New Technology is Providing New Forms of Supply Chain Visibility

The Global System for Mobile Communications Association predicts that there will be nearly 50 billion connected devices by 2025. This is almost ten times the predicted human population at that point. There’s no doubt that technology has forever changed business practices – and the supply chain is no exception. 

Visibility into the supply chain is a crucial function of any business, and is particularly important in logistics and transportation. A recent study by eyefortransport and AT&T indicates that 90% of logistics and transport companies say that improving operational visibility is either ‘critical and necessary’ or ‘very important.’ Even more, only 1% of companies believe that visibility isn’t important.

Visibility into logistics operations allows a company to identify inefficiencies and make improvements based on historical and real-time data. By making these improvements, companies are enhancing service, and influencing the customer experience. Consumer demand is higher than ever, which reverberates throughout the whole supply chain. For example, 66% of B2B and 52% of B2C customers stopped buying from that company after they had a bad customer experience, and 95% of people share their bad experiences on social media.

The importance of the customer experience has put pressure on organizations to improve service, mainly through transportation. The first step to make any improvement is to gain visibility into the problem. New technology is making new types of operational visibility possible, and allowing businesses to provide superior service.

The internet of things (IoT), sometimes called Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology, is on the rise and has begun to gain traction in the market place. M2M technology is being used mostly for high-value asset tracking, but will find use in all industries in the coming years – it will be the 2nd most adopted form of technology, after GPS tracking.

M2M technology typically works by converting a signal from an analog sensor into data that is communicable through different types of software. M2M technology allows for meaningful, real-time information on things such as package location, temperature, pressure, and even the severity of shock impacts.

Gathering and analyzing data in a timely manner is one of the biggest challenges to true visibility, and M2M technology is a direct response to the challenge. With immediate visibility into product location and status, businesses can alert customers of delays and damages, as well as set new delivery times, in order to ease the impact of poor customer service. Companies can also learn which transport methods and which transport companies cause damages and delays so that they can be avoided in the future.

In the future of M2M technology, a truck will be able to do things like alert a driver when something is wrong, tell the driver what is wrong and direct them to the nearest service station for repair. For now, M2M technology is being used mostly for its ability to provide real-time data and to give detailed product information on valuable assets in transit. However, expect M2M technology to rise in popularity rapidly in the coming years.

Want to learn more about gaining supply chain visibility? Read this ebook: Powerful Reporting Improves Insight.