Companies need to constantly keep-up with, adapt to new emerging technology. The rapid evolving of technology enables smarter and simpler supply chain management. Below are three emerging technologies: RFID, Cloud-integration IOT enhancements that are reforming the logistics industry:
1. RFID TECHNOLOGIES
Without even realizing it we use technology that automatically captures data and relies on radio-frequency electromagnetic fields. This technology is known as Radio-Frequency Identification, (RFID) technology which is designed to identify objects carrying tags when they come close to the reader. RFID is made up of various parts: transponders and interrogators. Transponders are also called TAGs or labels, and interrogators are also called reader devices. The RFID tag is made up of a microchip attached to an antenna, the tag picks-up signals from and sends signals to a reader, and the tag contains a distinct serial number. Replacing barcodes with RFID has transformed the supply chain sphere.
Advantages of RFID:
- Products can be scanned, counted, and captured in the company’s system at the same time- this is time and cost effective.
- A decrease in machines breaking down- RFID ensures that temperature-sensitive shipments remain within their specifications.
- Manufacturers can monitor how frequently machines go through maintenance- this alleviates costly production break-downs.
- The right goods are delivered at the right place and on time.
- Managers can measure the time it takes for each step in the production cycle to be completed-this allows them to come up with new ways to ensure shipments reach their destinations on time.
Cloud integration is the process whereby multiple application programs are used to share data in the ‘cloud’. Traditional supply chain management systems are simplified and thus there is no (or little) visibility available when it comes to cloud-based management software. According to research by Gartner, cloud-based software in logistics is estimated to increase by 40 percent this year (2017).
Advantages of Cloud Integration:
- Makes it possible to digitally monitor every stage of a product’s lifecycle.
- Able to monitor where exactly a shipment is- this decreases the frequency of lost products, and updates the inventory records.
- Universally accessible- the systems can be accessed from any location and at any time.
- Cloud providers can expand a company’s cloud services and increase its bandwidth while off-site- which can allow the company to expand.
The concept of IOT is very simple, IOT is about connecting devices to the internet- but this is not limited to smartphones or laptops only- it’s about connecting everything with an “on and off switch.” The Internet Of Things is used in logistics to connect various technologies in order to increase the efficiency of the manufacturing process of supply chains.
Advantages of IOT
- Improved shipment workflow.
- Is integrated in the overall management of a supply chain.
- Increase the efficiency of a supply chain management process.
- IOT technologies are linked with other technologies, it can communicate with Bluetooth, RFIDs, and cloud-technologies to keep record of and route products to meet the demands of both suppliers and consumers.