Supply-Chain Optimisation: An Innovative Approach To Efficiency

To Optimise A Supply Chain

Supply-chain optimisation, and warehouse optimisation in particular, have seen major innovation in recent years. To optimise a supply chain means to operate it at maximum efficiency. The ultimate goal is to deliver a product at lowest cost while maintaining the highest level of profit. That is where supply chain optimisation comes in.

There is no one simple fix for optimising one’s supply chain. Rather, it requires a great deal of data analysis and testing although the effort is certainly worth it. By optimising the supply chain, time can be saved, and time is money.

Supply-chain problems have been addressed with innovative solutions. This has sparked the interest of investors, and the market has expanded dramatically in a few years.

A Spike In Investments

Since 2010, €3.56B has been invested in supply-chain optimisation by 111 companies in the EU, Israel and North America combined. However, 70% of the investments have been made since the beginning of 2018, which is when the market really started to gain traction, with €1.4B invested that year alone.

In 2019, investment levels returned to their previous range of around €430M/year, but already during the first quarter of 2020, investments of €632M were made – about 45% more than the whole of 2019.

This trend will most likely continue in the future as advances unfold and the interest in technology increases.

Investments and deals made every year in North America, Europe, and Israel since 2010

The Most Heavily-Invested Tech In The Market

Digital twins

A virtual representation of a physical object

Data-driven analytics

A tool for more precise decision making

Tracking assistant applications

Applications that streamline supply-chain optimisation

A virtual representation of a physical object

A tool for more precise decision making

Applications that streamline supply-chain optimisation

The industry has seen a lot of growth in investment within the last few years. Most of the invested capital is shared between the following three sectors: digital twins, data-driven analytics & tracking assistant applications. Below is a breakdown of the investments in these sectors.

The number of companies and investments made in North America, Europe and Israel since 2010

Digital Twins

Of the three sectors, digital twins received the highest level of investment, totalling €1.4B. A digital twin is a visual representation of a physical object or system.

Digital twins offer excellent solutions within the supply chain. Anything from a storage building to a microscopic bug can be mimicked digitally. Twins are created to better understand the object mimicked. Multiple sensors gather data and offer insights on performance and any possible problems that might arise.

A digital twin is of great value in supply-chain optimisation, as fleet, storage or even traffic could be digitally mimicked.

Data-Driven Analytics

When a company makes decisions based on data analysis (big data in particular) it is called “data-driven”. There is no need for guesswork and speculation when the support for decision-making is clearly visible from the evidence of the analysed data.

Sources for data are virtually infinite, and it is therefore important that data can be understood and segmented, otherwise analysis of the data is done in vain. Tools and analytics can aid in data processing.

The terms data analytics and data analysis are often used interchangeably, although they are not the same thing. The data gathered from data analytics is put to use with data-driven analysis methods. In other words, data-driven analytics is simply the information or the tool used to gather information.

By implementing data-driven decision making, one can predict trends, future profits and much more.

Tracking Assistant Applications

As products, these applications are not really new, mind-blowing tech inventions. However, they do remarkably well in streamlining work processes and improving workflow. Such an application is essentially a “one-for-all” platform through which supply chain management becomes very much easier to implement.

These applications come in a variety of formats, but their core function is the same. At their simplest, they offer a platform from which fleet management, tracking and reporting can be accessed.

Saving Time With AI

With the help of AI, the beverage giant Anheuser-Busch optimises a complex supply chain. The use of AI allows them to only focus on inconsistencies rather than having to look at every little transaction individually.

Lenovo on the other hand manages to save an incredible amount of time after they make use of AI-driven insights.

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