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Digital innovation can help manufacturers to strengthen supply chain management

Manufacturers looking to improve production processes can now use a combination of tech - including blockchain, GPS and smart seals – to gain greater visibility of goods in transit and better collaboration across their supply chains.

Manufacturers know all too well that their day-to-day operations are often driven – or undermined – by the delivery times of goods to their facilities. Bottlenecks can occur when multiple deliveries arrive at the same time, or additional costs can be incurred, and resources wasted, when vehicles don’t arrive on time.

Arranging staff rotas and production schedules and arranging adequate space in the warehouse all rely on deliveries arriving when they’re expected to. Labour costs are also a significant factor in production operations, so managing the workforce’s schedule to meet the peaks in demand is key.

But effective planning relies on knowing the load’s arrival time and this time is often difficult to predict and manage. To combat this, hauliers need to provide more visibility and transparency of their consignments to enable manufacturers to plan efficiently.

In a time of upheaval due to the pandemic, the logistics industry, like many others, has been severely disrupted. But for the manufacturing sector in particular, the challenges are compounded by Brexit, inflation and labour shortages. Yet customer demands and expectations of turnaround time on deliveries remain at an all-time high. The challenges manufacturers face are numerous and complex.

Complex regulations and customs

Following Brexit, the change to regulations and customs is one of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers. As an example, the delivery of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland has become more complex with the introduction of customs and health certification requirements. According to Haulage Exchange, a majority (81%) of hauliers report experiencing longer border waiting times, and 69% say they spend more time doing admin before crossing the border.

If this complexity remains unaddressed, it could have a negative impact on manufacturers in the long term but we believe the right tech can help them adapt.

Inadequate reporting and analytics

Understanding and tracking business performance is important for every organisation, yet this can get complicated and even confusing when there are multiple orders of multiple products from multiple vendors going out to multiple end-customers.

By now, we’re all familiar with the phrase “data is the new oil” and this is no different for the manufacturing industry. There is power in the knowledge that data brings, and an ineffective reporting and analytics tool is a great disadvantage for suppliers, buyers and customers alike. How can each party in your supply chain understand delivery times and be made aware of – and act upon - unforeseen delays caused by traffic jams, ferry cancellations or delays at ports, if there’s no process of reporting in real-time? To each stakeholder simultaneously?

Having the right tools in place will ensure leaders are able to make better informed decisions based on real-time data that in turns helps them improve business performance.

Tech is the answer to supply chain management

It’s obvious that every organisation aims for its operations to run smoothly, day-in-day-out without a glitch. But this is impossible when working blind. Which is why gaining full visibility, security and transparency of your supply chain network is important, as is the ability to collaborate with the partners within the supply chain in real-time.

As global supply chains continue to be more complex, manufacturers will only experience more friction, delays and added costs until supply chain activity is transformed. And with tech solutions – such as Atamai Freight – that provide real-time information on the movement of goods, this is possible.

The right technological solution will help to address these challenges by:

1. Providing end-to-end visibility: Providing greater visibility through an integrated dashboard gives supply chain partners access to vital, real-time information about goods in transit and allows them to deal with any issues ahead of the event and mitigate disruption or unexpected costs

2. Allowing easy supply chain collaboration: Improved transparency will help to bring better visibility to know when goods will arrive so manufacturers can easily manage the production process, and its workforce. This can allow goods to go to market quicker, helping to minimise the threat of 'on-time in-full' (OTIF) penalties and build a happier customer base

3. Improving load assurance: By using a reusable secure GPS and data-enabled digital smart seal, which helps improve sustainability and can reduce costs, manufacturers will be able to help protect load integrity, and support regulatory compliance. The smart seal can only be locked and unlocked in specific locations and only by authorised individuals, with tracking of all interactions and journey details captured securely.

Our belief is that the future of the industry’s supply chain is in tech innovation, in data orchestration across multiple organisations. Real-time tamper-proof smart seal and GPS information to manage supply chains with its benefits in helping to save time, money and improving sustainability is a powerful incentive. By choosing to work with hauliers that are also embracing innovative tech can help manufacturers to improve both customer experience and improve the bottom line.


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