4 ways technology is transforming supply chains

4 ways technology is transforming supply chains

4 ways technology is transforming supply chains

How will supply chain management adapt in the years ahead?

How will supply chain management adapt in the years ahead?

Technology continues to drive change in supply chain management, powering new opportunities and driving growth for small and medium businesses.

Climate change, cross-border trade disputes, and now a global pandemic - today’s supply chains are constantly changing. To stay competitive, businesses are taking advantage of new technologies to improve and transform their supply chains.


Data-driven insights
The biggest driving force of change across multiple industries today is data. From insights into workflows and processes, to delivering real-time location updates on shipments, data is changing the way we do business.

Supply chain management can be challenging and unpredictable. However, with data advancements, it is easier than ever to track and monitor supply chain flows and identify areas in need of improvement. In the shipping industry, data is transforming our fulfillment capabilities across the globe by providing unprecedented levels of insights and information.

Blockchain debuted some years ago but it is still a remarkable technology having a transformative effect across many industries.

A blockchain is a digital record of transactions, or movements, or changes to an item. In logistics, blockchain is used to maintain the integrity of the shipment’s information, reducing risk of loss or delays for businesses and receivers. Every time a shipment is logged, moved, or exposed to new conditions, the information is added to the block of information about that shipment and shared across a database.

Blockchain cannot be edited or changed other than at the source, making it a secure recording of events. Why does this matter in supply chain management? Since it can be leveraged for the management and signing of contracts, tracking exposure or maintaining an accurate history of the shipment movements, reducing risk and improving time efficiencies.


Multi-echelon inventory systems
Another trend shaping smart supply chain management is the move towards multi-echelon inventory systems.

A multi-echelon inventory involves using different stock levels at different locations in the supply chain. For example, a business might store more stock in warehouses closer to the end customer to reduce shipping delays and make product returns simpler to handle. However, other products might be better off stored closer to the manufacturer to reduce overstocking and improve cash flow.

Multi-echelon inventories can also help improve supply chain sustainability, accounting for factors like the carbon footprint of transporting certain goods or their perishability in different locations. With the right data, this sort of approach can help minimize all sorts of risks and inefficiencies across the supply chain.

Internet of things
Advances in the Internet of Things (IoT) have helped logistics services develop capabilities to benefit both shippers and receivers. FedEx has long been a pioneer in sensor-based logistics, using IoT to deliver high visibility across shipments in real-time.

Businesses can now enjoy peace of mind knowing they can have visibility of their shipment from end-to-end, across networks of connected sensors collecting and sending data. If instances occur, alerts are sent out immediately.

The future
Blockchain, multi-echelon inventories and IoT are just three of the transformative changes occurring in the logistics industry. As we begin to use these technologies together to expand our data capabilities, we are creating smarter supply chain management and operations with data-driven efficiencies.

At FedEx, we’re embracing the data transformation. We have teamed up with Microsoft to move our data to the cloud where we can once again reimagine the supply chain.

By combining the global digital and logistics network of FedEx with the power of Microsoft’s intelligent cloud, we are reinventing the most critical aspects of the commerce experience and enable businesses to better compete in today’s increasingly digital landscape. And this is just the beginning.