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July 24, 2019 Shipping Methods

Why Digital Supply Chains Matter

Developments in this fourth industrial revolution are transforming how business gets done. This is especially true for the shipping and logistics industry.

In our more than 25 years of businesses, we’ve seen the internet become a vital part of our business and the developments of real-time tracking and shipment security.

While the term digital supply chain used to refer to the electronic transfer of goods, today it describes the intersection of big data, automation, and technology in supply chains.

Today, technology is an integral part of supply chains. Here are five ways digital supply chains are changing the transportation logistics industry.

Digital supply chains make the world smaller

As recent issues in global trade show, supply chains are global. Parts might be manufactured in one country while final assembly takes place in another.

A company might need to recover assets from a country where they otherwise have no presence. Interruptions to supply chains have always happened — from labor disputes to natural disasters to changes in trade policy.

Today, however, technology allows us to navigate these challenges better. Real-time information about what’s happening around the globe allows us to make changes as necessary, ensuring that shipments still arrive as scheduled. 

Global is in our name for a reason. At AFP, many of our services include international logistics. Our team provides their expertise in security, customs, and import/ export regulations to ensure that your shipment arrives safely, on time.      

Supply chains that incorporate AI can be more effective

Digital supply chains can use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data to become more effective. These newly-emerging technologies can quickly analyze data from around the world, including shipping routes, traffic at sea and inland ports, and inventories.

The results allow shipping companies to optimize everything from shipping routes to travel time. Additionally, warehouse use AI and data to more effectively lay out goods within the warehouse, load trucks and transportation vehicles, and ensure timely arrival of goods. 

Technologies like Blockchain can increase trade 

Last year, a white paper released during the World Economic Forum estimated that distributed ledger technology (DLT) like Blockchain could facilitate an estimated $1.1 Billion in trade growth over the next 10 years. At AFP, we know the older methods of shipping involved a lot of paperwork.

These processes can create delays, make tracking a shipment more difficult, and generally don’t fit with our digital world. DLTs reduce paperwork, therefore reducing delays, transportation costs, and security risks.

Technologies like Blockchain can put a stamp of embedded data on goods, which means we can securely track shipments anywhere in the world.  

Digitization can reduce supply chain barriers

Part of the increase in trade will be due to a reduction of supply chain barriers, according to the World Economic Forum. Security provides one barrier in supply chains.

“In global digital supply-chain transactions, it is essential for a legal entity to prove its own identity and check those of other parties, each of which requires a unique, verifiable and authentic digital signature,” writes Henrik Hvid Jensen the Senior Blockchain Advisor for Trustworks.

Customs officials, shippers, and companies can use a secure, digital signature to easily validate a shipment and each other, thus reducing shipping time and room for errors.  

Digital supply chains are more consumer-centric

Same- and next-day delivery options are becoming standard for online purchases. Consumers want everything from groceries to diapers delivered at home.

The shipping industry has to keep up with these demands. Increasingly, this means more warehouses and storage closer to urban areas for fast shipping and more focus on the last miles of a delivery from warehouse to a consumer’s door.

Enhancements in tracking technology allow a consumer to know exactly when a package is out for delivery. 

Consumers also want to be sure their shipments are safe and verified. According to Freight Waves, technology like Blockchain can be especially helpful with time-sensitive shipments like food.

“[Blockchain] can put checks across every single step within a supply chain, making sure there is proper quality control, food handling, and that all the requirements with regard to testing and certification are met,” they write.

At AFP Global Logistics, our 25 years of experience and adaptation to evolving technology make us the best choice for your logistics needs. We know that technology plays a critical role in logistics and shipping in today’s global marketplace. 

To learn more about what we can do for you, contact AFP Global Logistics at 800-274-1237 or send us an email. You can stay up to date with the latest from AFP Global Logistics on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter,Google+ andPinterest.