Blog post

Innovation and technology in logistics and supply chain

Maria Adebola Adeseun, a doctoral student in Logistics and Supply Chain at the University of Derby, talks about innovation and technology in logistics and supply chain.

By Maria Adebola Adeseun - 19 February 2018

Individuals and corporate organisations across the world face new challenges by the passing of each day. To deal with these challenges, the quest for new ways of working, frameworks and paradigms becomes inevitable. In fact, anything that concerns man possesses an unending challenge to be defeated – this truism reflects the foundation upon which new innovations and technologies come to life.

In every micro-second, billions of tonnes of goods and services based on supply and demand pass through millions of supply chain frameworks in the midst of unforeseen chaotic tendencies known as disruptions. Industries around the world keep all hands on deck to curtail, avoid or minimize the negative effect of these situations just so they can maximise profit and keep their customers satisfied. These disruptive tendencies therefore highlights the need for better frameworks, new innovations and technological advancements to predict, reduce or bring to an end a great number of events that could result to unwanted outcomes.

Ever wondered why some organisations perform better than others?

Most of the time it has nothing to do with how big or small they are, and more to do with using good, cutting edge innovations. In a contemporary world, where billions of pieces of information are exchanged every second, organisations who are able to use a veritable amount of it to their advantage find themselves operating on a whole new level.

Supply chain chaos has motivated innovation

The major concern in supply chain management is centred on the avoidance of risk – this apprehensive concern is what triggers the search for new innovations. More so, it closes existing gaps and identifies new opportunities in an extremely uneven market, which is mostly hindered by poor infrastructures and obsolete logistic systems.

An efficient supply chain is vital for industries and organisations to supply their products and or services to end users in need of them. As the global marketplace continues to evolve, supply chain managers must think far beyond the ordinary to reach an equilibrium between product flow and costs. While at it, new challenges spring up and the search for improvement remains unending giving rise to new innovations.

Innovations to ponder on

A great number of new innovations exist in the world today. Thinking outside the box in making the impossible achievable is basically the work of supply chain managers. Highlighted below are a few innovations that may be considered:

Digital and social media age

The internet is so large that no one even knows how big it is – it is simply unquantifiable. With the advent of the internet, recent times have seen an age of digital revolution where one can convey information from one part of the world to another in seconds. Social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp have an estimated 1.2 billion monthly active users, which has made communication cheap and easy. With such advantages, it makes more sense for contemporary industries and organisations to take advantage of social media supremacy to improve their supply chain framework. It is undoubtedly an even playing ground for both small scale and large scale industries to operate and keep in touch with staff, partners and customers in real-time.

The drone technology

Drones are not just used to spot and eliminate terrorist targets or monitor the activities of a group of people. Drones can now do far more for businesses and organisations. They can take images from aerial angles, generate population data and, more importantly, deliver packages within a short period. Organisations like UNICEF, Switzerland Postal Service and Doctors without Borders have tested the effectiveness and efficiency of the drone in terms of package delivery. Aside from package delivery drones can evaluate the best route, avoiding issues like extreme weather conditions and even restricted airspace.

Data mining

Billions of pieces information are been shared every second around the world, so supply chain managers need the requisite skills to gather the right data and mine it based on what information they want or intend to use. Top industry players have started using large volumes of data ranging from call centre logs, website visits and clicks, emails and demographic data to their utmost advantage, in order build a more intelligent supply chain and logistics framework that gets things done adequately.

In conclusion, the whole idea of embracing new technological innovations and adopting it into supply chain and logistics management is to operate with ease, therefore reducing inefficiency. Breaking new grounds and exploring new areas of technological upgrades will go a long way in reducing the rate of unwanted incidents and staying above troubled waters of unhealthy competition, thereby increasing customer base and satisfaction.

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About the author

Maria Adebola Adeseun
PhD Candidate

Maria is a resourceful and detail-oriented researcher with strong analytical background seeking challenging opportunities to utilise her knowledge and skills to achieve organisational objectives and goals. She is flexible and approachable, result and target driven, open to new ideas and adaptable.