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How Technology Can Help Small & Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) In The Supply Chain World

supply chain technology for SMBs

Supply chains for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs or SMEs) have followed a similar trajectory over the years. Consumers or business owners create a purchase order. Once the items ordered are ready, the supplier contacts a shipping company to move the products. While this has been the norm, it’s not the most efficient system today.

With the global supply chain management market expected to reach $37.4 billion by 2027, most large organizations are heavily invested in supply chain management technology and tools.

But when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses, they don’t really handle inventory on the same scale as the big players. Utilizing supply chain management tools or 3PL partnerships gives a first-mover advantage to large companies. Especially in the post COVID world, where an efficient supply chain is measured by the ability to deliver the correct goods to the correct location on time, this matters even more.

Making supply chain technology accessible to SMBs

SMBs need a more accessible solution to keep with the competition as well as achieve consumer satisfaction. These companies must cope with exponential demand and supply chains must be much faster and more precise and data-driven.

Supply chain management technology continues to expand rapidly. SMBs need to embrace the digital way of life if they too want a piece of the pie. Let’s look at some solutions small business owners can start with when using technology for supply chain management.

4 areas where supply chain tech can benefit SMBs

Think of a software program that combines order management, transportation management, and supply chain optimization exclusively for SMEs. A tailored 3PL solution that includes all the touchpoints mentioned here is probably the answer. So what are the tools SMBs can look out for when collaborating with a 3PL partner? Here are 4 tech solutions towards supply chain management they can subscribe to:

Transportation automation

With supply chains becoming global and small businesses shipping to remote corners, it’s important to note the differences in rules and regulations across the globe. There may also be a need for different transportation systems, infrastructure, and more in different parts of the world. 

For example, a few regions in North Australia require specific device-driven infrastructures. Business owners are now working towards leveraging logistic technology to manage supply in these regions. Such challenges and differences make it difficult to predict transportation routes or challenges.

But with a robust transportation management tool, a solution offered by various 3PL players today, businesses can stay aware of the chain. Shipment tracking can now allow them to know what’s in each box and when it will arrive at the consumer’s doorstep. This technology can help small businesses focus on the consumer and ensure a positive experience and review.

Focusing on consumer experience

Businesses today need to focus on ensuring exceptional consumer experience to stay afloat of the competition. They need to make sure to prioritize getting goods to consumers on demand. 

Since eCommerce companies were leveraging automation and supply chain technology even before COVID-19, they were able to easily adapt to the increasing need for automated, seamless, supply chains during the pandemic. 

Traditional businesses, on the other hand, especially the SMEs, had no option but to kick start this journey because of the pandemic. For them, it was difficult to cope with the pandemic induced and tech upgraded supply chains. 

Many businesses ultimately resorted to 3PL partnerships to deal with this uncertainty. With solutions from warehousing to transportation to logistics and inventory, 3PL partners enable SMEs to experience a connected, efficient supply chain. This can help small businesses win consumer favor and love.

Tech innovation + Internet of Things (IoT)

With a view to perfecting the supply chain and ensuring connectivity between all touchpoints, various tech innovations are being introduced. Using emerging tech solutions like IoT, AI (artificial intelligence), or blockchain, especially for analytics (post supply and predictive) can enable small businesses to stay strategic decisions as well as maintain a connected business cycle. This is crucial to maintaining seamless business operations.

Reduction of labor cost + raise in daily wages

Shipment tracking, warehouse management, inventory management, a robust 3PL solution will enable businesses of all sizes to have more efficient supply chains. The ability to predict and solve problems using predictive and data analytics makes it possible for small businesses to reduce the overall cost of labor. This has a positive effect on the industry as workers skilled in utilizing, creating, and working with these tech solutions receive higher salaries as well.

Finally, if small to medium-sized businesses are looking to start their supply chain automation journey, the first thing they must do is identify their problem areas and find 3PL partners with the right kind of solutions. Looking at their supply chain holistically will give them insight into what’s missing and connect with the optimal 3PL partner such as Turvo. Once problem areas are highlighted, finding solutions is just a matter of using available tech to do the job for you. 

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