Due to the high intensity of their everyday job, importers can sometimes end up overlooking potential weaknesses in their supply chain. How can this be avoided? New technology can help unravel these knots constricting the supply chain and unlock bottlenecks enabling competitiveness.

Below here are some of the possible challenges and how technology can help address them:

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Lack of uniformity in storing supply chain data

Storing the same data or information in different formats, places, and systems causes confusion and redundancies when analyzing and interpreting data. The right technological tools can help you store data in similar formats. “By 2023, some of the largest logistics companies will make use of Artificial Intelligence, advanced analytics, automation, robotics, and Internet of Things to prep up their supply chain operations” predicts Gartner. This will dispel all uncertainty and provide better visibility to the supply chain, fostering better decision making.
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Poor visibility in supply chain transactions due to shipment delays

Information conveyed through traditional means takes a longer time to reach shipping companies, which is usually late. This delay in relay of information directly impacts supply processes making it difficult to fulfil orders. The use of real-time data techniques will provide with on-time information, putting products on the shelf exactly when customers want them. Some of these techniques include tools that ensure continued visibility into supply chain operations and provide analytics for transparency, among others.
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Supply chain optimisation

Rigid supply chain makes it difficult to cater to new customers

An unwillingness to gradually move in and out of existing logistics networks can delay the shipment and increase freight costs. Logistics mode must be chosen based on urgency of cargo delivery, availability of logistics, and pricing. For instance, though a sea route may be the cheapest, it may make sense to use a combination of sea and air freight to transport time-bound cargo and keep costs in check. Such solutions that suggest optimal routing both for intermodal and in-country will allow to compare transport costs and take the right decision.
Supply chain technology

Loss of goods due to inefficient tracking capabilities

Most often, importers do not have visibility into the status of goods once they have left the point of origin’s ports and only receive information once it has reached the destination. Erratic weather conditions, congested ports, or other variables may derail arrival or even be a signal of loss of goods. Technology tools including radio-frequency identification (RFID), global positioning satellite (GPS) and BLE Beacons make it easier to have visibility on shipments, track them end-to-end and therefore deliver them on time.
Multi model transport

Incurring higher landing cost due to inability to foresee procurement costs

Certain unforeseen events like non-availability of trucks or delays at the procurement side could lead to an increase in actual landing costs. Human errors or delays by procurement team can incur additional chargers to the logistics manager. Choosing a logistics partner with a hands-on approach, multi-modal transport facility, and extensive network can help avoiding such situations.
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Increased demurrage charges and goods wastage due to poor accountability

At times, poor or ineffective execution on the ground level leads to disorganized cargo handling and storage. With technology guiding each cargo shipment at every step, accountability becomes a reality and makes it imperative that ground-level workers better manage warehouses and the cargo within. Some sought after warehouse management technologies include Machine-to-Machine technology, Order Fulfillment Optimization technology and Pick-to-Light Systems.

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