In today’s global economy, disruptions to the supply chain can have a ripple effect on businesses around the world. Severe weather conditions, labor strikes, natural disasters, and global pandemics can all cause delays and disrupt the flow of goods. In order to stay competitive in this environment, many businesses are turning to automation to help them respond more quickly and effectively to supply chain disruptions. While automation is a complex topic, in this article we’re going to focus on three main areas of opportunity: Warehouse robotics, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence.
Warehouse Robotics Improving Speed and Accuracy
One of the most exciting areas of supply chain automation is warehouse robotics. By using robots to automate tasks like picking and packing orders, businesses can greatly improve their efficiency and accuracy in fulfilling order, as well as maintain greater visibility into inventory control.
The increased visibility into supply levels, be it finished goods or raw materials, feeds data into ERP’s and ordering systems powering greater modeling and predictive analytics, enabling greater planning for surges in demand based on season or ebb and flow of market conditions.
Predictive Analytics Shaping Decisions
Another area where automation is helping businesses respond to supply chain disruptions is predictive analytics. By using data from past disruptions, businesses can develop models that help them predict how future disruptions will impact their supply chains. This information can be used to make decisions about inventory levels, production schedules, and shipping routes. Predictive analytics can also help businesses identify potential problems before they occur, allowing them to take corrective action before disruptions happen.
Artificial Intelligence Driving Manufacturing Processes
From predictive maintenance to quality control, AI is helping businesses increase efficiency and reduce waste. In the area of supply chain management, AI and predictive analytics combine to optimize production schedules and routing, as well as forecast demand. By using AI to automate these tasks, businesses can save time, money, and aid in planning and responding to market and supply chain disruption.
While automation is not a panacea for all supply chain ills, it is clear that it can be a powerful tool for helping businesses respond to disruptions. Employing automation improves efficiency and accuracy, and allows businesses to re-allocate their greatest resource—their people—to focus on more complex or soft-skill processes.
As the world has shifted into a truly global marketplace with on-demand products and services becoming commonplace for B2C and B2B customers alike, supply chain disruptions are commonplace, but through automation businesses are adapting and meeting the demands of the market.
If you are looking to increase your productivity or reduce lag through integrating automation and robotics into your manufacturing process but need funding to make the leap, contact your ENGS representative to learn about our industrial equipment financing covering a wide range of industries and equipment types.