Reinventing the supply chain
Hozefa Saylawala, Director of Sales -MEA, Zebra Technologies, explains how digital transformation is bringing a sea-change in how companies deliver products or services to customers
How does Zebra Technologies enable digital transformation?
Zebra is an innovator with solutions and partners that enable businesses to gain a performance edge, helping companies across industries digitize their operations and improve their performance. While innovation began at the core of the enterprise, today it is exploding at “the edge,” where employees make real-time decisions and interact directly with the people they serve. With expertise in technology that transforms the way work gets done, Zebra is empowering the front line to be better, faster, and smarter.
Together with our global ecosystem of partners, Zebra’s products, software, services, analytics, and solutions are used to intelligently connect company assets, data and people in collaborative mobile workflows. Zebra offers customers purpose-driven design for the enterprise and data-powered environments delivered by a solution ecosystem. As a result, businesses can sense what’s happening, analyse or anticipate the implication, and make best-action decisions based on real-time guidance.
Zebra is certainly playing a central strategic role by creating the fundamental visibility of assets required to enable this transformation process from the core of the organisation and then supporting innovation and driving performance at the intersection where business, people, products and processes meet the customer – what we describe as the ‘edge’ – the critical points of customer interaction and experience, and of data capture.
Is innovation moving out of the core to the edge?
Innovation now permeates the entire organisation and is ubiquitous; previously, it was all about ERP, databases and collecting information. Big Data has arrived and all organisations are using it to some extent. Digital transformation is all about analysing that data, producing actionable insights and then diffusing transformative innovation across the organisation to empower people with a focus on the edge, to achieve better business outcomes.
Digital transformation is driving performance and operational efficiencies in the supply chain industry; logistics companies have been filling their trucks with parcels of different size and shape with no system to provide visibility and information on the efficiency of the utilization of the cargo space. The result was that only 70 percent of space in trucks was being utilised. Zebra now has solutions and data-powered analytics that give you comprehensive visibility into loading operations and space utilisation. Just recently, we worked with a very large logistics company and our solution helped them to optimise space and efficiency in order to ship less air and reduce truck movements by 1 in 5 – a 20% reduction in trucking
What does it take to digitally transform supply chain operations?
Companies are turning to digital technology and analytics to bring more automation, merchandise visibility and business intelligence to the supply chain to compete in the on-demand consumer economy. Although an estimated 73% of consumers are omnichannel shoppers today (and they spend more than single-channel consumers), only 39% of supply chain respondents believe they’re operating at an omnichannel level, a recent Zebra Technologies study revealed.
The results of our Future of Fulfillment Vision Study gives us some insights on how manufacturers, transportation and logistics (T&L) firms, and retailers are preparing to meet the changing and growing needs of the on-demand economy. The study revealed that 78 percent of logistics companies expect to provide same-day delivery by 2023 and 40 percent anticipate delivery within a two-hour window by 2028. In addition, 87 percent of survey respondents expect to use crowdsourced delivery or a network of drivers that choose to complete a specific order by 2028.
Next generation supply chains will reflect connected, business-intelligent and automated solutions that will add speed, precision and cost effectiveness to transportation and labour. Executives surveyed expect the most disruptive technologies to be drones (39 percent), driverless/autonomous vehicles (38 percent), wearable and mobile technology (37 percent) and robotics (37 percent). Only 39 percent of supply chain respondents reported operating at an omnichannel level.
Is real-time visibility into supply chains possible with the current crop of technologies such as barcode, RFID and RTLS?
According to our Future of Fulfillment Vision Study, although 72 percent of organizations utilize barcodes today, 55 percent of organizations are still using inefficient, manual pen-and-paper based processes to enable omnichannel logistics. By 2021, handheld mobile computers with barcode scanners will be used by 94 percent of respondents for omnichannel logistics. The upgrade from manual pen-and-paper spreadsheets to handheld computers with barcode scanners or tablets will improve omnichannel logistics by providing more real-time access to warehouse management systems.
At the same time, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and inventory management platforms are expected to grow by 49 percent in the next few years. RFID-enabled software, hardware and tagging solutions, offer up-to-the-minute, item-level inventory lookup, heightening inventory accuracy and shopper satisfaction while reducing out of stocks, overstocks and replenishment errors.