IoT as a technology has been around for some time. It continues to impact the future of logistics, allowing for a more accurate in-transit visibility and delivery of goods. A tag or sensor is placed on the product and radio waves are sent out transmitting various details of the cargo, it’s location, orientation, storage condition, etc. Blockchain is finding immense use in supply chain management. With the help of blockchain, the organizations are enhancing the security, visibility, and traceability in the supply chain and reducing the bottlenecks. Smart contracts are being introduced at every stage of the transactions throughout the shipment process, where the shipment goes through several changes of hands and transshipment.
These technologies are changing the supply chain management and logistics industry like never before. Almost all the organizations in this sector are using these technologies in some form or the other depending upon their maturity. When an organization is looking for supply chain transformation, it is looking for efficiency gain, change in the way they deliver their product – whether it is product as a service or traditional way of delivering the product. These technologies help organizations to gain end-to-end visibility across the supply chain, right from sourcing a supplier, uploading tender till the product is delivered to end customers. The other biggest change that these technologies have brought in, is data-driven decisions.
How is modern supply chain management different from the traditional supply chain management?
Managing a modern supply chain is becoming increasingly complex, requiring agile software solutions and analytical insight in order to keep up. Leaders understand the challenge: By 2023, at least half of large global companies will be using advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT) in their supply chains. It is a new reality for businesses that manufacture and sell products. They need to transform their supply chains from a rigid series of disconnected functions into an agile, connected, and automated supply chain.
The modern supply chain does not only execute, but it also brings in the detection based on advanced analytics and other modern technologies. In the modern supply chain, we can create a complete visualization layer and can access it through our mobile devices. Voice is becoming one of the major sources of data entry with digital assistants. In the coming times, the camera will be the primary source of entry. This is the way the supply chain is changing.
Oracle announced an application called digital assistant for transportation management where you can simply ask mobile digital assistant, where is your cargo, what is the status of your cargo, how much will it cost to ship my supplies to my customers from so and so warehouse. So, you can completely engage your digital thread to receive information, not only from the transportation model but also several other models of planning underneath.
How is Oracle helping customers face the challenges raised by new market realities?
At Oracle, we believe in providing future-ready logistics solutions in this increasingly competitive and complex supply chain system. We have streamlined the solutions to address each challenge the logistics market is facing today. Oracle’s logistics cloud provides end-to-end solutions in Transportation management from the planning stage, execution, fleet management, along with logistics network modeling. For Global Trade management, we have global trade and compliance in place, customs management, and trade agreements. Lastly, for warehouse management, we provide key features like modern warehousing, yard management, warehouse workforce management, warehouse management automation. Oracle IoT Fleet monitoring applications service integrated with Oracle Logistics solutions provide capabilities to monitor the cargo throughout the shipment. Powerful AI / ML capabilities embedded in these applications to provide predictive analytics on ETA, vehicle condition and maintenance requirement, driver’s driving behavior, route adherence, etc. Oracle Intelligent Track and Trace Blockchain application enable shippers to collaborate, monitor and trace cargo and documents flow across the trading network. Oracle has partnered with Loadsmart, a digital freight-brokerage, to ensure Fortune 500 companies like Kraft-Heinz and Coca-Cola to quickly match their loads with truckers. We see the challenges as an opportunity and address them for better customer experience.
With the advent of ecommerce, the supply chain has changed completely. What are your thoughts about it?
Ecommerce has been the pioneer in terms of adopting these solutions. To serve customers across multiple channels and fulfill orders quickly, supply chains need to be agile enough to change, as well as digitally connected from end-to-end. As an example, if a customer places an order online, the retailer must quickly determine how to fulfill the order rapidly. This requires locating the item, which could be in a distribution center or retail store hundreds of miles from the customer, and expediting the shipment using a transportation mode that ensures the customer will receive it in time. Orchestrating this complex transaction requires real-time visibility into the seller’s inventory, regardless of location. Connected applications — such as order management, inventory, and logistics — are what enable this kind of agility.
Automation is another increasingly necessary capability. While it’s already used in some parts of supply chains, it’s starting to augment more and more manual transactions and incorporate AI for automatic learning and process refinement. For example, warehouse automation enables the cost-effective fulfillment of highly variable orders by reducing errors and speeding up the fulfillment process, making personal service at-scale possible. Manually processing and fulfilling orders cannot achieve this because preparing each order would simply take too long and cost too much. But for this level of automation across systems to be effective, partners up and down the supply chain must be able to communicate in real-time — something that on-premises SCM systems lack the required levels of connectivity and automation to support.
What are the major technological trends that you are observing globally and in India? Or you can share any case study or anything you have done recently and can associate?
IoT, AI, and ML have been around for some time. Blockchain and Augmented Reality are two technologies where the future belongs. Augmented reality is where we can create something called a digital screen or a replica of your interfaces. You take your iPad or a tablet, in front of a machine, and a digital replica will come up on your screen. And this will increase the retrieve sensor parameters on that machine. It will also have predictive qualities by providing a time bar that can go backward and forward in time to see what the condition of various parameters of the machine across the timeline will be. So, you can take decisions about your supply chain based on intelligent simulations created by augmented reality.
Blockchain is another technology, which will witness increasing uptake especially in the supply of perishable goods like food, drugs, etc. Blockchain can help you pinpoint the exact source of any problem that has occurred in the entire supply chain.