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Three questions you need to answer to find out how digital services can optimize your supply chain
With the growing complexity of supply chain management, product visibility and inventory control are more important now than ever.
Did you know that up to 40% of returnable assets disappear each year globally because of breakage, misplacement, or theft?1 If that happens to you too, you are not alone. According to McKinsey's featured insights, nearly 80% of logistics executives surveyed indicated they needed to improve and invest in digital planning to increase supply chain visibility.2 However, there is an easy way to obtain better visibility into the movement and condition of your shipments: by simply using modern technology.
With the growing complexity of supply chain management, product visibility and inventory control are more important now than ever. Based on Nefab’s experience, connectivity is the key to effective asset management, returnable systems maintenance, and installation management. In fact, based on customers’ study, we singled out three critical questions which you should ask yourself to determine your individual preferences. If you don’t know the answers to those questions, then investing in digital services might be something to consider.
Do You Know Where Your Return Flows Are?
The most common challenge in supply chains is losing sight of the return flows, and you simply can’t manage what you don’t see. Instead of ordering more return solutions to accommodate for the losses, you should manage them better. How?
By using modern connected packaging solutions with advanced tracking capabilities, every asset is equipped with a sensor associated with a relevant data point. This data is then aggregated and reported in real-time. As packages are tracked in transit, it is simple to see where products are at any given time, when they will arrive, and in what sequence they are packed in a container.
However, smart packaging is capable of much more. It allows you to monitor current stock levels and receive alerts when certain events occur, such as shock, tampering, or late deliveries. Knowing this will help you not only estimate your average cycle time within your return flow, but also improve routes, delivery performance, handling, utilization, and lead times by up to 65% in some cases.
With different tags available (RFID, BLE and GPS), you can track not only the location of your shipment between the sites, but also its temperature and potential damage in real time. (Image: Adobe Stock)
Can You Manage Assets Once They Leave the Shipping Dock?
For small and mid-sized businesses that rely on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for integrated warehouse management system (WMS) functions or other supply chain processes, ERP is their operational life blood. When it works properly, orders get filled, processes are streamlined, and customers stay happy. Yet, when an ERP system doesn’t meet operational needs, key processes turn into struggles, or the companies may find it challenging to keep pace with growth.3
Moreover, ERP systems don’t provide the necessary visibility into asset management from the moment it leaves the warehouse until it reaches its destination. What happens during this journey remains a mystery. That’s why track and trace devices evolved, providing flexible and appropriate insight to fill in the gaps. With different tags available (RFID, BLE and GPS), you can track not only the location of your shipment between the sites, but also its temperature and potential damage in real time.
However, it all comes down to having all the key information in one centralized system, giving your warehouse operators an effective view into what needs to be done. You need one platform which enables usage of all different kinds of technology and devices, thus providing security for the future.
By using a mix of technologies, Nefab’s track & trace platform provides real-time location in transit. This data can increase efficiencies as well as reduce costs of your connected flows, sometimes even up to 65% cycle time.
Is Your Digital Platform Capable of Processing All This Data From Various Sources?
With multiple data sources, it can be challenging for companies to harmonize, interpret, and share this crucial data in an efficient way. There is no-one-size-fits-all solution either. A centralized track and trace information hub should be tailored to the needs of every company and have a user-friendly interface to avoid information paralysis.
To overcome those challenges, Nefab has created a technology-agnostic track and trace software for connected packaging, allowing for full interoperability across different systems. Currently the network cooperates with over 90 different plug & play devices across different technologies and monitors more than 80 million events daily from over 110 countries around the globe.
This means that new, cheaper devices, regardless of their underlying technology (be it QR, RFID, connected gateways, GPS or Bluetooth) can be added to the existing device fleet without the need to replace the current equipment and infrastructure. Nefab estimates that hybrid technology solutions help to save up to 95% in overall device costs.
This unique technology-neutral track and trace solution allows you to effectively profile and monitor the data for connected packages in global circulation with up to 99.9% accuracy.
Moving into the Digital World
The transition to truly digital supply chains is more complex and volatile than ever, and to get there, companies must become more agile. Connected services help you achieve that by effectively tracking and tracing where your packaging is at a given time, what state it is in and – if something goes wrong – helps you identify the optimal solution. As a result, you can use that data for valuable insights to drive a more predictive future in supply chains, improve demand planning and forecast production needs.
Investing in a technology-agnostic platform and digital services can provide businesses with a competitive advantage now while also preparing them for future challenges. What more, the investment yields high ROI value in optimizing sustainable return flows. At Nefab, by innovating together with our customers, we are finding new ways to save resources in supply chains.
We save resources in supply chains, for a better tomorrow.
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