Where is supply chain management headed and why should you care? In the first place, any business selling a product runs a supply chain. While the engineering of supply chains spurred professions and academia, a supply chain’s purpose remains quite simple. A supply chain describes the steps companies take to fulfill orders perfectly. eCommerce, marketplaces, mobile computing made supply chains less rigid, but more complex. However, technology also made it easier to manage the complexity. And technology will only make a smarter supply chain in the future.
History Points to the Smarter Supply Chain
It wasn’t long ago that companies sold through limited channels. For example, most retailers made sales at the POS in their stores. Similarly, wholesalers, distributors, and manufacturers dedicated their supply chains to reach their specific kinds of customers. Thus, they devoted processes, people, and technology to fulfill orders in one supply chain.
The Cloud Brought it Together
Cloud technology first made for a smarter supply chain. It continues to make it smarter today. The evolution started with the web. For example, a retailer could add a website to sell more. However, historic investment in POS sales created problems. Their server-based software, in particular, only managed one channel. A retailer would need another system to manage online sales. However, such segmented systems created fulfillment problems. A retailer might sell a product online, unaware of a stock-out. Furthermore, the cost to integrate separate server-based software could break any budget. Then cloud technology developed allowing services that could cost-effectively integrate previously siloed systems and processes.
Data Drives Us to an Even Smarter Supply Chain
Technology is making the supply chain smarter in ways that won’t directly impact most companies. For example, the manufacturing sector invested $178 billion in Internet of Things in 2016. Manufactures networked sensors to collect data to analyze and adjust operation. There’s also the broadly applied concept of artificial intelligence. Supply chains increasingly make use of technology that simulates human intelligence and learning to do things like predict supply chain disruptions.
Inventory management software makes up a big part of the smarter supply chain. Companies need to make sense of historical data to help make smarter decisions about the future. That’s why Cin7 embarked on a program to improve how customers make high-level inventory decisions. While we already started on our roadmap to automate 95% of Cin7’s manual processes by end of 2018, we’ve also launched “Connected Intelligence”.
Connected Intelligence encompasses the tools to help your business decide what, when, where and how to sell your products. This begins with our library of Premium Reports. As with built-in reports, Premium Reports draw on Cin7’s extensive real-time supply chain visibility to make the most of a customer’s accumulated data. Consequently, companies have a better understanding of stock, customers, sales and more to track their and improve their performance.
Moreover, this is just the first step. Cin7 will be rolling out more Connected Intelligence feature in the future. So, stay tuned.
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