How tech is remaking the supply chain

How tech is remaking the supply chain

Incorporating digital technology into supply chain management often comes down to three things: cost, customer experience, and agility.

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With businesses struggling with delays stemming from the pandemic, there is a greater urgency for the supply chain to be agile, nimble and flexible

To find out how businesses can successfully integrate technology into their supply chain operations and its benefits, iTNews Asia speaks to Phil Scanlon, Vice President of Sales Engineering, Asia Pacific, Japan & Middle East at Solace.

iTNews Asia: How has technology changed supply chain operations? Was it easy to incorporate these technologies?

Technology has vastly improved supply chain operations by bringing about greater interconnectedness and efficiency. Disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced analytics can help to drive automation and deliver insights that promote more efficiencies.

For example, by routing real-time IoT information to analytics engines and allowing users to use the data for smarter decision-making, maritime organisations can more accurately control pricing and avoid shipping delays; improving the customer experience and ultimately, their bottom line.

Incorporating digital technology into supply chain management often comes down to three things: cost, customer experience, and agility. All these will be significantly impacted by the availability of real-time communication and real-time data.

iTNews Asia: How different are supply chain IT infrastructures compared to pre-pandemic and now? Why is there a need for supply chain IT infrastructure to adapt to real-time data?

The disruption of the pandemic has shone a spotlight on global supply chain vulnerabilities. There is a greater need for supply chains to be agile, nimble, and flexible to keep up with increasing levels of demand, while also mitigating the changes in consumer behavior and routes to market.

We’ve also seen how bottlenecks in the global supply chain can cause a serious ripple effect across the wider economy - the current chip shortage is a prime example of this.

As the backbone of supply chain management processes, the IT infrastructure needs to adapt to real-time data to fully enable digital transformation in supply chain management. For example, businesses can manage the uncertainty better by using real-time data to learn, optimise, and make predictions to reduce the impact of unforeseen events.

iTNews Asia: What does having a real-time, fully integrated and digitised supply chain entail?

The continuous, real-time data flow between IT and OT systems is critical for a fully integrated and digitised supply chain that will bring about greater situational awareness, real-time responsiveness, and informed decision-making. Having real-time data move between devices, buildings, assembly lines and more for example, can help transportation and logistics service providers monitor and manage assets on the move through the unpredictability of traffic and weather.

This can be done with the adoption of an event-driven architecture, which is a way of building enterprise IT systems that lets loosely coupled applications and microservices produce and consume events.

In this context, an event is anything that happens within and to an organisation. An event-driven architecture offers huge benefits in scalability, flexibility, and agility that organisations would not get with traditional integration solutions such polling and point-to-point integration. So much so that analysts predict that over 50% of companies will be participating in an event-driven digital ecosystem by 2022.

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