Since the advent of the assembly line, supply chain management has been an important factor when it comes to success. While there has always been a need for access to real-time data, increasingly, legacy technology limitations are resulting in a flawed system with at-best, limited transparency that means keeping up with data-driven competitors is nearly impossible.
But soon, that may all be a thing of the past. Technology is moving toward all-things-digital at warp speed, and the potential for an automated system that’s ready and willing to take over the supply chain management industry entirely is just as quickly disrupting traditional ways of working.
Some in the industry think it will only be a few more years until the supply chain function could be entirely obsolete. Instead, they say it will be replaced by a self-regulating robotic utility that manages work flows end-to-end while needing little to no human interaction.
It begs the questions: Could this be possible? And more importantly, would it be better?
Imagining the Supply Chain of the Future
We can see some pros to a totally automated supply chain. A highly-functioning digital foundation means companies may be able to gain real-time, high quality data in a snap. Virtually instantaneously, data could be:
All for the benefit of a more smoothly running, completely enhanced version of the supply chain industry across the board.
So, is this likely? Could the future of the supply chain really be fueled by AI, automation, predictive analytics and robotics?
The trend of tech replacing people isn’t just a suspect for our industry - it’s becoming a reality across hundreds of industries, on a global scale, so it doesn’t seem all that far-fetched to imagine a future where AI and automated processes allow for advanced analytics, robotics and more.
And so, if we do see a shift to an increasingly automated industry, where will that leave supply chain professionals?
Will those higher up in supply chain organizations need to refocus? Move away from managing people? Will those who analyze data and use algorithms to make effective forecasts become increasingly in demand? And beyond this, what types of supply chain challenges in the future should we expect?
Right now there seems to be more questions than answers about the future of supply chains - but like with any shift in industry, those who continue to keep up and remain agile, learning new skills and adapting to new needs, will be the ones who are here even if the trend continues and the whole world of supply chain does indeed change.
Contact the experts at Cadre Technologies to help automate and streamline your warehouse operations with a new WMS!