Keys to Successful Supply Chain Automation

Keys to Successful Supply Chain Automation
June 30, 2022

At its core, automation exists to improve efficiency, streamline processes, manage operations, and save resources. In the global supply chain and logistics industry, automation can play a critical role for providers.  

“When we talk about automation within our own team, we’re not simply looking for routines that can be automated; these don’t require advanced technology,” says Brian Catron, Chief Information Officer, EFL Global. “We’re looking for automation that creates seamless processes which anticipate a user’s actions or provides suggestions for next steps. We want to leverage the talent and expertise of EFL’s operators, empowering them to spend more time on the challenging, unanticipated obstacles rather than the routine tasks we are automating."

Supply chain automation can also pose various opportunities for providers to offer their clientele faster, cost-effective, competitive operations that meet their timelines and majorly boost business revenue.

“With intimate knowledge of our own operating platforms, we’re more easily able to deploy automation technology that improves EFL Global’s internal operations,” says Catron. “However, there are also external, customer-facing opportunities to consider as well. With a proper understanding of needs and constraints, we can provide tools that satisfy the customer’s demands, sometimes before they realize that a better, more efficient solution is possible.”

Some examples of internal and external supply chain automation include:

Online booking systems that offer a faster, more simple approach to booking, offering suggestions based on knowledge of the market and previous bookings.

Monitoring system processes and calling out inefficiencies and opportunities, from sales, to transportation, to warehousing, to back-end office tasks. 

Creating predictability and accompanying response measures to global market events and news, and offering suggestions on how to navigate them.

Ensuring global and customer standards are met, like high-value goods regulations, SOPs, and local trade laws, without having to search for the information.

A key element of successful automation is the ability to predict outcomes using previously collected data. For logistics teams, automation can shorten transit times and reduce costs by predicting how the transportation market will react to global events.

“Commonly found in our industry, the information available in operating platforms is limited to the data elements that enable a shipment to progress from one step to the next step,” says Catron. “In an attempt to advance beyond standard industry practice, we want to capture all information around the shipment lifecycle, including surrounding elements that may influence the shipment’s journey. As we develop systems that capture this information, we can identify patterns and address concerning patterns ahead of time, instead of reacting in real-time.”

As time passes and businesses continue to adapt to digitalization, automation will develop to mold a truly connected supply chain. Resiliency and connectivity are key to ensuring successful operations, both internally as a business and externally as a logistics provider.

Paddock loaded truck
Ready to Take the Next Steps?
Find out more about how EFL Global can solve your shipping needs. Get a quote today!