Taking the Human Error Out of Supply Chain Planning

The supply chain is the backbone of every business operation. With the advent of time, the supply chain is becoming vigorous and more time-consuming. Since the supply chain is highly susceptible to risks, a small error in the manufacturing process becomes fatal for the entire process. In spite of all the vital planning, procedure, contingencies, quality assurance, and safe implementation of tools, it is only a single human error/mistake that can put entire supply chain planning into jeopardise. As the error is inevitable, humans by nature, are too infallible. As per Supply Chain Statistics: 2023 Market Share Analysis & Data report, supply chain disruption caused by human errors causes significant adverse losses in terms of finances (62%), logistics (54%), and reputation (54%). 

The axiomatic truth is that effective procurement and supply chain management is vital to the success of any business. Today, the time has come to follow a new approach to mitigate the human errors involved in the supply chain – integration of technology and automation. Technology always remains imperative for overall supply chain planning. According to Gartner Report On The Future Of Supply Chain Technology, “by 2026, 75% of large enterprises will have adopted some form of intralogistics smart robots in their warehouse operations to automate their tasks.” Automation is considered to be a time and money saver as it lets employees focus on tasks that require more intelligence than a computer can muster. 

Smart robots address the need to automate specific processes to supplement the human workforce. Through automation, implementation becomes much faster and less expensive than the traditional process. Automation, when involved in supply chain planning, brings consistency and predictability to streamline the complex workflows. As human error is the most significant cause of procurement mistakes, it is a little difficult to reduce the human error factor to almost ZERO. Data misplacement, accidentally destroyed materials, miscommunication, skipped processes or steps, etc., which are the biggest human errors that can bring supply chain planning to a halt. These causes of human errors are universal, and they are precise that effective automation can help improve performance to a great extent. 

With the introduction of sophisticated technologies and new operating practices, the supply chain industry has seen tremendous improvement in its workflows and business operations. Since automation analyses and integrates data per se, it ensures the reduction of human errors involved in the entire operation. Additionally, advanced data analysis and digital planning can empower the supply chain process and make it more productive. Gartner’s 2023 report reveals that by 2026 more than 75% of supply chain management application vendors will deliver embedded advanced analytics (AA), artificial intelligence (AI), and data science. It will further contribute towards improved decision-making that will help the businesses expand their business. As per the Gartner report, AI is predicted to generate $5 trillion in economic value through the supply chain in the year 2025. 

As supply chain complexity and volatility increase, supply chain organisations should become more agile to curb human errors. That’s where automation plays a vital role in helping them eliminate these avoidable production errors made by humans. Firstly, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) and digital image-based tracking of materials can ensure raw materials and finished goods are moved and stored accurately and appropriately. Secondly, the digital standard of work technology can play a great role in establishing a baseline for accurate task completion, which can further be used to train employees, verify their work, and alert them immediately if it’s out of compliance. Finally, the computed aided visual inspection can also help identify out-of-compliance parts that can be eradicated from the supply chain planning process. 

In the fast-paced world, automation is beneficial in bringing consistency and correctness to tasks in the supply chain. Once the workflow is automated, the system will carry it out consistently. With so much severity and uncertainty in the industry, supply chain organisations must implement advanced technologies that leverage analytics and automation to curb the most common human errors involved in supply chain planning. This would be one of the best ways to survive, thrive, and gain a competitive advantage in a dynamic and fast-changing environment. 

Leave a Reply