We’d Love to Hear What Are the Biggest Supply Chain Challenges You’re Seeing
The current industry landscape has introduced many challenges for supply chains as they strive to become more automated, efficient, and cost-effective. While challenges like eliminating errors and lowering costs have become commonplace, new issues have emerged, further complicating logistics and manufacturing. This article explores both new and old challenges that have hit supply chains hard over the last several years and the technology solutions that can help combat these pain points.
Keep reading to review the biggest supply chain challenges companies are facing today and tune into our social channels to follow the conversation and weigh in. Follow us on Linkedin to vote on our polls as we learn which challenges are causing the most significant disruptions.
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Based on your votes, it was determined that outdated IT & business processes have caused the greatest disruption to supply chain operations. Read on below to hear more about the top challenges we continue to face and identify technologies that can help modernize and automate supply chain operations.
1. Lowering Operating Costs
High operating costs can be caused by a number of culprits. Rising costs for parts and materials, overhead, labor and inventory have all applied strain on supply chain operations.
Solution – While there is no magic pill for eliminating all operating costs, RFID and RTLS can help. For example, using RFID for inventory management can dramatically cut time and labor spent on audits and cycle counts. In turn, organizations can better allocate these valuable resources. Furthermore, RFID and RTLS can automate stock level management, helping companies become leaner, and better utilize their warehousing space which has been at a premium in recent years.
2. Parts & Materials Visibility
In 2018, 21.8% of supply chain executives stated that visibility was their biggest challenge. Supply chain complexities from the COVID-19 pandemic have shined the spotlight even further on this issue. Due to the outsourcing of pieces of the value chain, visibility over operations has become even cloudier. This results in inaccurate data, inventory loss, part shortages, inefficient operations, downtime, and more.
Solution – Utilizing RFID technology, companies can create an accountable chain of custody that promotes traceability and transparency over material flows. Both passive RFID checkpoints and active location technology can monitor materials as they pass through production and distribution. In turn, companies can provide better data accuracy for part numbers, their quality, and their history throughout the value chain.
3. Labor Shortages
The “Great Resignation” has affected many industries, but perhaps none harder than logistics and manufacturing, which had an aging labor pool pre-pandemic. Supply chains must now adapt to recruiting and retaining a much younger pool of candidates, who may have antiquated views of the industry.
Solution – Technology can solve labor shortages through several different implementations. First, RFID can automate manual workflows such as outbound and inbound inventory management, quality assurance, auditing, and more. On the other hand, upgrading to newer Android technology and software applications can cut down training time, creating a better end-user experience for younger workers and boosting their productivity and efficiency.
4. Sustainability & Reusability
In the 21st century many organizations, especially large-scale enterprises, have enacted sustainability initiatives. Through these efforts, companies attempt to minimize environmental and human impacts from parts and products as they travel throughout the supply chain. However, tracking the success of their sustainability efforts is often left out of the equation. For instance, many companies re-use totes and bins for shipping but need a way to monitor and track these items to ensure compliance with their initiatives.
Solution – RFID technology excels at creating visible and traceable processes. As a result, RFID solutions can monitor sustainability compliance for reusable materials and trigger notifications when items are improperly discarded.
5. Quality & Availability of Data
All supply chains are striving to become more data-driven. However, organizing and making sense of data is easier said than done. Having inaccurate or unavailable information surrounding your business operations often leads to errors, the inability to make decisions, and drags on productivity. In order to make decisions that optimize operations, reduce costs, and ensure compliance, companies need access to real-time data.
Solution – Whether you are upgrading from manual inventory or looking for real-time visibility across the entire supply chain, barcode, RFID, and RTLS technology provides greater insight into critical business operations. Our solutions illuminate the data that surrounds your inventory, assets, personnel, and workflows.
6. Upgrading IT & Processes
Supply chains relying on manual systems or antiquated technology fell even further behind amid the challenges that arose during the pandemic. Many organizations felt the sting from the lack of supply chain visibility, inaccurate internal data, and inability to forecast demand. By investing in current technology, advanced analytics, and IoT, supply chains can achieve a 360-degree, real-time view of their operations. Gartner predicts that 50% of global companies will incorporate AI, advanced analytics, and IoT in their supply chains by 2023.
Solution – Organizations need to outline a technology roadmap to continue to solve business challenges and keep ahead of competitors. From upgrading to modern, secure Android mobile computers or investing in automated data collection solutions, we are here to assist you. Our solutions aim to increase productivity, meet new compliance demands, and cut operating costs while delivering a quick and achievable ROI.
7. Shipping & Picking Errors
It’s a fact of life. Errors happen at work. But when operations and processes are overly-manual, those errors can pile up fast, and more importantly, so do the costs. When an order is picked or shipped inaccurately, organizations can quickly rack up costs like returns, additional shipping, re-packaging, and labor. Additionally, indirect costs like lost sales, customer loyalty, dissatisfaction, and time also add to a company’s operating costs and impact its bottom line.
Solution – All of these different costs make achieving an ROI from an automation solution incredibly attainable. Technology like barcode, voice-guided picking, and inventory management systems can all help eliminate errors in warehouse operations. Voice automation alone can ensure picking accuracy up to 99%. Learn more by watching our webinar on reducing errors with voice automation!
8. Keeping Up with Customer Demand
Growing consumer expectations like convenience, personalized experiences, social responsibility, and price sensitivity have been a challenge for all businesses. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic intensified these challenges for a select few industries as consumer demand skyrocketed for certain items. Furthermore, other challenges like labor shortages and poor visibility have added to the complexity of delivering goods and services that meet lofty customer expectations.
Solution – Now more than ever organizations need to invest in strategic technology solutions that improve their efficiency and throughput. Automating workflows with barcode, voice, RFID, RTLS, and other technology can help eliminate inefficiencies, boost productivity, and meet new industry demands.
Solve Your Biggest Supply Chain Challenges with RMS Omega
RMS Omega is committed to helping our clients solve their biggest supply chain challenges with strategic technology solutions. We design and support complete solutions that incorporate the right hardware, software, and services to deliver positive results and ROI. Contact us today to get started!