As the world advances and our transportation needs increase, so does the need for innovative supply chain efficiencies. Keep reading to learn about some of the supply chain trends taking hold in 2017.
Corporate-level social responsibility is now commonplace in the business world. Consumers want to know more about product supply chain lifecycles as they become more self-aware of their impact on the environment. They want to know where the raw materials are sourced, how the products are made, and what methods are used during transportation. Suppliers also want to create more sustainable supply chains, so they’re able to brand their products as eco-friendly.
Thanks to customer and supplier demand, distributors are beginning to build more transparency into their business model. Doing so allows them to work with forward-thinking, environmentally-friendly suppliers, increase profits, and build stronger brand profiles.
Automation and Robotics
Robotics have been prevalent in the automotive industry for years. Now, distributors are looking to incorporate autonomous robot technology into assembly-line warehouse environments.
Materials handling equipment (MHE) companies are beginning to introduce these innovations into warehouses. Today, you’ll see things like robotic forklift trucks moving products and automated machines packing items for shipment.
Robotic pickers are next on the horizon. Eventually, technology will be sophisticated enough to program robots to find specific items and bring them to the packing floor. At that point, robotic workers will be a boon for distribution centers worldwide.
There are so many pilot programs for driverless vehicles that we are sure to see some major gains soon. We already see companies, such as Anheuser Busch, testing out long hauls with an “almost” driverless truck. So it stands to reason that these developments will not take a backseat in our technological revolution anytime soon.
Companies across the world are eager for this trend to move forward, as they recognize the advantages they could gain. A driverless truck can save distributors money on fuel and labor while making the roads safer.
More Integrated Management
The Internet of Things (IoT) still has a spot in supply chain trends. With computer connectivity through cloud-based software, distribution companies have streamlined operations throughout their warehouses, accounting departments, and suppliers for a more seamless supply chain process.
In addition, real-time data and virtual technologies are making their way into distribution environments. Integrated computer network systems instantly provide information to workers, which helps them increase productivity. Meanwhile, business owners are making better operational decisions that allow their companies to grow.
Logistics and supply chain trends are constantly evolving. The four innovations discussed above are just a few that have taken hold in 2017. We eagerly anticipate what we’ll see in years to come.