A corporation can reduce the amount of physical labour necessary to carry out specific business operations by integrating machine learning, artificial intelligence, and digital process automation into the supply chain.
Automation through supply chain software refers to using technological solutions to carry out or speed up those activities without human involvement, attention, or labour.
The following are some types of supply chain automation-
- Automated Data Collection
Data automation may significantly improve corporate operations when companies need to save costs wherever they can.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and other comparable technologies can be used by data capture automation to extract information from digital or scanned documents. You can repeat this process in seconds with as many records as you have.
- Automated warehouse
Due to warehouse robotics’s various advantages, like higher efficiency and order accuracy, businesses are investing in them (55% of them, to be exact). They also lessen workplace injuries brought on by mishaps or exhaustion because robots do the literal heavy lifting.
Collaborative robots, intelligent forklifts, automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), autonomous cars, automated sortation systems, and other devices are all included in warehouse automation.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT devices have the ability to communicate data, track stored products, and report on their position and status. They are used by supply chain managers to minimise paperwork and track the movement of commodities. They are especially helpful in the food and retail industries for tracking products susceptible to temperature or humidity changes.
Even though IoT devices need wireless networks (WiFi, Bluetooth) and skilled personnel to function effectively, the potential ROI (optimising stocks and decreasing waste) makes the investment worthwhile.
- Analytical modelling
While modern supply chain management takes a proactive stance, traditional supply chain management often takes a reactive stance while anticipating client requirements. This is where predictive analytics uses data analysis to predict future trends. Demand forecasting, pricing strategy, and inventory management are just a few applications for this rising popular automation technology.
Automating the supply chain can seem like a tedious task, but if done in a step-by-step approach, the transition can be undertaken smoothly, The following are some steps involved in the automation of supply chain management:
- Locate automation opportunities- The first step in finding automation opportunities is to analyse and assess the current business processes. An in-depth examination of everyday operations to identify outmoded procedures and areas for improvement will be possible through a workflow analysis.
This step aims to automate where necessary and streamline manual processes to increase efficiency. After the supplier-to-customer flow of operations has been diagrammed, inefficiencies can be found and analysed while keeping the requirement for automation in mind.
- Identify the opportunities that you will process-
Opportunities for automation can be identified once a workflow analysis of all business activities has been performed, and priorities have been set depending on the cost to the company.
Challenges with compliance, security, employee utilisation, customer service, manual chores, and work delays are examples of potential opportunities.
- Make a detailed plan for success-
After completing the first two steps, it’s essential to develop a thorough plan considering the new procedures that automation will enable. Here, automating processes that will significantly impact costs and resources is crucial. The use of technology, notably ERP software, which offers seamless automation and integration with fundamental company operations, including client orders, operation scheduling, and inventory management, is essential to an automation project.
- Evaluation of performance-
An evaluation plan created in combination with an implementation strategy is a necessary component of a successful supply chain automation process. Establishing standards will help define what success should imply for each automation area. When assessing supply chain activities, one should consider worker productivity, material costs and overheads, operating costs, labour costs, and sales numbers.
The productivity of your resources will be determined by finding a good automation partner, which is essential to the long-term success of your company. Determine what the primary goal of your relationship will be before you decide on a partner. Will it be a one-time project, a software implementation, or a system build? Determine the needs of your project first. You can ensure that your potential is realised by doing this.
However, you can quickly prepare your supply chain management for the next level by realising that you can never automate everything and that adding automation software does not entail replacing your present processes by undertaking a supply chain transformation. In short, getting ready to automate certain aspects of your supply chain management is a process that is far too frequently put off because it appears impossible.