What Is Intelligent Supply Chain Management?


 In Brief

“Intelligent supply chain management” can reduce cost while boosting profit and competitiveness for your business. All you need is the right tech application, one designed to take advantage of the data economy !!


Blockchain (as previous article “Blockchain, the next Supply Chain Transparency”), the IoT and intelligent supply chain management are changing the way warehouses and retail stores operate. Consumers with Artificial Intelligence (AI) are also upping their game with machine-aided shopping, e.g., placing voice orders with Amazon’s Alexa (see Alexa article) which are becoming more and more popular among household consumers today. Before committing an investment, let’s make sure we have a have good grip on related components and challenges that await intelligent supply chain tech. Leading from indiscreet fear is almost always more obstructive than productive.  Watching out for the right user-friendly technologies and innovations, on the other hand, could prove the good old saying “second mouse gets the cheese” right and over again.  As Dr. Ravi Prakash Mathur, a supply chain and logistics expert, said in an interview with Digitalist Magazine “If the machine is capable of self-learning, (as previous article “Machine Learning: The Digital Supply Chain Revolution”) it is possible that our work will be interrupted. To the flip side, if advanced algorithms can do what we think it can do, machines will be able to improve a lot of things without disrupting our work”.

Now, in what way can we apply intelligent supply chain management to our business?

1. Apply big data and algorithm to work development: This includes using descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics in reducing the chance of other factors disrupting our work and maximizing the productivity of our tools and equipment at all times.

  • Descriptive analytics is the most basic format of data analysis with emphasis being put on the ability to explain (describe) what happened to your business in the past (or what is happening provided that you obtained sufficient up-to-date data), thereby possibly enabling you to get to the root causes of what has happened.  Thus, descriptive analytics relies on information system including business reports, sales reports, business turnover and performance.
  • Predictive analytics is an advanced format of data analysis used to make predictions about what will happen in the future while partially relying on data about what happened in the past together with mathematic models or techniques such as data mining.  The result is our ability to analyze current data to predict future opportunities and risks.  An example of predictive analytics is the calculation of credit rating score widely used by various financial institutions in considering credit approvals.

2. Ensure that machine learning works round the clock: as this helps various tools, equipment and machines to work properly and most effectively round the clock.

3.Use automatic system when possible: as the system helps save time, thereby allowing time for other activities and ensuring a more value-added supply chain for the benefit of customers.

4.Introduce the use of Internet of Things (IoT): Internet of Things is very essential in the context of supply chain complexity management given the fact that customers are no longer domestic.  As we work to develop foreign markets, IoT helps ensure our better understanding of customer behavior as well as our better ability to meet customer needs.

5.Use RFID and Blockchain to boost product tracking efficiency: RFID can read labels without direct touching, accurately read/understand even with poor visibility,be resistant to wetness and humidity as well as any motion and impact.  It can besides read/understand with much higher speed and more accuracy than barcode.  Blockchain, likewise, can generate customer confidence in the products as the customers are aware of product source and quality – the properties that can be applied to product tracking.

6.Non-stop development: Despite the help of technology, we must not forget that it’s we who give orders.  Don’t dwell on today’s success as the methods may not work in the future.

Many may want to know what intelligent supply chain management is like.

Intelligent supply chain management can be realized only with the optimized use of the enormous volume of data to ensure more effective decision-making coupled with the use of cutting edge technology to conduct qualitative research for the sake of our work development.  We further need to rely on a comprehensive data link between warehouse, distribution center, shops and on-line businesses. It must be possible to exchange data and modify the routes to access customers regardless of place to ensure that they receive what they want anytime and anywhere.

All things being said, we also need to be considerate of customer needs along with the huge investments which should be of no concern to customers or do not enable us to better respond to their needs.  By no means does intelligent technology require the most advanced mechanism. To the contrary, it requires a customer centric mindset, a thorough and objective research on what the organization needs and a well selected solution that can help the organization circumnavigate existing problems, fulfil identified needs and progress the organization toward prosperity. All in all, a solution that cultivates a customer centric capacity.


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