Last year, when Amazon announced Prime Air services, the public was understandably shocked. Have logistics technologies gotten so advanced that we could literally have shipping drones in the sky getting online orders faster to us than a pizza delivery order? While some thought this was a joke, there actually is a Prime Air program that is currently testing services in development centers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Israel. The future could be here sooner than we think.
When it comes to supply chains, technology has always been the driver to satisfy customer demands. In the 1800s, industries were greatly impacted by the emergence of the railroad system. In the 1900s, the logistics industry was changed again with the proliferation of trucks and automobiles as well as the signing of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The 21st century has become the Age of the Internet, transforming how consumers shop and how companies fulfill their orders. Therefore, it would be safe to say that supply chains and 3PL companies have always used technology to meet speed, cost, and quality demands.
What Technologies Are Driving Further Changes in Supply Chains Today?
Internet of Things:
According to one survey by Tata Consulting Services, more companies are using internet-connected technologies, like RFID tags and mobile apps, to track products and learn more about customer behavior than ever before. These technologies provide companies with the data necessary to understand how customers interact with their products, whether or not manufacturing facilities have optimal operations in place, and how well logistics are ensuring customers get their packages on-time.
Cloud-based Quality Management Systems for Real-time Reporting:
Facing increased regulatory compliance, outsourced manufacturing services, and stronger customer demand for product quality; companies are investing in enterprise quality management systems. EQMS software helps large supply chains create a holistic approach to quality management. By enabling users to report adverse events in real time no matter where they are and assign workflows to correct them, EQMS software keeps everyone in the supply chain on the same page to mitigate quality issues and decrease the chances of a recall.
3-D Printing to Decrease the Size of the Supply Chain:
We’re still in the infancy stages of 3-D printing, and we’ve already seen some amazing advancements. For example, in early September, a Spanish man was implanted with titanium 3-D printed ribs. 3-D printing may eventually have an impact on the manufacturing and logistics industries as well. Many industry experts believe that 3-D printers will help shorten the supply chain. Manufacturers will be able to print finished products in-house when needed instead of warehousing and shipping them in advance. Only time will tell the implications 3-D printing technology will have on these industries.
Manufacturing and logistics have always been technology-forward industries. Professionals in these industries are constantly looking for new ways to improve efficiency, lower costs, and mitigate any errors or risks. The aforementioned technologies should help them reach these goals.
About The Author
Jillian Johnson is a freelance writer from New Jersey who has contributed to an array of blogs of various industries, particularly business, finance and health. She freelanced for a local NJ parenting magazine “Curious Parents” magazine and wrote for her college newspaper, “The Tower,” ultimately becoming the Editor-in-Chief. Jillian holds a BA in Communications and is currently working towards a BSN.
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