Supply Chain Technology Trends: A Mid-2020 Review

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An American company’s standing in the global economy has always depended on supply chain management techniques. Now, with the pandemic, companies are realizing the need to improve their supply chain management

One way to do that is to study what the big companies are doing. For example, one must look at what makes Coca Cola’s supply chain and logistics so great

Another way is to be aware of and adopt new technologies.

Exciting new advancements in the field of logistics and supply chain management happen every year. Businesses that stay on top of these trends and take advantage of them before others earn a huge advantage over their competitors.

Don’t let this potential advantage slip away. You want to do better than your competitors, don’t you?

But for that, you need to adopt advanced supply chain technologies and tweak your business or operation model.

Here are 10 of the most significant trends of the year in supply chain management:

1. Geofencing Technology

Having employees manually check in and check out can take a lot of time.

Geofencing automates this process. It records when a driver enters and leaves a designated area, and it even alerts dispatchers when a driver deviates from their route. If a driver does deviate, a push notification can be sent directly to their smartphone to quickly get them back on track. 

Route4Me estimates that if you have 100 drivers visiting 100 locations in one day, geofencing would save you 55 hours of work. That’s equivalent to the cost of paying seven extra drivers every day.  Vehicle route planning software that comes with geofencing will save you a ridiculous amount of money. 

With geofencing, you can also create an application that sends customers real-time notifications for estimated delivery arrivals. This feature usually cost extra, though. A more affordable (but just as effective) alternative solution is routing software. It has a GPS tracking feature that allows you to see your drivers’ activities in real-time, so you can predict estimated delivery times accurately.

Making your delivery times more accurate is a great way to improve customer satisfaction, and more satisfied customers means you make more money. 

2. Predictive Maintenance

Bring proactive rather than reactive will save you a lot of time. This involves an increased focus in scheduled maintenance to look for pending equipment failures. Frequent maintenance checks will help you avoid unexpected breakdowns and expensive repairs.

Sometimes, the most expensive aspect of a breakdown is that a custom part is required for the fix, and the supplier is unable to fill the order for this part right away. In this case, you’re losing money from all the work you could be doing with the broken-down truck, in addition to all the money you lose from the cost of the fix itself. 

Predictive maintenance prevents such delays. It also increases driver safety, reduces maintenance labor costs, tightens controls on repair part inventories, and makes vehicle lifetimes longer.

3. Mobile-Friendly Workforce

Mobile apps are becoming increasingly easy to create and use. With these apps, the physical boundaries between your drivers and your office is becoming less and less of an issue. 

These apps improve the lives of both fleet managers and customers. Fleet managers can use them to make sure their drivers are performing up to par. Customers can use them to keep track of where their packages are and when they’ll arrive.

A mobile-friendly workforce makes the job of being a fleet manager easier, and it makes customers happier. It’s no wonder why this one of the biggest trends in supply chain management of 2016.

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RELATED: Why Your Competitors Have No Lazy Employees (and How GPS Tracking Helps Them)

4. Customers Want More

The huge leaps made in logistics technology over the past few years is mostly a blessing, but it’s also kind of a curse, too.

Customers are aware that this technology exists. They expect to know exactly where their packages are, every mile of the way.

By keeping up with the latest trends, you’re able give your customers what they want. And you better give them what they want, because with the internet and the eCommerce industry as developed as it is today, it’s pretty easy for a customer to find and start using one of your competitor’s services if they’re not happy with you.

To satisfy your customers, while being cost-effective, you can use benchmarking.

5. Drone Delivery

There has been talk of using drones to deliver goods for years now. Large American corporations, such as FedEx and Amazon, have already tested the idea.

At the moment, Amazon seems the closest at turning this idea into a reality with their Amazon Prime Air project.

RELATED: Delivery Drones Will Now Use the Ground to Transport Goods

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) keeps getting in Amazon’s way, though, as current regulations would have to change to allow Amazon to fly their drones as high and as far as Amazon wants them to. 

Undaunted, Amazon has announced that they will test the technology in the United Kingdom while they wait for the FAA to (hopefully) rule in their favor. 

6. Centralized Transportation Management

The idea behind centralized transportation management is to provide a company’s dispatcher with one dashboard that can give them a comprehensive look at the all the transportation assets they have available at any given time.

The growing trend in customer-centric supply chains is driving the need for these advanced fleet location digital displays. As companies have adopted these dashboards for dispatchers,  route planning has come easier, transportation costs are being reduced, and customers are getting their packages faster. 

7. Inventory Management Software

Inventory decisions are high risk and have a high impact on logistics operations. Commitment to a particular inventory assortment and subsequent shipment to a market or region in anticipation of future sales determine the number of logistics activities. Without proper inventory assortment, marketing may find that sales are lost and customer satisfaction declines.

Just as shortages can disrupt planned marketing and manufacturing operations, overstocked inventories can create problems too. Overstocking increases costs and reduces profitability through added warehousing, working capital requirements, deterioration, insurance, taxes, and obsolescence.

Using the right inventory management software is critical for robust supply chain processes. With such supply chain technology, companies can even aim for zero inventory. One benefit of this is that they will need to stock little or no inventory as they will be able to order or manufacture the exact stock that would be sold and received. 

8. RFID Technology

Using RFID tags on goods is one of the most advanced supply chain technology trends in 2020

The most significant advantage of using RFIDs is that the tags can scan more than one product at a time. To scan multiple objects in the warehouse, you just need to place all the objects near the RFID reader. 

Also, with this technology, you can track products from the moment they are manufactured to when they are delivered to the customers. RFID technology also collects large sums of data for analysis.

9. Autonomous Vehicles

Industry experts feel that there just aren’t enough drivers on the roads at the moment. So, using an autonomous vehicle to deliver products to your customers may soon become an integral part of supply chain processes.

Supply chain leaders also feel that autonomous vehicles can reduce the wastage of time.

10. Omnichannel Fulfillment

Due to the pandemic, one of the key supply chain trends of 2020 is omnichannel fulfillment. Many companies are now using their physical stores as fulfillment centers, as this allows them to ship products from the store closest to the customer instead of shipping products from a distant distribution center. 

Customers also have the option to buy online and pick up in-store (BOPIS) or go for curbside pickup. These measures are essential to protect customers who are wary of shopping in-person and to deliver products faster.

What do you think of these 10 trends? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Click Here To Test Drive It! [FREE TRIAL]


About author: Rahul Dasgupta

Rahul Dasgupta is a content writer with over 20 years of work experience. He holds a master’s degree in computer science and has written thousands of blog posts on route planning and scheduling, making it easy for readers to learn about these complex topics. Rahul enjoys playing tennis in his spare time and loves cuddling with his pet labrador Shinu. Rahul is a big fan of Roger Federer, Messi, and Bill Gates - he admires their drive to be the best at what they do and their philanthropic efforts.


About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 40,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.