Cloud computing is expected to grow by 17.3% in 2019, its industry totaling $206.2 billion. Through cloud technology, companies can leverage large pools of IT resources rather than having to build their infrastructure.
Cloud technology empowers companies to deploy resources on an as-needed basis instead of having to invest in static inventory. And, as with many other industries, cloud technology can be used to improve upon and optimize the supply chain and logistics industry.
Locate a Product at Any Stage of Shipping or Lifecycle
When combined with the right hardware, cloud-based solutions can be used to track products—regardless of their stage of shipping regularly. Being able to locate a product not only improves the efficiency of the supply chain, but it also means that more data can be collected about the bottlenecks and delays. It can also be helpful in managing supply chain disruptions. Sensors can be used to log products nearly automatically, reducing the costs associated with the supply chain and its management. Being able to locate products during shipping easily is also an excellent way to provide superior client service.
Improve Maintenance and Repair of Supply Chain Equipment
In addition to tracking products throughout their shipping or lifecycle, cloud-based technology can also be used to improve the maintenance of supply chain equipment. When combined with physical hardware sensors, cloud technology can identify when supply chain equipment may need to be repaired or replaced, thereby reducing the chances that the machine may break down and require immediate repair.
Outside of hardware, advanced software solutions designed for supply chain management can also predict when equipment may need to be repaired or inspected.
Analyze Supply Chain Efficiency through Big Data Processing
A significant advantage to cloud-based solutions is that their superior processing power makes them the perfect solution for analyzing large data sets. In doing so, they can make complex simulations regarding inventory need, supply chain optimization, and seasonal supply-related issues.
By using a cloud-based supply chain and logistics suite, an organization can improve upon its current operations, identify its substantial weaknesses, and potentially fine-tune its processes. Cloud-based technology can analyze different environmental factors, recognizing patterns that could indicate correlation, and making suggestions for better efficiency.
Eliminate Silos and Strengthen Information Sharing
Instead of keeping information in a few locations, cloud technology makes it possible to combine all of an organization's supply chain and logistics information into a single, consolidated solution. All involved individuals—from vendors to customers—can be allowed to access relevant information regarding the supply chain. From inventory management to shipping, a cloud-based solution makes it easier to both track and share relevant information.
Increase IT Security and Business Continuity
Modern cloud solutions are both more secure and more reliable than on-premise installations, enhancing business continuity and reducing the potential for business disruption. Cloud solutions are designed with redundancy and virtualization in mind, providing a large pool of resources upon which to draw. Through redundancy, a cloud solution can quickly recover from a disaster or other technical issues, re-deploying data as needed.
Next-generation security solutions can be used to secure cloud technology, and these solutions can draw upon cloud-based resources to provide security without slowing down the network. Compared to on-premise systems, cloud-based systems have far less downtime—downtime that can be incredibly costly to any business.
Access Systems from Anywhere in the World
Cloud servers are accessible from anywhere—and this is important in an increasingly global world. A cloud-based supply chain system can facilitate multiple offices and departments, allowing for instant access to critical data. Offices that are in different countries can still connect to each other's supply chain reporting, and individuals who need information can access that information even if they are out of the office or working from home.
Being able to access systems from anywhere also improves the viability of remote workers, which reduces the labor costs of a business. Hiring remote workers allows a company to procure the best talent from anywhere, while also reducing the costs of their bricks-and-mortar overhead.
Cloud systems are the future of many industries, not just supply chain and logistics management. When implemented into a supply chain, cloud systems provide for better and more accurate tracking, increases in security, and a reduction in overall business expenses. Companies interested in optimizing their supply chain management should look into what cloud technology can do for them.
About Michael Wilson
Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.