute and storage architectures found in university labs and high-performance computing centers are making their way into the enterprise as cloud data centers are tasked with processing data for advanced analysis and financial modeling tasks. Edge Computing is no longer a concept; it is a requirement that drives companies to deploy local data collection and processing capabilities to feed corporate dashboards with accurate and real-time asset inventories, location information and data. conditional consciousness data driven by sensors.
Advanced analytics and visualization solutions were deployed at the national, state and local levels during the pandemic to monitor the wide range of screening and vaccination programs. These programs offered a mixed vision of the future. Some communities have produced reliable and secure statistics. Others were overwhelmed by manual processes.
IoT, RFID, 5G, AI, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Machine Learning, Industry 4.0, Logistics Management and Asset Tracking Progress will provide insights data in compound volumes as new post-pandemic applications come online. Industry leaders have the benefit of studying the best practices that have emerged over the past year as supply chain stress tests have apparently been carried out on a daily basis.
Deploying the best hardware is only part of the equation. Today’s analytics platforms and evolving enterprise performance management (EPM) software solutions crave real-time asset data. Observability is a sought-after result for contextual asset management applications. And that only happens when IoT and RFID data is made available to the right business systems.
Manage the evolution of IoT
The IoT is coming of age, giving every organization a ramp to increase efficiency and cost savings. But, for all the value that new 5G-enabled IoT devices and applications can bring to the market, fundamental challenges within the ecosystem are still being addressed.
Yesterday’s approaches cannot collectively extend to billions of assets when previously unconnected elements are taken into account. Consumer goods move in and out of the supply chain within months. In a crisis, N95 masks and cleaning supplies have gone from incredibly extreme shortages to mass distribution, traceability and delivery within months. The same paradigms have stressed and taxed the world’s ability to produce and distribute vaccines, and these challenges are ongoing. But, we’ve seen COVID-19-inspired quick turns by companies that had some level of data from IoT-enabled assets feeding information through their analytics and ERP platforms and many now want to see those efficiencies. continue as economies fully open up. They will also expect real-time visibility from their partners.
Nothing has changed and everything has changed. Supply chain and logistics professionals will continue to align their digital transformation strategies to better plan, source, manufacture, deliver and return their products.
A holistic approach to asset visibility for the new era of analytics, AI and machine learning will be enhanced by IoT and RFID working in concert with enterprise platforms to identify, track and trace assets throughout the supply chain. And, not only electronic assets and containers driven by sensors, but also everyday unconnected objects. Company assets and inventory items and consumables. Overcoming the challenges of interconnectivity between the hardware and software platforms that operate and connect to IoT data sources is possible at scale. Many companies have approached the digital transformation bridge as a matter of survival during the pandemic. Going back to a disconnected environment of systems, applications, platforms and assets that cannot provide real-time visibility at the enterprise level is not an option. Aligning enterprise architectures with RFID and sensor-based hardware and software solutions to integrate unconnected elements into redefined hybrid IoT structures is on the agenda.
A clearer vision
Old manual processes simply can’t keep up with the latest developments in the industry, exacerbated by the spikes in demand we’ve seen over the past 12-18 months. Data is crucial for developing more data-driven processes and applying information in near real time. Failure to use available technology and data to guide processes leaves money on the table.
A collapse in demand during the early stages of all global shutdowns was immediately followed by a period of frenetic activity, with people forced to stay at home ordering huge amounts of consumer goods. Service providers are struggling to keep up with demand, which is greater than capacity. This in turn leads to delays and higher costs.
Although many potential problems create disruption, the cause is not as important as the work done before and after an event to mitigate its effects.
To deliver maximum value, you need visibility. It is an essential ingredient for all members of the supply chain to access accurate information in near real time and use it to improve service. For logistics providers, time is running out.
The big competitive differentiators will not only depend on price, but on speed and quality of service.