Using supply chain automation to overcome operational challenges

Automation is a game-changer in supply chain management. In the digital age, businesses need to optimize their workflows to maintain a competitive edge, and supply chain automation enables you to do just that.

In our latest eBook – Automating your supply chain workflows – we take you through key advantages of automation for your business. 

Download it here

Supply chain automation refers to systematizing part or all of a workflow to improve processes. In essence, it means utilizing technology to centrally manage a complex web of working parts.

Automating part or all of the supply chain has a number of potential benefits for businesses – namely, reducing manual effort while increasing productivity, efficiency, and accuracy.automating-supply-chain

Investment in the right tools and resources can also significantly cut down on operational costs in the long run.  

A study by Information Services Group (ISG) found that using robotics to automate supply chain processes (Robotic Process Automation) resulted in a 43% reduction in resources for order-to-cash processes including billing, credit, collections, and pricing.

Likewise, a report by McKinsey predicts that automation could accelerate the productivity of the global economy by between 0.8% and 1.4% of global GDP annually. In other words, supply chain automation is both cost-effective and leads to higher profitability.

Automation can be utilized across many facets of the supply chain, including:

  • Payments and invoicing
  • Order fulfillment and inventory updates
  • Customer service, including tracking generation and email confirmation
  • Picking and/or packing 
  • Selling across multiple channels
  • Setting and tracking revenue and expansion goals
  • Applying bulk actions for high-order volumes

With all these tasks taken care of for you, think of the time you’ll have to focus on growing your business!

tradegecko_pro_masthead_v2_2xTradeGecko Pro is an enterprise inventory management system that enables end-to-end workflow automation. Find out more here.

Order management and fulfillment are core components of the supply chain, which means roadblocks in these areas can impact the entire process.

A report by Capgemini found that three of the biggest order management challenges faced by businesses are:

The explosion of order and delivery channels

Making sense of the myriad options out there and finding the best channels for an individual business’ needs is no easy feat – especially as the range of choice grows by the day. Today, any order management system must be robust enough to streamline orders coming in from multiple channels.

The complexity of global supply chains

Managing orders and picking, packing and shipping goods become exponentially more complex when doing business globally. With different legal obligations and regulations applying to every market, a business’ supply chain management strategy needs to be adaptable to different markets.

The rising expectations of customers

As customers increasingly expect a higher level of service at every touchpoint, businesses face pressure to provide faster and more personalized order fulfillment to maintain a competitive edge. This means they need to be able to offer fast shipping and 24/7 customer service as standard.

Here are a few ways in which supply chain automation provides tangible value to businesses of all sizes.

Improved operational efficiency

Supply chain automation is more efficient, accurate, and cost-effective than manual labor. Catch.com.au, for example, reduced their number of pickers from 60 to 4 by automating their storage and retrieval processes – cutting their order cycle time in half.

Warehouse Robotics

Improved customer experience

Reducing the time between ordering and fulfillment has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. Automation keeps customers updated on order statuses in real time, and enables businesses to better serve customers.

Improved inventory management

Automated supply chain processes lead to better inventory and order tracking, decreased stock discrepancies and improved demand forecasting. With smart automated reporting, you can make informed decisions about where to invest and improve your business.

Increased transparency between business and customer

Transparency lays the foundation for trust with customers. An automated online ordering system produces more than just an electronic invoice – it is a point of communication that businesses can use to provide updates to customers during the entire order management and fulfillment process.

Take TradeGecko Connect – TradeGecko’s workflow automation tool – as an example. The system allows you to build and funnel orders into pre-designed workflows based on factors such as:

  • Order value
  • Quantity
  • Sales channel

Let’s say you receive an order with a much higher-than-average value and want to provide a more complex level of service for that customer. You then tag the order as “high value” and have an email notification automatically sent to a sales manager or other team member who can directly connect with the customer. You also set automatic shipping costs based on the value of the order.

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In this case, automatic order tracking leads to a personalized customer experience with minimal manual intervention. The result? Better service with less effort and lower costs.

Above all, supply chain automation gives you the freedom and insights you need to work smarter and grow your business.

Want to automate your supply chain to maintain a competitive edge?

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