Riding The Supply Chain Technology Wave - Business Media MAGS

Sunday Times Supply Chain

Riding The Supply Chain Technology Wave

There’s a burgeoning wealth of technology available to supply chain managers these days, but how do they figure out which to choose and implement? Anthony Sharpe finds out.

Companies are constantly pursuing technological solutions for their supply-chain challenges. These days, a staggering number of such solutions exist, and the number only seems to be growing exponentially.

“The evolution of technology is happening at such a rapid pace that, unless you’re focused on your industry segment or sector, it’s easy to be engulfed by the tsunami of the fourth industrial revolution,” says Michael Henning, sales manager at Easy Clear, suppliers of holistic software solutions to the customs clearing, freight forwarding and logistics industry.

Henning believes the biggest technological drivers currently are blockchain, the massive growth of last-mile logistics, elastic logistics, and the internet of things (IoT). “IoT is set to transform the sector, with operators able to collect data from various access points to feed into the network, providing real-time data across modalities.”

He acknowledges that it’s difficult to match business needs to the available technology, but you can simplify it by focusing on what matters.

“The lifeblood of any business is revenue, so how do you increase it? You can cut overheads – the largest of which is staff – but we don’t want to do that in South Africa. Instead, you can look to technology to streamline the business, add additional revenue streams and grow the business by repurposing your human resources and upskilling them to adopt this new technology,” he notes.

“Another way to cut overheads is through adoption of software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions. If companies can migrate from a legacy Windows or similar service to SaaS or IaaS, they can get rid of costly infrastructure like servers,” says Henning.

This also enables companies to secure what is increasingly becoming one of their most valuable commodities: data.

“As we move into the era of SaaS and IaaS, there’s a much greater emphasis on the protection of data,” explains Henning. “That has been brought sharply into focus by the Protection of Personal Information Act.” Companies must ensure that they have adequate security in the cloud environment to protect client data. “There are a lot of technological enhancements in terms of encryption, backups, access to data and so forth,” he states.

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