Sep 20, 2016

5 Ways Delivery Science is Impacting Supply Chain in 2016

Delivery Science is at the cutting edge of supply chain technology. Through our various products, we ensure that our clients effectively utilize unprocessed data constantly being generated, to increase their profit margins and efficiency, making it possible to make best informed decisions consistently.

So how have we been contributing to recent developments in Supply Chain?

  1. Real Time Technology

In technology today, a key aspect which is continuously developing is that of real-time products and solutions. What characterises real-time you say? Well, real-time technology has to be mobile, cross-platform, complementary (can be disruptive in the larger sense, but it shouldn’t hinder the user’s ability to use it) and on-demand. Real-time technology comes in various forms, from your Netflix to your automated news and information services. We are now more comfortable with and expect things to happen on demand, which has also transferred to our outlook on business.

Managers want reports ‘yesterday’, a customer wants milk in his fridge immediately it finishes and doesn’t want to go to the store for it. These are just a few instances of how real time technology affects the supply chain.

So how do we use real-time technology to provide solutions? Firstly, all DS services are networked. Secondly, we provide our services on mobile devices; and thirdly, we have proprietary technology that processes data across multiple platforms. What this sums up to, is an array of solutions that offer mobility, flexibility, cross platform integration and efficiency on-demand.

2. Big Data/Cloud Computing

I think we can all agree that big data is in at the moment and its potential all the more significant, as we are generating data faster than we can consume it today. According to the amount of data generated in the last 5 years alone is more than the entire volume of data generated by mankind right from time. To further drive this point home, by the year 2020, we will be generating data daily, that is more than the entirety of data generated since time. So what are we saying? Data management is definitely a major concern for the future.

With data generated from different sources, both structured and unstructured, it is the responsibility of any organisation, government or entity to effectively manage data in order to obtain information. Big data classically refers to the technology and tools used to manage and process large amounts of structured and unstructured data. A few ways big data influences supply chain include consumer generated insight, market and trade prices.

Our outlook to big data in the supply chain is in helping organisations capture relevant data and process it, so it can be acted upon instantaneously. As is, sub-saharan Africa is a data dessert (no pun intended). There are vast amounts of unstructured data generated per second, which organisations can act on, if they had the means.

Usually, what is obtainable are reports generated by extrapolating regional data from a research company or other such similar sources. But these information, if we can even call them that, are not actionable to the point of impact. At best, it can serve as some source of predictive analysis on a broad level. However, with our Field Insight solution, companies now have a data oasis; one which provides data they need and affects their businesses individually. Further, the data is completely proprietary, meaning they can then begin to build their own data repositories.

3. Enhanced end-to-end Visibility

Supply chain is largely about movement of goods, commodity or personnel. In this business, most managers will tell you that they would ideally like to have complete visibility over goods and personnel at all times. In reality, complete visibility may not be obtainable in supply chain because it would be determined mainly by what one refers to as ‘complete visibility’. Further, visibility in the current clime hasn’t been fully achieved due to varying factors in every distribution model. In affecting such a structure, one must radically rejig the process such that from inception, new practices or tasks are used.

In effecting this aspect of supply chain, our Automated Proof of Delivery (P.O.D) solution helps companies maintain visibility over their assets within a distribution cycle. The idea is that if a physical logistics manager has knowledge of his products at any point in time or the supply chain manager can reconcile deliveries quicker, both are happy, but more importantly, the company turns over quicker. So essentially, P.O.D ensures that products leaving a company’s warehouse are properly documented, tracked and delivery confirmation is obtainable instantly- all of which is available in real-time. P.O.D helps our clients achieve or maintain a level of comfort that their products are secure and that they can run a more sustainable business.

4. Acceleration of the supply chain.

Modern day supply chain is all about acceleration and in doing this, one must look to optimize processes, not plans. A plan is an overarching road map you create to guide you through your business. It has far reaching effects not only in regards to the supply chain, but also the business as a whole. However, in accelerating a supply chain, a more manageable approach will be to work on components and segments of the whole. This way, any gains recorded are taken upwards in the company’s planning and failures are discarded.

So how do you accelerate processes? Its simple. Get a clear case of what you want to achieve with the acceleration. For example, say you want to improve the turnaround time for Import and Export processes. Due to the complex nature of Importation and Exportation in large manufacturing companies, processes may not be properly managed, which then could result in delayed shipments and incurring fines. In this case, you can set a goal, saying “I want to reduce the activities between documentation and shipment time by 3 steps. This will then inspire the development of a purpose built solution, which will be used in achieving this goal. KPIs will be set to measure the effectiveness of such exercise and any success gained can then be implemented upward.

In accelerating the supply chain, we offer different solutions that help organisations achieve this goal. Most important however, is our approach to engaging our clients. We make it a practice to run a P.O.C or pilot, which is hinged on measurable outcomes. These outcomes serve as proof that the solution does cater for the client’s needs adequately. Further, our solutions are highly customizable, as we understand that each organisation is unique, with different processes and activities. Our ability to be flexible enables us to work with clients from FMCG to Oil and Gas retail and beyond.

5. Automation, Automation, Automation

Of all the trends recorded in supply chain in recent times, automation is most prominent. And it will only continue to increase and become more sophisticated as time goes by. Automation is really important in a supply chain, if the company aims to achieve precision. There’s a level of performance required, whereby manual activities or human action becomes restrictive in achieving efficiency. Many processes in supply chain are repetitive and with human input, this makes them prone to errors. Automation on the other hand affords a reasonable level of comfort that success rates will be higher and as such, the idea has become very popular in the industry.

With regards to automation, a good example of our impact can be seen in a solution we call Auto Allocation. With Auto Allocation, the service is deployed usually alongside P.O.D. A client who runs their orders through various transporters can improve the process of allocation by using Auto Allocation. Auto Allocation eliminates manual allocation of trips to transporters, which ordinarily is ineffective and less transparent. With Auto Allocation, the trips are run through the system and the system selects the best transporter for each trip based on many varying factors like cost, distance, availability, size of product or truck and so on. Auto Allocation essentially helps the company run its distribution more efficiently, reducing costs and increasing transparency.

In conclusion, we’ve been able to touch many pain points in the supply chain landscape based on local experience and outstanding technology development capabilities. The world right now is in its disruptive era and every major industry has had one form of disruption or another. Supply chain is no exception. Though some may refer to us as disruptors, but we like to refer to ourselves as partners for innovation. This is because we tie our success into the success of our clients. We cannot be successful if our clients are not. Unlike regular Enterprise services, we don’t deploy and hand over to the client. Rather, we integrate and enter into a customer success agreement, one which sees us continuously work with our clients to ensure their success. And this above all, is the trend we most believe will shape supply chain going forward. Supply chains will need partners or partnerships that can offer robust and continuous support over a long period.