Supply chains are evolving at an unprecedented pace.
This evolution has come about as the demand for them has increased whilst the expectations from them has grown. People today do not just want to order a product and have it arrive within 7-10 working days. They want the option to have it shipped to them the next day or pay less and wait for longer. They want to have it delivered at a certain time, in a certain place and with certain instructions.
This is not just about moving a product from a warehouse to their letterbox, it is about making sure that the warehouse has the products, which means optimising the numbers being delivered from the supplier. The supplier needs to make sure they have the raw materials to do this and so those providing that need to be aware of how much to send.
To get a package sat on your doorstep is a mesmerisingly complicated procedure that requires more than just people putting things into the back of a lorry.
This is why supply chains need to invest in technology.
It is not just about being able to keep customers happy, but just keeping up with the competition. If a company can speed up a supply chain then they are more likely to gain the upper hand in any market. The way that this is done is not through working harder, but working smarter.
Companies using data or implementing the newest technologies are the ones who are going to come out on top. Amazon is the prime example of this.
The basis of their success is the strong and robust supply chain, making sure that stock levels are always correct and that this stock can be delivered quickly. The foundation of this winning combination is the technology that they invest in, allowing them to monitor where anything is, in real-time, whilst being able to predict what will be popular in the coming weeks from their customers behaviour on their site.
It is a seamless operation and their investment in technology has been at the core of this. They have in fact taken it so seriously that rather than simply getting a high tech supply chain management company to do their work, they have bought one. Their 2012 acquisition of Kiva has seen them put robot workers on their warehouse floors to maintain speedy and efficient deliveries.
We can see from how Amazon have found considerable success from their investments that you need to spend money to make money. In the case of those trying to build supply chains, this should be spent on technology.