When it comes to supply chains, logistics are everything. At every turn, inefficiencies could throw a supply chain off its tracks, as we’ve seen during the pandemic recovery. When orders are late, out of stock or damaged, it comes at the cost of the business.

But what if you could optimize the supply chain from end to end? Cloud-based solutions are driving the industry toward a more efficient, resilient and productive future.

WHAT ARE CLOUD-BASED SOLUTIONS?

Cloud computing refers to the use of internet connections to store, collect and process data without the direct oversight of the user. In other words, cloud solutions automate many of the manual processes that otherwise would’ve been performed by the user. They save a lot of time and effort.

Businesses everywhere are turning to cloud technology. According to SelectHub, the cloud market is expected to surpass $354 billion worldwide by 2022. Supply chains, especially, stand to benefit from the cloud’s diverse range of applications.

Cloud-based technologies communicate with each other to optimize performance, making supply chains faster, more resilient and increasingly productive across the board. Even better, the cloud is giving supply chains an advantage as they continue to confront labor shortages and gaps in skilled labor.

THE CLOUD TAKES THE WHEEL

Supply chains rely heavily on labor to meet demand. From manufacturers to warehouses and retailers — people are vital to the business. But thanks to the cloud, supply chains can maintain productivity despite labor shortages.

In fact, cloud-based technology is largely reducing the gap in skilled labor, according to MH&L. They predict that by 2023, talent shortages for 75% of the top 500 manufacturers will be mitigated by digital assistants. Cloud solutions take pressure off supply chain workers to meet demand.

Given the current shortage in labor, cloud benefits are exceedingly important. Data collected by the Workforce Institute reveals that 52% of American manufacturers are experiencing above-average employee turnover. Cloud-enabled automation tools, like robotic pickers or autonomous forklifts, are streamlining tasks and picking up the slack.

INTELLIGENT SUPPLY CHAINS PUT THE PEDAL TO THE METAL

Supply chains are consistently under pressure. They need to manufacture faster, deliver on deadline and satisfy demand. Cloud-based solutions are making all of these processes better from end to end. 

By applying business analytics, the cloud expedites the manufacturing cycle. Through autonomous data collection, smart technology identifies where and why delays happen during the manufacturing process. With real-time machine learning capabilities, the cloud enables businesses to stay at their most competitive.

Compared to supply chains that have yet to adopt smart technology, cloud-enabled supply chains gain an especially vital edge.

PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS STEER AWAY FROM SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION

The cloud helps avoid supply chain disruption. Through predictive analytics, manufacturers can forecast potential risks before they occur. Inefficiencies, delays and other issues can be prevented by scouring data collected by the cloud.

Predictive analytics reduces the time spent mitigating risks and identifies cost-saving opportunities. Some organizations report predictive analytics are responsible for a 7% to 15% reduction in manufacturing costs, per data from McKinsey. Others say that cloud-based technologies have improved their supply chain by almost 30%. 

All in all, predictive analytics help foresee operational bottlenecks and other anomalies. With the cloud, supply chains know how to steer clear of danger.

DODGE OUT-OF-STOCKS AND DELIVER PROFITABILITY

Cloud-based warehouse management systems (WMS) enable supply chains to optimize performance at every warehouse location. By improving top-down visibility, cloud-based solutions help give supply chains a closer look at their operations.

Supply chains are often part of complex systems. Cloud technology breaks them down and makes them less overwhelming. Warehouses can look transparently at their product inventory and avoid out-of-stock retail items or losing items to neglect.

Visibility goes a long way toward cutting down costs. Stockouts cost the retail industry over $1 trillion in 2020, per IHL. But with a cloud-based WMS, warehouses will always know when inventory is low.

SEND COMPLIANCE INTO HIGH GEAR

Compliance is a tedious — although essential — process. Supply chains must comply with government rules and regulations, which means a lot of time spent carefully inputting data and filling out forms.

Thanks to the cloud’s inherent scalability, compliance doesn’t have to be time-consuming and unproductive. There are specific cloud-driven compliance applications that automate the cataloging of records. Those applications can be scaled up or down and adapted to meet the regulatory needs of any supply chain’s niche industry.

Whether forecasting delays, improving performance or keeping records, the cloud is fully optimizing supply chains. Cloud-based solutions not only streamline success — they put productivity in the fast lane.

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