HomeTECHNOLOGYSupply Chains: 5 Key Trends Shaping 2022

Supply Chains: 5 Key Trends Shaping 2022

Reliable supply chains are backbone of industry, but recently they have been repeatedly disrupted. Companies that drive their digitization, find it easier to meet the growing demands in logistics. The supply chains of companies have been under pressure since the beginning of the corona pandemic, and the likelihood of this changing in the short term is relatively low. Anyone who knows the following five trends in logistics can make supply chains more robust and sustainable.

Digitization Of Supply Chains Increases Resilience

According to a recent study, the pandemic is accelerating the digitization of logistics and supply chain management in more than half of industrial companies. Those responsible can react more agilely to unexpected situations. And thus, position yourself more resiliently in the supply chain overall, for example, through the forward-looking optimization of inventories or container availability. In addition, real-time warning systems predict bottlenecks early and offer recommendations for action. In addition, new early warning systems can monitor social networks, which are often the first to report on crises, which saves time.

Cooperation Offers Competitive Advantages

So far, companies have rarely relied on cross-company cooperation. However, collaboration with other manufacturers, dealers, or service providers, such as transport, production, and storage, creates significant competitive advantages. The exchange of information on stocks, production plans, container pools, requirements, and sales figures allows more precise planning and a more robust design of supply chains. This is because not only the perspective of a single company is taken.

The joint planning of goods flows can also be better-used transport routes and transport capacities. This offers enormous cost advantages and makes it easier to achieve sustainability goals. However, such cooperation requires trust, transparency, and digital technologies for a smooth exchange of information and data-supported control.

Employees Come Into Focus

A shortage of skilled workers, fluctuation, and digitization makes it urgently necessary to rethink the world of work. After all, the logistics industry lacks 60,000 to 80,000 professional drivers and countless dispatchers and warehouse workers. During the pandemic, digital workforce planning has already helped many companies to react optimally to unexpected peaks or employee absences.

But the benefit goes beyond that: By using intelligent, digital tools, companies are making themselves more employee-friendly. Employee interests can be reconciled with operational requirements, and the opportunity to participate increases. “New Work” thus sheds the tight corset of the home office and, as “Digital Work,” is also within reach for commercial employees. More flexible working time models can be implemented where shift work has previously been regulated.

Hybrid Fleets Improve Intralogistics

Most industrial companies still rely primarily on forklifts for internal plant transport. Automated guided vehicle systems (DTS) are being used in more and more areas. Still, a lack of compatibility in the communication and control of different AGVs or between AGVs and means of transport with human drivers impedes efficiency. The success of AGV stands and falls with the use of a transport control system that networks the AGV and manually controlled floor conveyors and can control all vehicles from a meta-perspective.

In VDA 5050, there is a standardized interface for communication between autonomous vehicles and such a control system that companies should use. After all, AGVs are not suitable for every type of goods to be transported, for example, if the containers do not meet the standard. A hybrid vehicle fleet with a transport control system that works in real-time is often the best solution so that the entire order network works optimally and as few empty trips as possible occur.

Supply Chains: Sustainability Is Becoming A Must

The customer’s desire for environmentally friendly products manufactured under fair conditions and the new supply chain law make sustainable logistics indispensable for companies. They have to monitor the working conditions within their supply chains and at direct suppliers and react to misconduct at downstream suppliers. In addition, the CO2 pollution of preliminary products and purchased parts is becoming an increasingly important factor in the selection of offers, alongside price and delivery time. Intelligent supplier management that considers environmental aspects becomes a decisive competitive advantage.

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