Takeaways from AIBP Insights Logistics and Supply Chain: Intelligent and Customer-centric Supply Chains – Visibility and Communication
Following our discussions on Retail & Real Estate addressing the prevalence of omnichannel retail today, panelists from Advantech, EverFocus, GoFresh Gojek, IBM, LOCAD and SYSTEC came together to discuss and share their observations and insights for the logistics and supply chain industry.
AIBP Insights is a series of closed-door regional roundtable discussions which are part of our ongoing engagement with enterprises in ASEAN to look at topics affecting digital transformation for their businesses. The purpose is to enable the exchange of ideas between industry stakeholders and spearhead creative collaboration across industries and countries.
Today’s discussion for logistics and supply chains was focused on customer-centricity and demands, and technology adoption for logistics and supply chain players.
Customer-centricity and Demands
Farid Akbar Harahap, Head of Operations, GoFresh, Gojek, shared that as a b2b marketplace for their clients, the key is to ensure that clients have the right supplies to fulfil their orders promptly. He highlights the difference between b2b and b2c logistics, with one of the key factors being the scale of orders. For GoFresh, client requests may be managed and fulfilled internally by Gojek drivers if order sizes are smaller, but would partner up with 3PLs for larger orders. Collaboration is important to build customer-centric supply chains.
Echoing concerns brought forward by retail players, Constantin Robertz, Co-Founder, CEO, LOCAD, brings up an important point about the challenges posed by omnichannel retail today - inventory must be available to fulfil orders from multiple sales channels. Cold chain logistics for example, requires close monitoring. Meng Lue, iLogistic & iCity Product Manager, Advantech, shared how temperature meters had to be checked manually in the past, but AI-enabled meters allow for temperatures in warehouses, containers, and throughout the shipping process, to be constantly updated to ensure the quality of the products being shipped.
Constantin also shared how as a 4PL, LOCAD’s cloud logistic model is making use of technology to serve multiple channels with one pool of stock by integrating different carriers and fleets. In addition, data and visibility is integrated to ensure that merchants may access shipment status throughout the journey. Pankaj Lunia, ASEAN leader, IBM Supply Chain Solutions, also observes that customers appreciate integration and visibility of supply chains beyond ERP.
Technology Adoption for Logistics and Supply Chains Players
Our panelists mentioned the use of data and AI among other emerging technologies in the logistics and supply chain industry. The general consensus was that these technologies will be necessary in dealing with changing customer requirements today, along with the rise of omnichannel retail. A key point that was brought up constantly was the importance of collaboration between stakeholders, from merchants to warehouses, freight providers and logistics providers.
Farid believes that data integration and coordination from different sources on the flow of information and products is required for the prediction of stocks and supplies.
Pankaj also highlighted 2 foci for data points to enable customer-centric supply chains - Time and cost and Fulfilling orders from Inventory Locations. Pankaj and Constantin both agree that data must be available from different parties involved in order to monitor inventory and demand, and respond to changes together. AI may be used to advise on possible solutions. However, Constantin observes that while AI and ML is available, the key question is how they translate to outcomes in operations on the ground.
Use of AI and emerging technologies in Logistics and Supply Chains
Our panel brought up how AI may be used to monitor the environment, production and supply chains, determine movement routes for logistics, enhance safety and security, as well as to forecast demand and supply on a daily basis as well as for unexpected situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. A key point to note is the interaction between AI and data which Pankaj brought up - how data analytics and natural language processing in AI is effected.
In addition to AI, blockchain technology can be used to enhance traceability of the supply chain. However, Pankaj cautions that the requirements and benefits of blockchain solutions must be made clear before implementation, and Farid agrees that blockchain requires participation and data from the entire ecosystem.
Constantin and Farid both observed that the use of legacy systems also affects new technology adoption for traditional companies. Constantin believes that benefits for them will come from API integration between different systems to create a common database.
Kevin Lee, International Sales Manager, Systec also mentions how 4G and 5G are enabling faster connections to support monitoring solutions
Lastly, our experienced panel shared some valuable advice for supply chain and logistics stakeholders; to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the rise of omnichannel retail, 3PLs and marketplaces have to be agile and respond quickly to meerkat and customer requirements while keeping in mind the costs and efficiency. At the end of the day, logistics and supply chain providers are serving their customers. Creating a collaborative business environment and understanding customers’ needs to meet their requirements and provide them with visibility and increased efficiency will be key for a customer-centric model.
Upcoming sessions for this week’s AIBP Insights Supply Chain Management will be Resilient Supply Chains on 18th March 2021. Stay tuned for AIBP Insights Logistics and Supply Chain, Manufacturing , Government, and Banking and Finance which will be held in the next few weeks. Do reach out if you wish to find out more about and be a part of our upcoming sessions!