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Smart Technologies for a Digital Supply Chain

With the fast-growing and ever-changing market in the supply chain industry, technologies have opened up new methods and lead to new changes to the supply chain sector worldwide. Smart technologies utilizes computers, communication, control, and sensing. Through smart technologies, they convert conventional supply chain to digital supply chain.  Many logistics service providers have invested in smart technologies to improve their delivery quality and inventory control. The improvements help companies to gain a competitive edge over competitors who are still on the conventional supply chain. Smart technologies decrease the risk of traffic, reduce energy waste, improve traffic congestion and air quality. It does not only improve the productivity of the logistics service providers sector, but it also improves the quality of customers satisfaction. This article discusses the application of smart technologies that will bring about a digital supply chain.

Internet of Thing (IoT) Technology

IoT and smart gadgets are becoming ever more essential for use in the shipping industry worldwide in this era. IoT involves the use of gadgets that are embedded with software, sensors, and other technologies connecting to the internet and exchange data wirelessly. IoT gadgets help supply chain to handle shipment in a smarter way as it allows the monitoring of the environment, provides real-time goods movement and reports the real-time status of the shipments. Based on the real success story by Digiteum, New Maersk Line invested in new technology for managing their containers using the remote container management system. They are able to rely on this system to implement and improve the shipping planning as it allows them to monitor the container temperature and moisture. By monitoring the container’s temperature and moisture, it prevents the risk of food spoilage and resource waste. Another real success story is the case of the utilization of IoT devices in supply chain operation by Amazon. Amazon integrated their supply chain operations with robots for warehouse operations, which gives room for their employees to focus on other tasks like packing, wrapping, and inventory management.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology

AI is a concept that revolves around the use of computer algorithms and methods that allows the machine to perform functions beyond the capabilities of what human can usually do. With AI and machine learning, robots are able to perform warehouse tasks such as placing goods into the correct rack after collection from the port and tracking stock inventory levels to prevent out-of-stock situations, laborious tasks that used to be done by humans. Staff can then be delegated to focus on more important tasks such as forecast planning, based on the data analysis obtained from the machines. Furthermore, machine learning algorithms can be used to estimate fuel consumption for a vessel. These algorithms can transform the data from onshore sources and link it to how much fuel is needed for vessels. In the long run, supply chain companies can reduce operating costs, lower risks of accidents and waste of energy, as well as improve the monitor of air quality through the use of AI.


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Lew Pek Khee Mickhee, GDPSCM
Lew Pek Khee Mickhee has substantive years of experiences in the specialised field of procurement, and specifically for the supply and distribution of laboratory equipment. She holds a diploma in Mass Communication and she is a member of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). Mickheeis completing the Graduate Diploma in Procurement and Supply Chain Management ​(GDPSCM) on January 2022 at SIPMM Institute.
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