Location intelligence for supply chain optimization

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The global supply chain today is incredibly complex, with plenty of opportunities for things to go awry. One of the predominant issues with vast, international networks is the delays that are faced in sourcing, manufacturing, handover and transport of raw materials, finished goods, etc.

Supply chain managers, need to maintain a delicate balancing act which means they need to optimize the supply chain and reduce delays, all the while keeping the cost down as well.

With the advent of evolving technology, the demand for smarter products has continued to grow, which also means that the supply chain needs to evolve in a smarter, digitalized manner. A rational application of location intelligence (LI) tools hence, can become an ideal instrument to serve this purpose.

Location intelligence couples business and location data together, and can help in solving a bunch of business problems by analyzing geographical and location information, to associate it with points on an interactive map.

Over the past few years, the use of location intelligence solutions has been on the rise, which is thanks to the bundles of data that have flooded the market for capturing and analysis.

Almost every equipment or device that we use today provides geospatial data, ranging from smartwatches, to fitness trackers, to smartphones, to our cars and it is no secret that achieving real-time decision-making and higher efficiency can help manufacturers and retailers in responding to the challenges that are a part and parcel of the supply chain.

From the optimization of routes for directing vehicles, to the most optimal pathways taking into account the weather and traffic conditions that could help businesses in achieving a cost distance ratio, or it could even be looking into greater customer satisfaction with location intelligence platforms allow users visibility and delivery tracking throughout the supply chain – location intelligence tools can aid with it all.

Even if you talk about brand penetration and the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, taking into consideration the effectiveness of your sales staff, or market research in order to understand the buying patterns of consumers via geographical understanding, or looking for patterns of commonality, optimality, suitability and predictability – location intelligence can be leveraged to provide all the aforementioned advantages.

Data that is collected via different devices ranging from IoT devices that are GPS enabled, to geofencing using RFID technology, or even tight integration with technology systems like port operating systems, all of the data that is captured, correlated and analyzed can give supply chain managers an understanding of where the goods are right now, factors that could impact the schedule, to when their last-mile delivery would happen.

Keeping a track of distributor, dealer or retailer stock monitoring on a special platform would help supply chain managers keep an early sight of demand changes for any new or seasonal products – location intelligence is essential at any step of the supply chain process, especially when you’re working with new suppliers and manufacturers.

Being able to leverage the right kind of location intelligence technology, can help supply chains in addressing most of the challenges that they face today as well as data gaps and inefficiencies. Supply chain optimization is possible through the application of AI and other technologies that would help in bringing in automation and predictive intelligence to all the operations.

Location intelligence hence functions as a key piece of the jigsaw puzzle that can help in bringing in the entire process together by providing visibility into every move, mode and mile by tracking goods, predicting the estimated time of delivery, flagging any sort of exceptions and also giving you a vantage of proactive resolution for any sort of disruptions.

At the end of the day network visibility as well as intelligent execution can help in supply chain optimization and enhance its performance, resilience as well as responsiveness.

(Ashwani Rawat is Co-Founder & Director of Transerve Technologies Pvt Ltd. Views expressed in this article are of the author.)

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