5 Apr
Distribution and Fulfillment

5 Supply Chain Technology Innovations That Are Changing The Distribution & Fulfillment Industry

In the past, concepts like artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, and robotics were relegated to science fiction, thought to be too far-fetched and impractical for practical implementation. However, as technology has advanced at an unprecedented pace, these ideas are no longer out of reach. In fact, they are rapidly becoming a reality, revolutionizing the logistics industry and transforming the way we think about supply chain management.

As the demand for on-demand distribution & fulfillment continues to skyrocket, with consumers expecting rapid, precise, and reliable delivery, the importance of technology in enhancing supply chain efficiency has become more pronounced than ever before. It is now clear that the key to staying competitive in the fast-paced world of e-commerce and online retail is to stay abreast of the latest advancements in supply chain technology.

Thankfully, there is a wealth of cutting-edge technology available today that is helping to streamline supply chain operations and optimize distribution & fulfillment processes. From real-time inventory management tools and predictive analytics software to automated warehouse management systems and delivery drones, these innovations are transforming the way we think about supply chain management.

Learn how by embracing these advancements, businesses can unlock new levels of efficiency, speed, and cost savings, helping them to meet the needs of their customers while staying ahead of the competition. Whether you are a small online retailer or a global e-commerce brand, staying up-to-date with the latest distribution & fulfillment technology is essential for success in today’s fast-paced business environment.

Intelligent Demand Forecasting

The advent of tech-enabled demand forecasting has proven to be a game-changer for the supply chain industry, reducing errors by a significant margin of 30 to 50%. In the past, inventory forecasting was a cumbersome and often inaccurate process that relied heavily on historical data. However, with the latest advances in technology, online brands can now leverage data-driven insights to forecast demand more accurately, optimize inventory levels efficiently, and replenish inventory as needed.

Inaccurate forecasting can be a costly mistake for businesses, resulting in lost sales and profits due to overstocking or understocking issues. By contrast, tech-enabled demand forecasting allows companies to make informed decisions and achieve better results. Machine learning, in particular, has taken demand forecasting to the next level by enhancing real-time information with data aggregated from multiple internal and external sources.

This includes leveraging demographics, weather patterns, online reviews, and even social media metrics like brand mentions. Machine learning algorithms can sift through vast amounts of data, identifying trends and patterns that would be impossible to detect with traditional forecasting methods. This means that businesses can make more accurate predictions about consumer demand, resulting in better inventory management and more efficient distribution & fulfillment operations.

Furthermore, for new products without a historical sales track record, machine learning can also improve forecasting accuracy by identifying trends from similar products and using that data to make better predictions. This allows businesses to avoid costly overstocking and understocking issues and better meet the demands of their customers.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, accurate demand forecasting is critical to the success of any online brand. By embracing the latest tech-enabled forecasting methods, businesses can gain a competitive edge, optimize their inventory levels, and make informed decisions that lead to increased sales and profitability.

New Age Robotics

Robotics has been a topic of interest and development for quite some time, but it is only recently that we are seeing them being implemented more commonly in the ecommerce distribution & fulfillment. The origins of robotics can be traced back to the 1950s when the first industrial robot was invented by George Devol and his company Unimation. However, it was only in 1962 when General Motors installed the first robot in their New Jersey plant that robotics began to gain momentum.

Initially, robots were only suitable for work in industrial manufacturing as they were considered unsafe for people to be around while they were in use. However, this has changed dramatically, and today, major supply chains have already implemented robotics to speed up and improve accuracy in retail fulfillment.

Order picking, which can account for 50% or more of warehouse labor costs, has long been a tedious and time-consuming task. By implementing robotics to cut down on the labor and time spent on fulfillment (e.g., by automating the process of walking from one side of a fulfillment center to another), more logistics experts and employees can focus on more complicated processes, such as packaging innovations, workflows, and more.

The advantages of using robotics in the ecommerce supply chain are significant. Not only do they help to increase accuracy and speed in order fulfillment, but they also allow for more efficient use of human resources. Instead of spending hours on repetitive tasks, employees can be freed up to work on more complex projects that require their specialized skills and expertise.

Furthermore, with advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics are becoming more sophisticated and capable of handling a wider range of tasks, from inventory management to warehouse optimization. As such, it is no surprise that more and more ecommerce companies are investing in robotics to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in the fast-paced world of online retail.

In conclusion, robotics are no longer confined to industrial manufacturing and are now playing an increasingly important role in the ecommerce distribution & fulfillment. As technology continues to advance, it is likely that we will see more and more companies invest in robotics to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and stay ahead of the competition.

Self Driving Vehicles

The logistics industry is constantly evolving, and self-driving trucks represent one of the most significant technological advancements of recent times. Although still in beta, the development of autonomous vehicles is being backed by big investments, with major companies investing billions of dollars in startups hoping to revolutionize the last-mile delivery process.

While self-driving trucks hold enormous promise for the future, there is still a long way to go before the technology can be implemented across the industry. Years of research, development, and testing are necessary to ensure that self-driving trucks are safe, reliable, and cost-effective.

Despite the challenges, there is growing optimism about the potential of self-driving trucks to address some of the most pressing concerns facing the logistics industry. For instance, the trucking industry has been grappling with a severe driver shortage for years, which has contributed to increased costs and slower delivery times. Self-driving trucks have the potential to alleviate this issue by reducing the need for human drivers and increasing efficiency.

Additionally, self-driving trucks could help address sustainability concerns, such as reducing emissions and fuel consumption. With growing awareness of the impact of transportation on the environment, there is an increasing demand for sustainable logistics solutions, and self-driving trucks could play a critical role in this regard.

Moreover, self-driving trucks offer a range of benefits that go beyond the logistics industry. They could improve safety on the roads by reducing the number of accidents caused by human error, and they could also make long-haul transportation more comfortable and less stressful for drivers.

Supply Chain Security

As global ecommerce sales continue to soar and are expected to reach $4.89 trillion by the end of the year, the importance of supply chain security cannot be overstated. With expansive distribution & fulfillment networks and the sharing of data, the interconnected nature of supply chains makes them a prime target for cyberattacks.

To combat these threats, modern security technology plays a crucial role in reducing risks and enhancing protection. Some of the security enhancements that are essential for the modern-day supply chain include encryption, tokenization, on-demand access, and automatic alerts.

Encryption is a method of encoding data to prevent unauthorized access. It ensures that only those with the appropriate encryption key can access the information, making it an effective way to protect sensitive data from cybercriminals.

Tokenization is another useful security tool that involves replacing sensitive information with a token. This makes it more difficult for hackers to obtain data as they do not have access to the actual information.

On-demand access is another essential security enhancement that allows organizations to control access to sensitive data, ensuring that only authorized personnel have access to it.

Finally, automatic alerts can help detect and respond to potential security breaches before they escalate. This helps to minimize the impact of a security breach and ensures that appropriate action is taken quickly.

Cyberattacks can have serious consequences, not only for businesses but also for their customers. Breaches in supply chain security can put customer data at risk, which can erode trust and damage a company’s reputation.

A.I – Artificial Intelligence

As technology advances, so does the integration of AI within the supply chain industry. It has become a vital component to achieving optimal efficiency and productivity in the ecommerce supply chain. Statistics show that at least 50% of logistics supply chains are expected to invest in AI by the end of 2021, which will lead to a 15% increase in productivity. Additionally, the estimated impact of AI in the supply chain is projected to be between $1.2 trillion and $2 trillion in manufacturing and supply chain planning, indicating that AI will continue to be a major player in the industry.

One industry that stands to gain a lot from AI adoption is the transportation and logistics sector, which can see an 89% incremental value over time through the use of AI. For ecommerce supply chains, AI is categorized into two groups: augmentation and automation. Augmentation refers to AI that assists humans in their day-to-day tasks, while automation is AI that can function without any human interference.

AI within the distribution & fulfillment network is comprised of different technology options that help businesses understand complex information and enhance human performance by taking over time-consuming, routine tasks. One of the ways AI helps with this is by offering more visibility and integration across networks, which enables brands to expand their supply chain while keeping everything streamlined. This is achieved through the use of algorithms that can detect patterns, trends, and gaps across an entire supply chain, thereby playing a significant role in accurate forecasting.

Executives who have implemented AI into their supply chains have reported a reduction in costs (61%) and an increase in revenue (53%). With such positive outcomes, it is no surprise that AI is being adopted at an increasing rate within the supply chain industry. It will continue to evolve and revolutionize the industry, providing even greater efficiency and productivity in the years to come.

MSL COPACK  + ECOMM – An Innovative Tech Enabled Distribution & Fulfillment Company

If you are looking for an innovative and tech enabled distribution and fullfilment partner for your business than MSL COPACK + ECOMM can be a great option for you. Over the past decade we have introduced many innovations to optimize our process and helped make our customer’s supply chain more efficient. To learn more get in touch with us today by calling (888) 675-4639 or email us on info@msl-indy.com