Using Intelligent Automation to Reduce Supply Chain Lags

The emergence of omnichannels in the last 18 months has resulted in significant supply chain complexity, forcing retailers and brands to consider many more channels, each with its own unique stock path. Whether it was customers who compelled firms to alter, the other way around, or a mix of the two, the contemporary omnichannels are most likely here to stay.

Furthermore, customers’ expectations are higher than ever, with speed and accuracy being the norm, and anything less is considered an outrage. When combined with growing reverse logistics, return hurdles, and inventory concerns, today’s supply chains have no choice but to become smarter. Leading retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) businesses employ intelligent automation (IA) to become more precise and nimble in order to address these issues.

Through self-learning and self-managing systems, IA enables enterprises to automatically enhance digital processes including physical robots and control systems.

IA is largely concerned with business operations, despite the fact that it covers numerous technology breakthroughs. Technology is just a technique of improving processes; it assists consumers in receiving the most value by ensuring that the correct tools are available at the right time for the right scenario. The most difficult problem for IA is ensuring that those business processes are completely regulated and managed, as well as using the relevant data. Without access to data, it is hard to consistently make the appropriate judgments and forecasts, as well as respond promptly to odd or even unanticipated occurrences.

Many experts feel that IA is the future of CPG because it enables these organisations to stay up with the fast-paced and frequently uncontrolled market by delivering a completely controllable platform that comprehends any unanticipated difficulty and delivers the best answer to the end-user. Similarly, IA can assist retailers and CPGs in understanding customers’ habits on a store-by-store basis, as well as improving availability.

4 data-driven intelligence process management pillars

IA is more powerful and competent than process-driven automation since it is powered by data, context, and intelligent technologies like as artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and recommendation engines. And, as industry participants progress toward data-driven intelligent process management to design and accomplish business objectives, four pillars lead them: digitalization, sense, adjust, and react. The four are inextricably linked and are essential for enhancing supply chain procedures.

The first, digitalization, focuses on increasing process efficiency, effectiveness, and control at the task and process levels, as well as through orchestration and digital operations. Companies must digitise processes in order to manage them effectively. Furthermore, it will increase transparency and provide CPGs more power. Digitization must come first – else, nothing makes sense in terms of IA, control, or product. Businesses must also decide which tasks to automate.

Following that, a corporation must make sense of all of its data in order to track performance and outcomes and provide insights. The sense pillar, which follows logically from digitization, is the point at which a corporation collects the essential data from its operations for reporting and analytics, as well as analysing trends and making choices. By breaking down business processes into data, businesses can assess if they are meeting their KPIs, and if not, it allows them to dive down to the fundamental causes of supply chain issues, such as bottlenecks and friction spots, and fix them.

The adjust pillar comes after sense. This pillar stresses the use of newly acquired data-driven insights to modify processes or make choices. Because nothing is constant in CPG supply chains (for example, COVID-19), businesses must make data-driven judgments rather than anecdotal. Furthermore, it is necessary to guarantee that corrections are swift and sturdy.

Finally, through intelligent situation management, coordinated situation management, decision support, and human-based alerts, the respond pillar augments human execution and preserves compliance amid irregular operational occurrences. Respond fits into the supply chain jigsaw because when a company has digitised its operations, analysed its data, and altered procedures as needed, it must also react to changes. Furthermore, the capacity to react refers to the ability to determine the appropriate course of action in a timely manner.