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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Conradie.

Supply Chain 2024: Why the pace of change will accelerate



John Santagate, VP of Robotics at Körber Supply Chain Software explains why the pace of change will only increase in the future.


What is the outlook for 2024 in his opinion?


The supply chain industry has been in a state of transformative change over the last decade – and next year, the pace will only accelerate, especially with the advent of sophisticated technologies like artificial intelligence and the continued investment in modern robotics. Forward-thinking companies will refine their outdated supply chain operations with time-saving and cost-improving systems and processes to become more efficient and resilient.


While we’ll see many technologies continue to evolve and certain processes targeted for improvement, he believes manual picking and paper-based picking operations are scenarios ripe for improvement using modern technology. In today’s uneasy economic waters, cost is top-of-mind for most organisations – with ROI being a shining metric.  Reliant on manual labour, businesses using paper-picking processes have an immense amount to gain through the adoption of more automated systems, especially autonomous mobile robots (AMR’s).  He suspects we’ll see more organisations look to optimise their use of warehouse management systems to assess spend, determine operational impact, and map out a path forward to technological expansion. Leaders hesitant to change will run into roadblocks and unexpected challenges, which we already saw first-hand when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.


He believes that in 2024, organisations that invest in up-leveling their supply chain operations will be well-equipped to achieve continuity and maintain satisfied customers.


AI can refresh many parts of the supply chain and, in his opinion, refining the slotting processes is a perfect place to start. By applying AI to slotting, businesses can leverage savvy algorithms that understand order profiles/seasonality and attach the information to a system that would dynamically re-slot the operation. This would be transformative to businesses challenged with the pace of peak season, especially as customers are antsy for their shipments. A recent survey by Körber Supply Chain found 88% of consumers use apps/websites to track their packages that are in transit, with the majority (47%) tracking their packages once daily until arrival. This brings me to my next AI use case. 


There is a massive opportunity for AI in telematics. This technology can be used to give the tracking-obsessive customers the data they so desire, beyond the location of the vehicle. While the warehouse assets are completely connected upstream and downstream, we’re lacking the connective tissue – which is robbing us of the holistic picture of the data set. As we look to 2024, AI will begin to tie the mountains of available data together in a beneficial way, finding patterns where earlier modeling might miss an opportunity.


Source: Supplychaindigital

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