Companies involved in supply chain management are adopting end-to-end digital processes for smooth and flexible operations, considering the prevalent market trends after the EXPO 2020 and growing market demands affirms Alain Kaddoum, Managing Director, Savoye Middle East, in this OpEd contribution.
Owing to the challenges posed by the pandemic, industries, including supply chain have witnessed significant transformations in their operations with the rapid adoption of digital technologies across sectors.
The recent years of challenges have necessitated a demand for efficient and advanced supply chain management, along with requisite business, analytical, and soft competencies.
Despite many challenges in the recent years, the Middle East is seeing development as the industry is quickly adopting digitised methods for efficiency. Yet, if these businesses lack the skill to understand and operate the new technologies, it can add to the existing challenges.
According to a McKinsey report, 50 per cent of the current operations in supply chain could be completely digitalised by 2030, altering work processes and workforce requirements. However, the report also reveals that 45 per cent of the supply chain workforce does not have requisite skill sets to meet the current expectations of the market.
Effective technology training
It is essential that employees of an organisation are fully aware of new developments in digital technologies to deliver an efficient performance across supply chain operations. To ensure improved operations, companies must provide effective technology training for different roles to improve skill sets of employees so that they are in tune with the drastic changes that are taking place due to digital disruptions and technological developments.
Analysing the recent trends in the logistics and supply chain, as well as utilising technologies effectively, can help industries keep abreast with modern developments. It can advance their skills and improve speed, accuracy, and flexibility of supply chain operations. Companies need to understand the differences and improvements in the supply chain work cycle after involving technology.
Earlier, industries relied on manual processes due to lack of integration in decentralised supply chain procedures including siloed operations. For instance, demand planners redesigned and improved planning procedures for themselves. They manually derived data from multiple systems and approached other departments by phone or email to gather information.
However, with the arrival of advanced technologies such as combined Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Transport Management System (TMS) have enhanced productivity and delivery solutions for the warehouse and transport management sector.
The increased use of automation in warehouse processes and end-to-end supply chain operations, from gesture-based warehouse picking to sophisticated trends and predictive analysis, has resulted in customer satisfaction and time management.
For example, utilizing robotic and AI for stacking storage shelves up to five meters high and delivering a significant capacity of load to the goods-to-person picking station have been facilitated with the adoption of automated technologies.
These innovative solutions are proving to be more flexible and effective, even at extremely harsh weather conditions, as it relies less on manual labour and accelerates productivity. With the help of these contemporary technologies, supply chain organisations may function more transparently with improved management of data collected, procurement procedures, and internal processes.
To easily become acquainted with new technology companies are integrating cloud-based software and technologies, which are strengthening employee skillset. SaaS models, for example, offer more user-friendly and affordable ways to access artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, and other tools in supply chain management.
Most of these platforms are pay-per-user and provide a wide range of customisation choices, making it easier for businesses to understand, implement, and invest in technology.
Logistics and supply chains solution providers are encouraging and raising awareness on these technologies, to improve efficiency and productivity of businesses. They are not aiming at turning supply chain professionals into technology experts but informing and making them aware of the capability of these technologies.
Leveraging the benefits of these technologies, businesses have observed positive transformations in their operations. Over the years, successful companies have recognised the potential of innovative digital tools and procedures in furthering supply chain visibility and agility.
The increase in the prevalence of integrated digital supply chains has driven businesses to reimagine their outlook and adapt to the evolving market trends. Crucial skills such as end-to-end supply chain perspective, cross-functional communication skills, data proficiency, and analytical talents should be a priority for companies while recruiting new talents, as these skills can provide a competitive advantage to companies in the industry.