The Role of Process Automation in Shaping the Future of Supply Chains

modern manufacturing facility

The supply chain industry has come a long way in recent years. Innovative processes, technological advancements, and modern business models have made supply chains more complex, efficient, agile, and internationally diverse.

From artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), these advancements played an important role in helping contractors and supply chain managers handle future demand and become more effective and accurate in streamlining tasks. For instance, logistics companies now rely on modern vehicle scales for load distribution and verification applications. One example is the portable axle weighers that provide wireless data transmission and measurement accuracy in export control.

With the right technology, skills, and knowledge, procurement leaders can build new capabilities to navigate and adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. That is why when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, supply chain networks were able to establish a strong foothold despite the economic disruptions.

But if there’s one supply chain technology that has completely transformed the rules of the global supply chain, it would be the emergence of process automation. In fact, many believe that automation can bring a lot of developments to supply chain operations, particularly in handling high-risk and potentially dangerous tasks.

To thrive in the modern and digitized retail landscape, marketplace sellers and retailers should take advantage of automation capabilities to gain a competitive advantage. With that in mind, we’ll talk about what business leaders should expect in embracing supply chain automation and how it can help them in adapting to changing economic environments.

Automate repetitive, manual tasks

One of the most obvious advantages of supply chain automation is its ability to free employees from manual and repetitive tasks. The supply chain involves complex management processes that include different documents, such as dock receipt, delivery order, waybill, and bill of landing. Supply chain teams have to continuously collect, store, and process these files for various reasons. This results in a lot of manual, time-consuming tasks that prevent businesses from focusing on the critical aspects of their operations.

Companies relying on traditional procedures often carry out these tasks through paper and pen, which require a lot of time, resulting in human errors when recording or submitting information. The benefits of supply chain automation go beyond internal warehouse operations. It helps improve inventory management and increase efficiency, fill rates, and throughput time while reducing cycle times, labor, human error, and operational costs. At the same time, it helps in creating reusable and standardized processes in handling documents.

cargo ship

Visibility and transparency of operations

The traditional supply chain has been facing challenges in bringing transparency to inventory management and managing lead times. In the e-commerce sector, digital technology has helped consumers in monitoring the entire journey of their online orders from the storehouse to the front door. This brings into question how supply chain companies can experience the same capability in their operations.

Poor connectivity is one of the major reasons behind the lack of transparency in the supply chain. As business leaders introduced more applications and systems to boost efficiency, these changes resulted in silos and system gaps. This leads to their inability to pass information and monitor the end-to-end process of supply chains.

Supply chain managers can address this by using a low-code automation system that integrates all systems into one centralized location where employees can access information, leading to better implementation and process visibility. Access to real-time data won’t only provide up-to-date information but also assurance when performing processes based on essential information.

In any industry, transparency won’t only benefit the workforce but also consumers by allowing them to get a glimpse of their order progress in the supply chain. Adopting an automated platform can provide the required visibility with traceability as an essential factor in customer satisfaction.

Responsive to unexpected events

One of the many things we learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is that a strong risk management system can help enterprises respond to unanticipated events or situations. For some companies, the pandemic means scaling back operations and using a bare-bones approach. Meanwhile, others responded by leveraging production and delivery to meet the increasing demand.

During adverse circumstances, an automated platform helps build adaptability, especially in handling information across the organization. It helps IT teams establish enterprise applications at unprecedented speed to handle changing corporate objectives. This includes the use of auto-responsive applications for smartphones, tablets, and websites at the preferred speed.

Like in any industry, the automation process can reduce the manual effects involved in running a business. It boosts the accuracy, efficiency, and productivity of everyone involved in the global supply chain network. To maximize its capabilities, business leaders should choose the right automation tools to increase their profitability, lessen logistics costs, and protect their business in the ever-competitive market.

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