Befriending emerging technologies to improve Asia’s Dynamic Supply chain

By Guruprasad Gaonkar, APAC SaaS Leader, Office of Finance (ERP) & Digital Supply Chain, Oracle

 

By 2026, almost 50% of Asia’s populace will be dwelling in urban zones, which will resultin unprecedented pressure on already shaky infrastructure and supply chains. Doubtlessly, the duty of keeping up effective supply chains not only lies with the delivery organizations but also with the logistics value chain. As one of the most predominant financial power houses, Asia Pacific gets around 70% of the world’s container traffic in its ports, which adds to the complexity of the problem. Backed by the government and  by adopting  more intelligent technologies, logistics organizations can add more transparency and efficiency and can boost their economies in the process.

Digitalise to tear down siloes

All the sectors and industries are being transformed by emerging technologies and logistics sector is not an exception.Till now the supply chain management systems were working in siloes and hence were lacking the agility, which is a key pre-requisite for success in the modern world. The diversity of Asia, presents another set of challenges in terms of diverse economies, geographies, cultures,   language barrier, compliance etc.

Though technology cannot help with the diversity issues, it can surely help in solving the problems pertaining to inefficiencies and other underlying maladies of diversities.Backed by digital technologies we have come a long way from relying on third party service providers which used to cause further gaps in visibility and challenges. By standardising procedures, enhancing end to end visibility, digitalisation is empowering all logistics partners to facilitate shipments across regions seamlessly.

Doing nothing is not an option

 Perceiving the complexities emanating from local logistics industries, the governments are also opting for digitalisation in Asia. They see an opportunity to not only catch up with mature markets, but also to integrate business-to-business and business-to-government processes.For example,Singapore is upgrading itself with Tuas Mega Port, which will be double the city state’s current cargo handling  volume by year 2040, while leveraging technologies like ML, drones and driverless vehicles.

India is also finalising its  draft national logistics strategy this year, making a national logistics e-commercial centre as a one-stop for exporters and shippers, and at the same time as a single learning and data sharing instrument for all parties. With more than 20 government agencies, 40 partnering government agencies and 37 export promotion councils, India’s logistics regulatory landscape is extremely complex. Therefore, having a one-stop portal will significantly improve transparency and cost management, and will facilitate better shipping from end to end. Given strong government support for the logistics industry, the clock is ticking for businesses to catch the next ride to digitalisation or risk losing out on the opportunity to expedite first-to-last-mile logistics.

 

 From the ground to the cloud

Cloud applications empower every participant inside any supply chain from delivering parcels to food –  to control the data, to identify any issue and to manage inventory. The same information can also be relayed to original suppliers. Example of such transformation is Transworld Group, who created an integrated cloud-based technology platform that improved efficiency across its shipping and logistics businesses and also resulted in enhanced customer satisfaction.

Not just that, cloud solutions are critical in leveraging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML) and robotics, which are driving force behind more efficient supply chains. Robotics, for instance, have been a backbone of manufacturing for a long time now , but with upgrades like Machine Learning and sensing, robots can analyse massive troves of data and can predict outcomes or propose solutions like a faster route for delivery trucks. Moreover, AI and Machine Learning can further harness the data collected by the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, which remotely locate, manage and control shipping containers and fleets, enabling businesses to instantly access an unprecedented level of real-time information across the modern supply chain.

 Dynamic supply chain in a cloud world

 There is no uncertainty that the eventual fate of supply chain management is hyper advanced. Home to more than eight out of the best 20 worldwide economies by 2050 with its versatile and internet business market anticipated to reach US$1.6 trillion by 2021, the dynamic Asia Pacific locale must move supply chains to the cloud to stay competitive .

Every player in the supply chain from e-retailers to logistics providers – should get on the cloud to gain access to emerging technologies including AI, Machine Learning, IoT and robotics to enhance efficiencies, automate processes, empower employees to build customer loyalty and better societies in turn.

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