Organisations working in high-risk industries like manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, and logistics, are well aware of the risks and potential hazards their workers face each day. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, many businesses do not have the appropriate health and safety controls to minimise risk and hazards at the workplace.
What are the Benefits of Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility?
Supply chains are complex and changeable. If they’re neither sufficiently flexible nor adaptable, warehouses can find themselves struggling to keep up.
Real-time supply chain visibility is about unleashing the potential of technology to support warehousing operations.
The Importance of Data in Supply Chains
Data is core to a successful supply chain. How different organisations collect, interpret and act on this data determines the efficiency of the movement, storage and delivery of goods.
Modern supply chain operations, from inventory to logistics, depend on efficient processes.
Access to data in real time can help identify problem areas and bottlenecks in all parts of the supply chain that can cause inefficiencies to creep in.
This informed interrogation of data applies at different stages, such as:
- Procurement and forecasting
- Stockroom inventory
- Order processing
Identifying buying trends and calculating forecasts is no longer dependent on looking at older data from previous quarters or years. With dedicated software, this can now be up-to-the-minute.
For stock inventory and logistics, data provides a similar snapshot of current supply levels and customer demand.
Customer expectations are that they can order goods on demand and expect prompt reliable delivery. Data enables these things too.
This data is all connected and interdependent. Buying trends help in decision-making for storage, logistics and order fulfilment, for example.
Integrated information is central to real-time supply chain visibility. This visibility should be at the heart of modern, efficient supply chain management strategies.
This includes warehouse management systems and operations.
Supply Chain Visibility in the Modern Warehouse
The warehouse is a crucial link in the supply chain. It ensures that the customer receives their goods on time and in excellent condition.
The role of the warehouse has become even more critical with the growth of online ordering and shopping. There is now an established expectation from many customers that they will receive goods they order in shorter timescales.
It follows that warehousing requires the same sort of high-level visibility and data management as other parts of the supply chain.
Not only does this increased visibility support optimised warehouse management, but it also supports better, more efficient inventory management across supply chains.
The well-managed warehouse needs this visibility to extend across all its operations and infrastructure. This includes vital audits for health and safety and other indispensable processes and procedures.
The Warehouse Auditor app gives warehouse staff a set of advanced tools for managing both workspace and workflow.
The app enables them to incorporate these tools into a single handheld device such as a tablet or smartphone.
The immediate and long-term benefits are:
- Instant access to real-time information
- Detailed data to support decision-making
- Improved health and safety
- The means to address inefficiencies and eliminate errors
- Faster response times
- Proactive inventory management.
Supply chain visibility can only be truly effective if it includes warehousing alongside other stages in the supply chain.
According to an HSE report, around 54,000 workers are involved in non-fatal accidents in the manufacturing sector each year. Most of the injuries they suffer are a direct result of manual handling accidents, trips, slips, and falls, contact with moving machinery, and being struck by moving objects.
It is estimated that the logistics industry will grow at a CAGR of 10-12%, reaching a value of $380 million by 2025. A large driver of this growth will be technology and automation – from robotics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to artificial intelligence (AI), better integration of the various ecosystems involved, digitisation of processes, and more.
Supply chain inspections often prove to be a challenge, even for leading, well-established companies. However, standardisation has now become one of the chief methods of optimising the greater supply chain and ensuring that all managers, departments, and teams are on the same page.
According to a 2019 report published by the Journal of International Logistics and Trade, political unrest are among the leading causes of supply chain disruptions. A SAP survey reported that 58% of US business leaders believe supply chain problems primarily stem due to global political unrest.
Even though a myriad of digital processes have been introduced across many industries in the UK economy, a recent report indicates that at least 96% of UK manufacturers believe there is an underinvestment in technology and digitisation in their sector.
Did you know that manufacturers are still using paper in more than a third (35%) of their processes on average? What’s more, manual spreadsheets are still used for nearly half (49%) of all manufacturing-related processes.
If you think about, warehouses and everyone working within those walls, are the unsung heroes of supply chain and distribution. Without quality warehouses equipped with the latest technology, we would not be enjoying the super-fast at-home deliveries or products being available on shelves almost on a 24/7 basis.
In the world of business, the last thing any owner, CEO or stakeholder wants to hear is “disruption”. Effective supply chains that run like a well-oiled machine are integral to any business’s success.
The manufacturing industry has been slow to move forward, especially from an ecosystem-wide and enterprise-wide digital transformation perspective.