Smart supply chains: More efficiency and transparency for your logistics

Supply chains in which all process steps mesh like well-oiled gears are the basis of every functioning and reliable logistics system. Digitization and forward-looking technologies are opening up completely new perspectives: Smart supply chains meet the demand for even greater flexibility and take integrated transport and warehouse processes to a higher level. In the following text, you can read how smart supply chains bring about a new quality of networking and transport between all participants and which technologies contribute to this.

Table of contents

  1. Smart Supply Chain Definition: What's Behind It?
  1. Definition Smart Logistics: Digital Transformation of Logistics
  1. Technologies for Smart Supply Chains
  1. What are the advantages of digitizing the supply chain?
  1. Smart supply chains change the entire logistics process

Smart Supply Chain Definition: What's Behind It?

Smart supply chains make use of technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and advanced robotics. This makes it possible to process data automatically at high speed, improve processes and exploit potential for increasing logistics efficiency. The important thing here is that all parties involved, whether logistics service providers, transporters, warehouse operators, manufacturers or recipients of the products, are seamlessly integrated into the smart processes. This is not always easy, but it is possible.

Ensuring high quality standards in smart supply chains

In this way, the services in smart supply chains can be continuously monitored. This avoids errors, reduces friction losses and meets the high quality requirements that customers place on logistics processes today - including reliable availability of goods and fast delivery. The flow of materials and the use of resources in both inbound and outbound logistics can be sustainably optimized.  

Competitiveness in the digitalized world

Market trends are accelerating the path to the smart supply chain. Omnichannel models in the B2B segment play just as much a role as the e-commerce boom in B2C. These developments are additionally accelerated by the persistently high cost pressure in the highly competitive logistics market. Smart supply chains thus represent a strategically decisive field of action for companies that want to maintain their competitiveness in the digitalized economy.

Only those who digitize their supply chain can keep up with the competition and play at the very top.

Definition Smart Logistics: Digital Transformation of Logistics

Smart Factory and Smart Logistics are closely linked. Industry 4.0 is inconceivable without integrated Logistics 4.0. In this context, Smart Logistics means using digital technologies to gather and evaluate information in order to make supply chains smarter. All participants and the programs and systems they use are linked together for this purpose. The digitization of the supply chain leads to maximum transparency and interactivity - far beyond the boundaries of one's own company or warehouse.  

At the same time, the effort of constant communication between different contacts at customers and logistics service providers is reduced. As a logistics service provider and warehouse operator, Smart Logistics enables you to respond even better and more individually to the requirements of your clients. In addition to improved service, this opens up the opportunity for new, promising business models.

Technologies for Smart Supply Chains

In smart logistics concepts, different technologies interact. It is crucial to tailor the concepts to the respective requirements and the initial situation of your company. The following is an overview of the key elements.

  • Cloud applications: Fast data exchange and ever-growing data volumes require high storage capacities and high-performance systems. The future of smart logistics therefore lies in the cloud. This means that everyone involved can access up-to-date information at any time and exchange information more quickly.
  • Big Data: Automated data analysis in real time provides the input to continuously optimize smart supply chains and logistics processes. The findings from Big Data applications flow directly into modern warehouse management systems. In this way, processes, material flows and resource utilization can be implemented in a targeted and more efficient manner. Yesterday's warehouse becomes a true service center for smart logistics.
  • Artificial intelligence and robotics: Robotics and the use of artificial intelligence are now indispensable in the implementation of automated warehouse systems. This applies to delivery and storage or order picking as well as to previously error-intensive processes such as pallet exchange.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): The networking of various devices in the industrial environment and in logistics makes processes more productive. This results in sustainable cost advantages from manufacturing to logistics.
  • Blockchain: Tamper-proof data sets and their rapid exchange among each other represent the backbone of smart processes.  

In logistics, there are various techniques and approaches to implementing digitization.

What are the advantages of digitizing the supply chain?

Smart supply chains - as described above - are not conceivable without linking all process participants. This requires appropriate IT systems. Automated process solutions for warehousing, distribution and order processing as well as digitized warehouse management systems are a particular focus for you as a logistics service provider. What advantages and expectations are associated with this? The digitization of logistics opens up added value for you on three levels:

  • Optimization of efficiency: Intelligent and faster data acquisition as well as data processing reduces sources of error, avoids inefficient processes and brings more security to supply chains.
  • Increasing productivity: Digitized processes and the use of smart technologies have a demonstrably positive effect on warehouse performance. Handling and all related processes are improved, productivity increases.
  • Gain in flexibility: Permanent data evaluation thanks to Big Data makes it possible to identify trends and changes at an early stage and flexibly adapt processes to them. Data analysis also creates a solid basis for making well-founded strategic decisions.

System solutions for a smart supply chain

Smart supply chains require an intelligent warehouse management system. This not only controls all processes, but ideally also offers comprehensive and transparent reporting and control functions. In this way, performance can be precisely measured from inbound through picking to shipping can be precisely measured. TradeLink creates the prerequisites for this with its intuitively usable platform - and thus creates added value for all players in the smart supply chain.

Smart supply chains change the entire logistics process

The digitization of industry and, by the same token, of the logistics world is advancing rapidly. New technologies accelerate and improve the communication of all players, use data for evaluation and permanent optimization, and thus have an influence on every single process step in smart supply chains.  

Logistics service providers who recognize and exploit the associated advantages at an early stage can gain strategic competitive advantages. TradeLink provides you with a cross-process platform for this purpose. The platform enables smooth collaboration between all internal and external parties involved in real time. This allows resources and employees to be deployed more efficiently and costs to be saved. End-to-end digitization replaces cost-intensive and error-prone paper processes, such as constant phone calls and outdated fax machines - with sustainable benefits not only for warehousing, but for the entire smart supply chain.

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