The Influence of Technology on Logistics and Supply Chains

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From the advancements of GPs tracking systems to the birth of the Internet of Things, automation, Cloud portals and even social media, technology has revolutionised everything that is possible in the logistics and supply chain industries. The leaps we’ve taken in technology have provided companies and couriers with greater transparency, effective communication channels, better safety measures, cargo monitoring capabilities, location information and more. The influence technology has on logistics and supply chains continues to grow every year, but there’s more to it than just the physical devices or software at use. Daily flows of data and information have the potential to create even more efficient and smooth supply chain processes, and aid in making logistical decisions. At Invatechs, we offer our own logistics and supply chain solutions, with software that empowers our clients with automation, information and manageability at their fingertips. In this article, we’re going to walk you through the recent evolutions and advancements in logistics and supply chains and how you can tap into this productivity with the help of Invatechs.


HOW TECHNOLOGY CHANGED LOGISTICS AND SUPPLY CHAINS FOREVER


It’s difficult to quantify the scale of change that has happened in just the last ten years with the development of technologies such as smartphones and apps, better security systems, APIs and more. One has to consider a holistic approach to how tech has influenced and changed operations. Warehouse management may have improved with better handheld technology, but better tracking capabilities will ensure cargo is effectively and correctly transported from A to B, tax payment systems ensure cargo can pass through customs quickly and communication channels linking every part of the supply chain (from warehouse worker to the customer) are crucial for logistics. From a customer and client’s perspective, expectations have also increased, as they expect fast, effective and communicative parcel and cargo delivery. We’ve identified four of the key areas that technology has advanced and influenced.

Transparency and efficiency


Next day deliveries, GPs and parcel tracking (available on the customer/client’s phone), time updates, employee responsibility and improved warehouse storage systems have led to greater transparency and efficiency for vendors and customers alike. With the development of wireless and Cloud technologies, supply chain managers and third-party logistics providers have honed in on possibilities that improve accuracy and methodologies. With the advent of mobile devices, real-time monitoring and proof of delivery, the supply chain has become a much more streamlined process, from cargo and produce leaving the warehouse to its delivery; there’s no need for endless documents of paperwork. With all the information you need stored on a ledger or database it’s easier to identify individuals’ actions in the chain of command. This has been hugely beneficial in identifying any operational anomalies, assuring the completion and approval of supply chains and better data-capturing. More than that, improved APIs offer the ability to interface with multiple systems, improving the information flows and transportation of data from one system and location to another system and location.

RFID (radio-frequency identification) technologies are one of the recent popular methods for tracing products. RFID tags can be attached to almost any item, providing couriers with a specific location as they transmit digital data back to readers and portals. Dedicated CRM (customer relationship management) offer even more effective and transparent portals and experiences between vendors and customers, from consistent customer experience to personalised communications and real-time updates. All of this has improved logistic strategising, reduced manual errors, labour costs and continues to impact companies and businesses.


Communication Channels


Communication is a central pillar to logistics and supply chain operations. Effective communication channels enable faster working conditions, effective transferal of data, networks between warehouses, vehicles, couriers, HR, customers and clients. Every part of the supply chain has to be in close communication with one another for a day’s work to run smoothly. There’s no excuse when it comes to updating people involved in the supply chain on any potential hold-ups or issues; there are more tools at our disposal than just emails and a telephone call. The power of social media is not to be underestimated. Automated chatbots, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts can put you in direct contact with customers instead of correspondence going straight to an email inbox. It’s important to remember how you’re held accountable online: customers can alert thousands of followers to a complaint you’ll need to deal with swiftly and efficiently. You can also use social media to gather information for any improvements or suggestions or monitor the reputation and customer service of your supplier. Social media is all about building relationships, promoting a brand or standing out in the market place. If you guarantee a smooth and efficient delivery service that has to be reflected in your social media platforms, thus supply chains and logistics are closely tied to them. On an internal level, don’t neglect to use WhatsApp or Slack or some form of working communication channel to pool all the contacts you need into one place.

Devices and The Internet of Things (IoT)


The Internet of Things (or the IoT) covers the devices and software built into products that share data and information across networks for functional and learning purposes. Better safety measures, performance, traffic management and functionality are all possible as more logistics and supply chain companies embrace this integrated tech. The IoT is effectively upgrading a lot of existing tech that’s used: sensors installed into vehicles can monitor driver’s performance and safety, aggregating information to their insurers, management and provide real-time updates to their dashboards; more than that, the sensors can monitor refrigerated stock, vehicle load, and combine with blockchain technology to create a record of cargo maintenance.

As 5G capabilities develop and become accessible to the general public, the power and speed of the IoT has the potential to dramatically change and boost productivity in logistics and supply chains. However, being a relatively new technology we have to consider some of the up and coming challenges the IoT faces, such as risks of breached security, regulation and user compatibility as multiple vendors and developers vie for creating the superior home network for the IoT. That’s not to underplay the huge potential the IoT has and how it’s already influencing and changing the shape of logistics and supply chains. If you want to find out more, we’d strongly recommend you check out our previous blog post on the IoT.


Integration


The synergy and integration between the technologies and parties involved are where the real optimal productivity can be found for any supply chain or logistics work. Easy to use web portals can efficiently integrate all of your communications and data onto one user platform or platforms. EDI (electronic data interchange) allows users to easily share information with clients and parties as well as offering real-time updates. The new technologies being created are designed with integration and streamlining in mind: it’s possible to integrate TMS (Transportation Management Systems) and WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) with other clients’ systems. This provides a collective database with transparent information for everyone involved and the opportunity to create customisable reports.

By now you can see the wider picture of just how interconnected technology has been with every part of supply chains and logistics. From direct contact between customers, clients and vendors via social media applications to devices that can monitor cargo and stock. Automation allows you to quickly retrieve and communicate any vital information to anyone across the spectrum of the supply chain.

INVATECHS' LOGISTICS & SUPPLY CHAIN TECHNOLOGY


Invatechs have their own tech solutions for companies who utilise logistics and supply chains – let’s take a closer look at some of the solutions that have unlocked a new world of working potential. With our mobile and web app developments, we create tech solutions for clients across the IoT and transportation domains. These have included GPS, tracking and tax payment systems:


  • We created a satellite monitoring system for mobile and web apps that allows you to track vehicle location. We effectively optimised clients’ business processes with the GPs software that also provided a stable and secure API endpoint to send out, receive, authorise and save data into a database.

  • We were also tasked with creating a status tracking app for parcels that could provide a visual timeline and time axis for deliveries; compatible with IOS and Android.

  • It’s important to have a smooth tax payment system in place to assure parcels aren’t delayed when they go through customs. That’s why Invatechs created a web and mobile application to help register and oversee purchases so they're ready for processing. More than that, our system included a Broker Admin Panel to manage customers’ payments as well as PayPal and credit/debit card paying options for an easy and accessible payment option.



We make sure every solution we create is data-driven, utilising our custom software expertise to build products and solutions that harness the latest major tech advancements.

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF TECH FOR YOUR LOGISTICS AND SUPPLY CHAIN NEEDS


It’s clear to see that for logistics and supply chain operations to get the most out of the latest tech, every build and solution has to keep transparency, communication, the IoT and integration in mind for truly successful results. As the demands on the transportation sectors grow ever year, delays, lost, stolen or tampered cargo, not to mention human error and outdated systems can accrue major wastage and losses. Building an ecosystem that runs like clockwork is a complex endeavour; that’s not to mention the potential for even more traceability and lower transaction costs when paired with the blockchain.

That’s why at Invatechs, we go from strategy to development to build logistics and supply chain solutions; whether that’s a mobile app, payment system, tracking device or more. You can find out more about all of our IoT transportation and logistics solutions that are changing and optimising work for our clients every day. That’s not to mention our extended work on blockchain development, payroll systems and our continued commitment to sharing the latest fintech news on our Invablog page. If you want to find out more and revolutionise your tech potentials, don’t hesitate to contact us today.


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