Efficiency is the key. This sentiment rings especially true for a business' supply chain and logistics. The supply chain refers to the network of stakeholders, resources, information, and processes involved in moving a product from supplier to customer. On the surface it may seem simple enough getting a good from A to B, but dig a little deeper and you will discover that the supply chain is a complex system, with many moving parts involved. Effective management of this supply chain is paramount, as value is added at every step.
Continual refinement and optimisation of a business' supply chain is a key component in reducing costs, increasing outputs, developing positive customer relations and improving profitability.

As of late, there has been even greater focus on streamlining the supply chain due to increasing customer pressure. There is a growing expectation from consumers and businesses to have their goods delivered almost immediately after they have been ordered, for little to no cost. If a business is able to provide this, then they may be able to establish some serious competitive advantage. However, achieving this requires management to frequently  go through their supply chain with a fine-toothed comb, find points of improvement, and integrate new processes and technology to enhance and strengthen the chain.

The significance of having a well-oiled supply chain and seamless logistics system is widely recognised, so there are constantly new trends emerging and being adopted to evolve the system and ensure that performance is ideal.

Here are some ways to enhance a business' supply chain and logistics system.

Big Data
Big data is an important element in optimising a business' supply chain. The growing use of technology throughout the supply chain, has enabled the collection incredible volumes of real-time data. However, the true value of big data is found in the insights that are derived from the analysis of this information. For example, big data that is collected surrounding customer orders, such as geography, products ordered, time, etc., can help inform better decision-making on demand forecasting, production and distribution scheduling, inventory planning, etc.
Big data helps to enhance the contextual intelligence of businesses, by revealing issues that need to be troubleshooted, as well as patterns and trends that can be leveraged to maximise supply chain activities.

Automation, Robots & Autonomous Vehicles
Automation is the future. It is becoming increasingly common for various points along the supply chain to be automated, or executed by robots. This is because there are a number of tasks within the supply chain that are necessary, but simple, repetitive, and/or dangerous. These tasks, when automated or outsourced to a robot, can help to drastically reduce staffing costs, improve accuracy and consistency, and increase output levels.
The automation of many supply chain roles, allows businesses to stay agile, boost efficiency, and future-proof their supply chain.
Automation is transforming the supply chain, and with many businesses recognising the benefits that it can bring, this practice will become commonplace.

Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things refers to the network of physical devices that are connected to the internet, and able to collect and share data. With cloud and  tracking technology advancing, businesses are able to increasingly digitise their supply chain by connecting, previously disconnected technologies.
These internet enabled devices, fitted with sensors and controllers, boost the visibility of supply chain activities, allow management to gain a richer understanding of their operations, and raise productivity. Incorporating the IoT into the supply chain will also enable management to take the best course of action for the lowest possible cost, thanks to the greater depth of information that these devices can provide.

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