Respond to Changing Retail Needs with an Intelligent Supply Chain

April 29, 2021 - by Synoptek

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Digital transformation of retail across production, transportation, and customer service has made supply chains extremely complex to manage and maneuver. Responding to changing retail needs with traditionally built supply chains is not only error-prone and time-consuming; it also makes it difficult to keep up with the pace of trends and competition. To drive greater efficiencies at optimized costs, organizations are looking for modern ways and means to ensure daily activities are carried out with utmost precision while delivering maximum margin and profits. And one of the best ways to do this is with an intelligent supply chain.

The Need for an Intelligent Supply Chain

Through the implementation and widespread adoption of modern technologies, an intelligent supply chain helps to optimize various facets of the supply chain to save costs, earn more revenue, increase delivery speed, and get ahead of their competition. Here’s why organizations need an intelligent supply chain:

  • To Improve Supply Chain Efficiency: Through automation of critical processes and reduction of manual intervention, an intelligent supply chain can eliminate the chances of error, thus improving efficiency and boosting annual growth as well as revenue.
  • To Fuel Better Integration: An intelligent supply chain connects people, processes, and technologies, paving the way for improved integration between the various facets of the business. Such an integrated ecosystem allows for better communication, visibility, planning, and analysis, enabling organizations to make decisions based on real-time data scattered across various systems and locations.
  • To Enable Predictive Maintenance: By taking full advantage of digital transformation technologies like AI and ML, an intelligent supply chain can help in paving the way for predictive maintenance; organizations can get insight into faulty of low-performing equipment and take necessary steps to repair or replace them.
  • To Enhance Forecasting: Since an intelligent supply chain management integrates and optimizes all areas of business operation connected networks, organizations can unearth insights from troves of data and vastly improve forecasting and business decision-making.
  • To Boost cost Control and Overall Efficiency: By reimagining various supply chain processes and infusing them with intelligent technologies, an intelligent supply chain can transform conventional approaches to digital approaches – thus improving cost control and overall efficiency.

Leveraging an Intelligent Supply Chain to Improve Business Agility

As retail organizations struggle to react quickly to changing customer priorities, an intelligent supply chain can transform traditional models to improve efficiency, visibility, and control while optimizing decision-making under uncertainty. Through the timely capture and analysis of relevant data generated from different sources, it helps organizations anticipate potential issues, identify bottlenecks, and respond to problems in an optimal way. It also allows them to act on opportunities and drive efforts to capitalize on them. Here’s how an intelligent supply chain can help in responding to changing retail needs:

  • Asset Management: Intelligent asset management can allow organizations to leverage the latest machine learning and analytics technologies to get a comprehensive digital representation of every equipment in the business. Using intelligent technologies, organizations can monitor and assess the performance of assets, ensure safe operations, and reduce costs while sharing updated asset information as and when needed. They can also ensure assets are always updated and secured and are resilient enough to accommodate change in today’s increasingly dynamic business environment.
  • Inventory Management: Using technologies like AI can allow retail organizations to get a real-time view of actual demand and make accurate predictions about the future. Such insight into future demand can help in optimizing stock levels as well as the costs of storing and managing this inventory in the warehouse. Organizations will be in a better position to manage orders faster while delivering products quickly and shortening lead times for customers. Since organizations will no longer be incurring costs of holding inventory beyond its use, they can free up cash as well as storage space and enhance the potential for long-term savings.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Applying intelligence to the supply chain also has the capability to detect patterns of malfunction before their effects become evident in equipment performance. Intelligent technologies can constantly monitor equipment performance and health, carry out remote diagnostics, and pave the way for predictive maintenance via analysis of the continuous stream of data generated from equipment. Since organizations will no longer be struggling with low- or non-performing equipment, they will be in a better position to respond to the changes happening in the business environment.
  • Fleet Management: Intelligent technologies can also set the foundation of connected fleets, so retail organizations can have better clarity and visibility into where their trucks are at any given point in time. They can allow enterprises and operators to effectively monitor large-scale fleets, adjust shipments, and optimize delivery routes based on real-time customer needs or traffic conditions, thus maintaining delivery schedules and ensuring customer satisfaction.
  • Warehouse Automation: Intelligent supply chain management is also transforming the traditional warehouses through the introduction of widespread automation. Technologies like AI, AR, and VR in the picking and packing processes can help streamline and optimize warehouse activities – while increasing efficiency and reducing time from shelf to delivery. As business and customer needs constantly change, such automation can allow retailers to shorten delivery times and keep up with the promises they’ve made to customers.

The foundation of any successful business lies in how robust and resilient its supply chain is. Since a supply chain system touches every point of the retail operation, if you want to boost efficiency, visibility, and reliability of your supply chain and keep up with changing needs with increased agility and reduced costs, you need to build an intelligent supply chain using technologies like AI, BI, ML, AR, VR, and data analytics. An intelligent supply chain can not only aid in efficient asset, inventory, and fleet management; it can also help in automating warehouse operations and ensuring your systems are working in tandem with changing retail needs.