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Five tips for electronics companies to stay ahead of the supply chain game

It is commonly known that a satisfied customer is more likely to be a return customer. In a world of numerous options and instant gratification, electronics companies that can give customers what they want quickly, in the most convenient way, and with as little hassle as possible will go a long way.

That means that these companies need speed, convenience, visibility, and product availability. Additionally, it’s not just about ensuring that the ‘last mile’ runs smoothly; now, going the ‘extra mile’ and completing the delivery extremely quickly, cost-effectiveness and accuracy is also required to remain competitive. Here are five tips on how this is possible.

  • Embrace 3D Printing

Customers despise waiting. The fast-paced urgency of many buyers often requires electronic products to be moved as soon as possible, and now and then, the sourcing, logistics and shipping process may take too long. Some organizations are going two steps ahead by adopting the ultimate approach to product on-demand – 3D printing business-critical products as and when they are required. As you can imagine, this can often eliminate the need to ship anything at all. At the very least, it drastically reduces storage requirements, time, customs duties, and overall shipment costs (if they’re required at all), as well as shortens the customer-fulfilment turnaround time.

  • Keep your supply chain innovatively active

Electronic products need to be associated with the latest technology to remain relevant. Therefore, embracing new technology would align with most electronic company’s brand strategies. Additionally, organizations are not only able to deliver more quickly, but they are also able to do so in a highly innovative and more cost-effective way. Electronic companies in various parts of the world have already begun to use self-driving trucks that can make a trip through the night-time. They can transport stock faster without dealing with the fallibility and complexity of “human error” and enjoy more trackability and decreased security risks during the process. For example, Amazon has included autonomous trucks in their fleet for some time already. This was further enhanced by Amazons acquisition of Zoox (self-driving technology company) in 2020. Electronic companies are also using geocoding systems, like What3words, which will eventually allow them to deliver to even the remotest and most unmapped parts of the world within a 3m X 3m radius accuracy via drones!

And the list can go on about the new technologies to use, but a recent addition worth a mention is the convenience and efficiency of voice and vision picking utilization in warehouses. In a nutshell, it’s using augmented reality for a more consistent, reliable, and quick way to manage, track, store and replace stock.

  • Product Visibility Always

Electronic products are generally not cheap, and much of any electronic company’s assets that are along the supply chain route are tied up in stock until they’ve been delivered and paid for. Therefore, it is critical to know where in the world your assets are using, for example, satellite tracking, which allows you to monitor how far along these assets are in the supply chain fulfilment process. Because such mechanisms are digitally managed, systems can be put in place to prevent challenges – like the bullwhip effect – and for more rapid damage control and solution-finding should there be any threat of not keeping promises made to customers. As the adage goes: forewarned is forearmed.

  • Know How to Keep Your Costs Down

3D technology, self-driving trucks and other more efficient technologies help to reduce outlays significantly. Additionally, cost-efficiency strategies like cross-dock solutions, container optimization and purchase order management can further enable more savings. Moreover, you know what side your bread is buttered on – leverage the Centre of Gravity Method to choose warehousing locations that have the closest possible proximity to where your biggest customers are. It costs a lot less in logistics and offers a much quicker delivery time too.

  • Innovate with your Partner

Nobody succeeds at anything if they go at it alone. Moreover, evolution is at the heart of the electronics industry. Therefore, companies should collaborate with partners to innovate, constantly improve their systems and their ability to deliver. Embrace everything that the 4th Industrial Revolution has to offer – the technology, digitization, rapid adaptation, as well as the convenience and reduced costs – and chances are that you will be propelled forward much faster than sticking with something just because it worked in the past because the truth is, yesterday’s state of the art may well be obsolete tomorrow.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can be utilized to streamline and simplify the logistics process. Large amounts of data can now be harvested from the supply chain journey to create more efficient and reliable operations that are optimized, far less complex and far more lucrative.

Now that today’s supply chains are less of just a chain and more of a complex network that extends over various continents, Blockchain can be used to gain transparency at every step (block) of the payment process and drastically reduce the occurrence of payment disputes as all stakeholders have access to the ledger at all times. This allows a more seamless and rapid supply chain process.