Many businesses are using cybersecurity and the IoT (Internet of Things) to make their supply chain operations more efficient than ever before. They show no signs of slowing down any time soon, either.
Cybersecurity and IoT technologies are rapidly evolving. As new cybersecurity and IoT technologies become available, companies will increasingly seek out ways to incorporate them into their supply chains. The result: these technologies may take supply chain efficiency to new heights.
Your business does not have to wait to leverage cybersecurity and IoT technologies to bolster its supply chain’s efficiency. Now, let’s look at four applications of cybersecurity and IoT technologies into the supply chain.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI technologies learn and mimic human behaviours. When applied to supply chain operations, they drive automation. In doing so, they can help you improve supply chain efficiency in several areas.
For instance, you can use AI to streamline back-office tasks. AI can be used to manage cargo and sort inventory without the need for human interaction. It, therefore, reduces the risk of human errors that can lead to supply chain disruptions. AI can even help you simultaneously speed up the frequency in which back-office tasks are completed and lower your supply chain costs.
Also, AI lets you retrieve large volumes of shipping data and instantly generate insights from it. It simplifies data collection and analysis, to the point where you won’t have to commit substantial time, energy, and resources to produce insights. That way, you can utilise AI to make data-driven shipping projections with speed and precision.
Some trucking companies are leveraging AI to automate things like driver-to-broker matching, too. AI helps these companies ensure they have adequate manpower to handle myriad responsibilities. As a result, AI allows trucking companies to focus on what’s most important: keeping their customers happy. And when integrated properly, your company can use AI to consistently ensure its clients’ needs are met.
Logistics companies are leading the way in using AI to improve their supply chain operations. To date, they have done so in several ways.
Some logistics companies are leveraging AI to harness the power of Big Data. They are using AI to assess large volumes of unstructured and structured supply chain data and make accurate predictions based on it. This ensures logistics companies can leverage predictive analytics and automation for strategic decision-making across the supply chain.
There have been AI-powered robots used by logistics companies, too. AI-powered robots can move and track inventories and handle other warehouse tasks. The robots eliminate the need for warehouse staff. At the same time, they can complete warehouse tasks in a fraction of the time and at a lower cost than their human counterparts.
How a healthcare supply chain is managed can make the difference between life and death. With AI and other technologies, healthcare providers can maintain an efficient and productive supply chain.
Healthcare providers are using AI to reduce the burden of human workers. For example, providers are utilising chatbots that can answer simple queries from patients. These chatbots ensure patients can get immediate answers to their questions. Moreover, they free up healthcare personnel and ensure they can focus on more-pressing patient requests and various healthcare supply chain operations.
Remote monitoring and management of the healthcare supply chain can be beneficial. Healthcare providers can partner with IT management companies that implement software across the supply chain. From here, these companies can keep an eye out for any security issues. The companies can ensure that the healthcare supply chain is managed per HIPAA. And if a cyberattack is identified, they can notify healthcare providers immediately and minimise the incident’s impact.
Blockchain refers to a decentralized ledger that maintains and protects digital data. The technology makes data virtually impossible to alter or modify. Furthermore, blockchain supports supply chain auditing and transparency.
Thanks to blockchain, you can manage a secure and undistorted record of supply chain data. You can record price, date, location, quality, certification, and other relevant supply chain data in a blockchain. This information can ensure traceability across your supply chain. It can lead to improved compliance over outsourced contract manufacturing. And it could help position your business as a leader in terms of responsible manufacturing.
Moreover, blockchain can enhance supply chain security. The technology uses encryption to protect your supply chain data against cyberattacks. Since a blockchain is decentralized, it can deliver superior protection in comparison to traditional data storage systems or databases as well.
Meanwhile, blockchain is cost-efficient. You do not need intermediaries to implement or manage a blockchain for your supply chain data. Plus, there is no paperwork when you leverage a blockchain. This means you can cut down on paperwork that otherwise hampers your supply chain’s efficiency.
Tips to Improve Supply Chain Efficiency
Your business wants to get the most out of its supply chain. Cybersecurity and IoT technologies can help you achieve your desired result. But you need to plan accordingly.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to leverage cybersecurity and IoT technologies to improve supply chain efficiency. However, there are several things you can do to incorporate these technologies into your supply chain operations and maximise your ROI. These include:
1. Evaluate Your Supply Chain
Develop and implement a supply chain management strategy. This lets you gain insights into your supply chain operations.
Software is available that allows you to track supply chain visibility. The software can be implemented across your supply chain. And it can be used to generate reports that highlight any supply chain inefficiencies.
2. Prioritize Automation
Look for expensive and time-intensive supply chain tasks. Whenever possible, automate these tasks.
Automation technologies can be integrated into different aspects of your supply chain operations. The technologies can be implemented gradually, and their results should be closely monitored. If any problems arise during implementation, address them immediately.
As you use automation technologies, keep them up to date. This ensures you can guard against security gaps that cybercriminals can use to penetration your automation technologies and attack your supply chain.
3. Strive for Ongoing Improvement
Capitalise on supply chain data and insights. The more you learn about your supply chain, the better equipped you’ll be to optimise its efficiency.
Create supply chain reports and assessments. Seek out ways to bolster your supply chain regularly. In addition, audit your supply chain.
Empower your supply chain workers as well. For instance, you can offer continuous training to keep your supply chain personnel up to date on cybersecurity and IoT technologies your company implements. This ensures supply chain workers can use these technologies to keep your supply chain operations running smoothly.
Incorporate Cybersecurity and IoT Technologies into Your Supply Chain
Cybersecurity and IoT technologies have far-flung effects on today’s businesses. These technologies are helping companies improve public health and safety, drive innovation, and achieve their sales and revenue goals. They are also increasing supply chain efficiency — and look poised to continue to do so for companies around the world.
You can integrate cybersecurity and IoT technologies into your supply chain operations. To realise the value of these technologies, you must figure out which ones align with your business goals. Then, you can implement cybersecurity and IoT technologies that support your supply chain operations. And you can reap the benefits of these technologies long into the future.