Due to the rapid acceleration of technology in the past decade, many different aspects of life have been trying to play catch-up. One of the main areas where technology can — and probably will — have a major impact is supply chains. No longer is there a need to manually keep track of items, and put them in boxes by hand. Blockchain technology can play a pivotal role in this scenario as well.
Don’t Reinvent the Supply Chain, Simply Make it Evolve
Many industry experts feel there is a dire need to reinvent the supply chain as we know it. Keeping an inventory of items, making sure they are packaged correctly, and shipped off to the right addresses are key elements when it comes to distributing items. Many of these areas can be improved upon, which is why the recent innovations in the field of technology are of so high value for company executives.
One of the innovations many companies are eyeing is offering an online parts catalog. Similar to the service offered by major brands such as IKEA, customers will be able to browse the store as if they were there in person. This creates a great customer experience, and will also give potential in-store visitors an idea of what they can expect.
But there are other areas of the supply chain that need improvements as well. The main goal of technology is not putting employees out of a job, but facilitating their job down the line. Robots that can pick a customer’s order might sound like it is aimed to achieve the former, but it actually helps ensure that the shipping process meets its deadline.
Inventory-driven businesses can especially reap the benefits of evolving their supply chains by embracing technological innovations. By combining the online catalog aspect with a proper inventory system, it becomes much easier to keep and maintain stock. Furthermore, this will help reducing customer stress when they plan to visit brick-and-mortar locations for specific items.
But there are some downsides to these ideas as well. Companies handling large amounts of inventory across multiple locations might be incentivized to centralize their storage facilities. While this principle could work out in a positive manner as far as shipping items is concerned, it also makes these locations prone to theft.
The upside of cutting down on storage facility space is that companies can drastically reduce overhead costs. Supply management is a critical part of most businesses these days, and more efficient solutions are more than needed right now. In the end, new technological innovations will most likely help evolve this aspect even further.
In certain areas of business, there is no viable alternative to human labor, nor is there any need to replace people with machinery. While robotics and software can achieve many great things, neither solution is necessarily viable nor needed for every aspect of running a company.
Introducing Blockchain Technology
Blockchain technology, which powers the popular Bitcoin digital currency, is much more than just a tool to track payments around the world. While this technology is first and foremost used in the world of finance, the protocol lends itself to all kinds of needs. Ranging from data transfers to decentralized governance, and even replacing databases, the possibilities are nearly endless.
From a company perspective, blockchain technology can be quite beneficial. Not just for bringing more transparency to the “behind the scenes” aspect of a business, even though that could help strengthen customer relations as well. Blockchain technology can be implemented for accounting, record-keeping, stock management, tracking shipments, and nearly every other aspect of day-to-day operations.
In most cases, bringing new technology to an existing infrastructure invokes rather high costs. Employees have to be trained, proper hardware needs to be installed, and software needs to be maintained at all times. With blockchain technology, neither of these costs are required, per sé, even though in-house development might be necessary to suit the needs of individual companies.
What are your thoughts on the future of blockchain technology for companies? Can you think of any direct use cases? Let us know in the comments below!
Partial Source: WSJ
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