Technology to cut supply chain cost

A framework for tracking goods in supply chain is benefiting the retailers.
Technology to cut supply chain cost

Rapidly changing customer needs, as well as the operating environment have forced retailers and allied consumer-based brands to pay increased attention to optimising their supply chain. Apart from that, it also helps organisations to respond easily to regulatory requirements for products. However, lack of adequate information on the supply chain is often a
barrier for achieving the above goal. Integrating supply chains through technology It is important to track the physical flow of goods in the supply chain, and the relevant information is shared amongst all relevant partners and officials. This end-to-end integration can be achieved via RFID, bar code and other automatic identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies including cloud-based computing and wireless communication. However, there can be no integration until there is a standard way for all stakeholders in the supply chain to identify, capture and share information. A globally accepted framework - ‘identify-capture-share’, provides organisations with the ability to make business decisions relating to their supply chain.

Global technology framework

At the core of this framework, is a unique and universal Identification link between a product and its relevant information,
called a GS1 Identification Key, and it enables organisations to identify trade items, physical locations, assets, logistic units and loyalty cards, amongst others. And, by simply scanning the bar code or reading the RFID tag, the unique identification number it carries is automatically captured and it provides access to the relevant information stored in the database.
This tech-based solution offers an automated way of identifying inputs in the supply chain and to ensure interoperability, industries have agreed on the use of GS1 Standards for Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) technologies. This enables billions of transactions to be made each working day, as well as facilitates sharing of information between the relevant players in the supply chain.

Leveraging power of visibility

The adoption of global standards in supply chain technologies will provide companies with greater ‘visibility’ with regard to their input cost structure, as well as improve efficiency levels. For retailers, too, greater visibility at an item-level also enables
them to better manage inventory levels, as well identify counterfeits and better manage product returns or recalls. For instance, a retailer expects increased sales of toys in the weeks leading up to the New Year and a common business strategy would be to order additional products from suppliers and maintain adequate inventory levels at outlets.
However, if a retailer had accurate inventory systems and visibility of the actual product availability on the store shelves in its retail network, it could easily reduce its ‘safety’ stock and the associated inventory carrying costs, and eliminate the possibility of experiencing an out-of-stock event. In addition, well integrated supply chains with greater visibility
also allow retailers to compete effectively online, as well in the m-commerce segment.

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