Smart technologies are changing the way we do things. They’re also changing business processes across the world. Today, innovation and technology are being used not only to streamline processes but also to anticipate consumer demand, something that seemed unimaginable years ago. From computerised tracking, cloud-based systems, automated trucking to automation robotics, technology has changed the supply chain management industry.
One category that is gaining prominence is the use of robotics and automation. It presents new opportunities to improve global supply chains. Supply chain automation is allowing companies to meet heavy customer demands in much more efficient ways.
By 2030, Robotics and Automation will eliminate 33.33% of American jobs (McKinsey, 2017). According to another research, 68% of G200 manufacturing companies will rely on AI for their supply chain management initiatives before 2024 (Inbound Logistics ,2019). Some future trends in robotics and automation are as follows:
- Collaborative Robots: These robots have the ability to interact with humans in a shared space and work together. They are very safe and can increase the potential of the workers.
- Telepresence Robots: Taking into account the current world situation due to Covid-19, such robots will become very popular in the future.
- Warehouse Logistics: Warehouse robotics will majorly impact global commerce. According to research, the market will be worth $22.4 billion by 2021 (Tractica).
- Healthcare: Robotic surgery is slowly getting adopted around the world. It is much more precise and will increase the scope for the healthcare industry.
- Autonomous Vehicles: Self-driving vehicles are gaining prominence. By 2023, the value of this market could be worth $77 billion dollars (BCG).
Adapting to these technologies will provide long term benefits to companies. Revamping old processes can give companies an upper-edge in the competitive space, thus enabling survival in the competitive market. Supply chain operations will become streamlined. There will be reduction in human errors, thus leading to less rework and superior quality of production. In addition to this, global supply chains will become cost-efficient, time-efficient, leaner and agile, thus boosting brand image.
However, there are some challenges involved. Implementation of such technologies can be very expensive. Moreover, machines can make mistakes as simple as error in calculation or as complex as a machine wrongly picking up a human instead of a product. Machines also the human ability to form relationships and take real-time decisions. Companies need to be careful with such technologies and should administer them at the right points of the supply chain. If managers take prudent decisions, the long-term benefits of such technologies can outweigh the potential drawbacks.
The consumers of today are evolving. They want experiences that are unique. Due to the competitive environment and current happenings around the world such as Covid-19, companies need to actively rethink existing supply chains while treating them as assets. The use of robotics and automation is becoming popular in this era of globalisation. Robots are no longer limited to simple roles. Rapid developments in this field are now enabling robots to take on more challenging jobs, jobs that you would never imagine a robot doing. Supply chain leaders should prepare to embrace new technology. In the future, such technologies will transform the supply chains around the word.
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