Supply chains are evolving in the face of greater customer demand, soaring expectations, and endless purchasing opportunities. Retailers, manufacturers and third-party logistics companies are having to move quicker and produce more with shorter turnarounds and greater transparency. Companies are digitizing their supply chains to meet these new challenges, but this alone isn’t enough to answer the questions businesses are asking every day: what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next quarter?
An autonomous supply chain can help businesses respond with immediacy and decisiveness. This technology is designed to deliver on-demand, navigate disruptions months in advance and help keep your business ahead of any changes in customer buying behavior. The three core tenants for an autonomous supply chain are:
Reading the signals
The more information a business has access to and uses, the more it can help understand any changes in supply and demand. In the past, the main challenge was having the processing capability necessary to collect reliable data and harness it to represent the realities of changing conditions. The capacity to measure and recognize external conditions is critical to predicting supply and demand. The autonomous supply chain requires a significant increase in external signals, which relies on the reporting of evolving climate and market conditions in real time.
So how can you read the signals? Using artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and IoT, you can manage and interpret signals such as weather events, temperatures jeopardizing fresh products and any online social trends influencing customer demand. Businesses need to make use of as many signals as possible, because if dimensions are missing it will difficult to get a clear picture.
It sees everything
To truly understand their entire supply chain, businesses need to manage the complexity and volume of intelligence — billions of pieces of information that are time-stamped with their own varying amounts of information. Let’s set the stage: imagine sensors inside a lorry, which is on its way to deliver fresh goods to a grocery retailer. Sensors are able to detect the temperature inside and outside of the lorry, the speed it is travelling at, and if there are any road works which will slow the delivery down. Every detail is pinpointed with time and date stamps.