Supply Chain and Logistics Management

Enhancing Supply Chain Visibility Through Real-Time Tracking

March 01, 2024

Supply chain visibility through real-time tracking on a mobile device app.

Shipping and logistics experts list a lack of adequate supply chain visibility as one of the main reasons for the massive supply chain failures that occurred in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While enhanced clarity tends to optimize all types of business operations, many people misunderstand the specific definition and benefits of visibility in the supply chain. 

Visibility is just one of many principles and topics covered as part of a comprehensive supply chain and logistics management program. A quality program, like the one offered at North American Trade Schools (NATS), will clearly demonstrate how the various areas of supply chain and logistics work together. 

What Is Supply Chain Visibility (SCV)?

Supply chain visibility (SCV) is the degree of transparency inherent in any set of supply chain systems, processes, and operations. A key defining characteristic of SCV is supply chain tracking (or supply chain traceability), which involves the ability to track individual items over the entire course of its supply chain journey. In some cases, this might mean tracing the journey of raw materials into a manufacturing plant as well as the journey of the finished products that exit it.

Importance of SCV and Traceability in Modern Businesses

As massive e-commerce retailers like Amazon now dominate the global consumer marketplace, shipping has become more prevalent for businesses at both domestic and international levels. As the sheer volume and practical complexity of shipments have increased over the years, companies have outsourced many components of their supply chains and sacrificed a great deal of their control over shipping and logistics operations.

This is why SCV and traceability have become particularly important supply chain and logistics issues in the 2020s. As supply chains become increasingly complex, the value inherent in SCV and traceability is only likely to grow for businesses of all types and sizes.

SCV is driven by modern technology that offers capabilities that would have been unimaginable for the supply chain and logistics professionals of yesterday. This technology employs artificial intelligence (AI) and other state-of-the-art tools to trace inventory in real time and provide a broad spectrum of operational insights.

Why Supply Chain Visibility Is Important in Customer Service

If you want satisfied customers, you must deliver products quickly and meet all other shipment expectations. To do this, you will need to order incoming supplies to meet demand and avoid shortages that might otherwise hinder production. You will also need to oversee the smooth and efficient movement of your products to the final consumer. In all these operations, you should take care to avoid impending shipment bottlenecks and meet all relevant compliance directives.

SCV can help supply chain and logistics professionals do all the above and more. Companies can use SCV tech to make supply chain changes to meet changing consumer demands. By tracing each movement of a particular shipping item, they can better respond to unforeseen supply chain challenges. Even better, they can offer customers access to real-time shipment tracking, which can make receiving shipments far more convenient.

How Can Real-Time Tracking Revolutionize Supply Chain Management?

From boosting logistics efficiency to improving customer service, real-time tracking is changing the face of supply chain operations in a variety of ways. The transparency real-time tracking offers can even aid in the development and maintenance of strong and productive supplier relationships. It has also proven to enhance the bottom business line by stabilizing business operations and producing bigger profit margins.

Here are just a few more ways that real-time supply chain tracking is revolutionizing the field of supply chain management:

Compliance with Regulations

One of the most fundamental hurdles you must clear to run a successful business is ensuring full compliance with all regulatory standards and guidelines that are relevant to your supply chain and logistics activities. Real-time tracking and other SCV measures boost transparency to support a broad spectrum of reporting functions.

Enhanced Risk Management

From its ability to foresee random supply bottlenecks to its ability to identify even momentary delays, real-time tracking enhances supply chain and logistics risk management on numerous different fronts. Additionally, AI systems can address many problems instantly and automatically after detecting them.

Accountability

Real-time tracking brings accountability to shipping that offers tremendous value to consumers. Up-to-date shipment traceability has led to more accurate arrival estimates and advancements in areas that range from inventory planning to resource optimization.

Improved Quality

All three of the real-time tracking benefits above lead to improved supply chain and logistics quality, which can boost customer satisfaction and lead to any number of competitive advantages. Other key SCV quality improvements include the ability to compare different transport routes with a focus on measuring discrepancies and altering planned routes to maximize efficiency.

Challenges in Implementing Real-Time Supply Chain Tracking

Although the advantages of real-time supply chain tracking are quite obvious, its implementation doesn’t come without its share of challenges. To better wrap our minds around these challenges, it may be helpful to break them down into three categories: technical, operational, and financial.

Technical Challenges

One of the best ways to sidestep the many technical challenges that go hand in hand with real-time tracking technology implementation is picking the right technology and the right vendor to install it. Keep your supply chain wants and needs in mind while searching for the right vendor—paying close attention to matters such as system customization, data security, and technical support capabilities.

Operational Challenges

Real-time tracking and other SCV measures have proven exceedingly effective solutions to common shipping and inventory problems in areas that include loading, unloading, transport, shelving, picking, and packing. Tailoring your system to address your chosen areas of focus can present significant obstacles during the implementation process.

Financial Challenges

There is no getting around the fact that implementing real-time tracking and other SCV measures comes with a substantial up-front price tag. Over a relatively brief period, however, these measures typically pay for themselves through the increased efficiencies that they engender. Given its proven ability to help anticipate and respond to supply chain disruptions, it can protect you against a supply chain catastrophe that might be just around the corner.

Overcoming Challenges in Real-Time Tracking Implementation

While the challenges to effective real-time supply chain tracking are quite real, you can address them immediately or stop them before they start by adhering to the following general guidelines:

Utilize Efficient Software Solutions

SCV software optimizes supply chain logistics by combining real-time tracking of shipments with automated operational and analytical processing to reduce delivery times, increase on-time deliveries, cut operating costs, and improve customer service. As stressed above, the best software solutions for you will depend on what you expect from SCV and the unique supply chain/logistics challenges you face.

Adopt Best Practices for Supply Chain Management

Modern technology can accomplish amazing things when it comes to managing effective supply chain and logistics operations. However, even the most advanced AI will fail to produce optimal results without the strategic guidance and oversight of skilled and knowledgeable human beings. 

One of the most crucial best practices of productive supply chain management is establishing a unified operational structure. Today’s supply chain manager must ensure smooth functionality among various business entities that often include outsourced, third-party service providers. With a productive network in place, the supply chain manager can establish standard operating procedures (SOP) to meet specific goals. Because the supply chain and logistics world is highly dynamic, wise managers will encourage ongoing feedback from all team members to better align SOP with goals over the long term.

Future Trends in SCV and Real-Time Tracking

As supply chain and logistics leaders look to the future of the industry, they see an increased focus on SCV. By combining the data from real-time tracking with data such as traffic patterns and weather conditions, SCV systems can effectively circumvent logistics issues and plan to avoid them altogether. Around the world, shippers are leveraging the power of real-time tracking to make more timely supply orders and enhance customer service.

Here are just a few other trends to consider regarding SCV and real-time tracking:

Integration With Other Technologies

Industry experts agree that real-time tracking works best when paired with AI, cloud storage, and other interrelated technologies. In fact, effective modern supply chain tracking demands integration with devices and equipment empowered by the Internet of Things (IoT). Using a system of sensors and codes, supply chain IoT allows physical equipment and inventory items to interact intelligently with one another to track movement in real time with full transparency.

Potential Industry Innovations

From cloud storage to IoT, tech leaders are constantly pioneering new hardware and software in different fields that relate to supply chain and logistics. Digital twinning is just one of many innovations in the field of AI. A virtual modeling of targeted physical assets using digital technology, twinning uses machine learning algorithms to better understand supply chain operations, conduct supply chain testing, monitor supply chain contingencies, and resolve supply chain problems.

Is Investing in Real-Time Tracking Worth It?

Assessing the ultimate value of real-time supply chain tracking is something that each organization will have to determine individually. But it is critical to note that you can make the integration of real-time tracking far more cost-effective by clearly defining your unique goals and making the services you choose to secure highly specific Many organizations discover that real-time tracking analytics greatly enhance supply chain operations by identifying areas for improvement, optimizing performance, and boosting financial and business growth.

Integration and Compatibility With Existing Systems

Supply chain and logistics professionals can significantly offset the upfront costs associated with an investment in real-time tracking by ensuring that their existing operational platforms and digital systems are ready for integration. This means evaluating technology to confirm or achieve compatibility with real-time tracking according to all essential performance benchmarks. You must also educate and prepare your team for the real-time tracking transformation by honestly communicating both its advantages and the challenges that its integration is likely to present.

Cost Considerations and ROI Analysis Factors

Though the hassles and headaches of real-time tracking integration may be difficult to quantify, you can effectively assess financial cost considerations using return on investment (ROI) calculations. A common investment appraisal calculation, ROI can help supply chain managers determine which, if any, real-time tracking measures to take.

Benefits of Pursuing a Supply Chain Management Program

Beyond matters related to SCV and real-time tracking, a good global supply chain and logistics management program, like the one at NATS, is an excellent way to prepare for a career in supply chain management or perfect your existing logistics operations.

Check out the Global Supply Chain and Logistics Management program from North American Trade Schools, then fill out the form today to request more information and see if this program is right for you!

Visit Our Blog Directory

Supply Chain and Logistics Management

AI in Supply Chain: Revolutionizing Logistics and Operations

March 01, 2024

Concept illustration of AI in supply chain warehouse with machine and boxes

Supply chain and logistics educational programs must remain up to date on the latest industry trends if they want to prepare students for a successful career. Considering this imperative, they must also stress the benefits of technology in supply chain management.

Perhaps more than any other area of innovation, artificial intelligence (AI) is defining today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape. In particular, the global shipping and logistics sectors are leveraging the power of AI to both streamline and improve all kinds of processes. 

Read on to learn more about the place of artificial intelligence in supply chain operations. 

How Artificial Intelligence Transforms Logistics Operations

From market volatility to environmental concerns to unforeseeable natural catastrophes such as the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains face more challenges today than ever before. While it is far from a cure-all, AI has stepped in to help supply chain and logistics professionals face and overcome these obstacles.

Gaining a Competitive Edge With AI in the Supply Chain

Companies that integrate the right AI can better track and manage incoming and outgoing inventory, but this is only the beginning of the competitive advantages that supply chain-related AI can deliver. By analyzing huge volumes of data in real time, AI can detect problems instantly, identify areas of improvement, automate routine tasks, understand causal relationships, and support better decision-making.

Enhancing Efficiency and Accuracy with AI

When it comes to delivering swift and precise results, AI is an absolute game changer in the supply chain and logistics field. AI systems owe their accuracy to built-in quality control systems that not only find anomalies but also correct them automatically.

AI-Driven Decision-Making in Supply Chain Management

AI has revolutionized global supply chain and logistics operations with its remarkable ability to analyze vast amounts of information—discovering patterns and making predictions. This innovation aids management professionals in mitigating risk, increasing quality, boosting productivity, improving customer satisfaction, and reducing costs.

Overcoming Challenges in the Implementation of AI in Supply Chains

While there are many profound benefits of integrating AI into supply chain operations, there are many challenges associated with its initial implementation. You must begin with a clearly articulated vision that includes several specific objectives. Next, take the time to thoroughly test all technology you plan to use and evaluate its various performance benchmarks. Finally, you must prepare your team for the AI transformation, touting its advantages while warning that its implementation will be likely to cause operational disruptions.

Addressing Data Quality and Infrastructure Issues

Accurate information is essential if you want to engender information-driven change. This holds true whether you are using AI tools or not. Because AI can only work with the initial data that you provide it, supply chain organizations must assess and prepare this data as a key part of the AI implementation process.

Selecting the Right Technology and Vendor for AI Adoption

Like quality providers of all types of goods and services, the best providers of AI tech will be able to demonstrate a proven track history of solution delivery. As a supply chain/logistics professional, you should seek out AI developers and vendors with industry-specific expertise. Other key selection criteria to consider include their dedication to data security, their system customization capabilities, and both their integration and post-integration support services.

Everyday Benefits of Incorporating AI into Supply Chains

AI-driven supply chains allow companies to boost their financial bottom line by cutting purchasing and production expenses. Beyond identifying and addressing costly problems, AI can greatly improve operational efficiency through automation. Additionally, its ability to accurately analyze massive amounts of information can help supply chain and logistics leaders make significantly better decisions.

Improved Forecasting and Demand Planning

In terms of decision-making assistance, it is hard to beat the extraordinary modeling and forecasting capabilities of AI. Put succinctly, AI can effectively predict the future when it is given the right data to work with. Through machine learning, AI can also inform itself to anticipate circumstances and proactively react to dangers in ways that human beings simply cannot. The most obvious benefit of AI forecasting and demand planning is preventing scenarios that lead to pronounced overstocking or running out of stock completely. Effective AI inventory management can structure timely and logical procurement and distribution procedures that lead to more productive relationships with suppliers and shippers.

Optimized Inventory Management With AI

Thanks to its amazing ability to monitor inventory and improve supply chain operations, AI can shorten delivery periods and better ensure on-time delivery. In addition, it benefits consumers by allowing them to receive updates and track shipments in real time. AI helps companies maintain optimum inventory levels and identify the most cost-effective ways to transport this inventory.

Preparing Your Supply Chain for AI Integration: A Step-by-Step Approach

After choosing the right AI tech and vendor, different supply chain professionals working for different organizations will want to tailor AI integration processes to meet their unique situations and goals. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to effective AI integration, the following general steps are a great place to start.

Establishing Goals and Organizing Data

Because you cannot get where you want to go without a firm destination in mind, goal-setting should be the very first step in the AI implementation process. Because an AI system is only as good as the data it receives, data organization should be the second. Of course, you will want to keep your goals in mind when refining your data architecture, while simultaneously ensuring that it is organized for maximum compatibility with the right AI algorithms.

Selecting AI Technologies and Algorithms

As detailed above, company reputation, industry-specific expertise, data security, customization capabilities, and both integration and post-integration support services are all important things to consider when selecting AI technology to support your supply chain/logistics operations. You will also want to take a close look at each vendor’s technology stack and their various programming languages, frameworks, and algorithms to ensure full compatibility with your existing procedural and technical infrastructure.

Integrating AI With Current Systems and Testing

A quality vendor will guide supply chain and logistics professionals as they prepare for AI integration and launch AI capabilities. To avoid future headaches, thorough systems testing should play a major role in all these processes. Furthermore, AI systems should be programmed to engage in continuous testing to chart ongoing progress and evaluate new strategies. By learning from each set of test results and delivering relevant data to decision-makers, AI strives for constant improvement.

Unleashing the Full Potential of AI in Supply Chain Management

While it is evolving quite rapidly, most tech experts agree that AI technology is still in its infancy. Read on for a brief overview of AI’s massive potential and tips on how to benefit from it.

Future Predictions for AI in Supply Chain Operations

Experts see big things for AI in supply chain and logistics operations in 2024 and beyond. Buoyed by significant ongoing improvements in predictive analytics and demand forecasting, AI’s role in inventory management will expand. Similarly, improvements in intelligent automation will make supply chain and logistics processes more efficient and less costly than ever before. Experts also predict far greater interconnectivity among equipment, inventory, and professionals in every link of the supply chain than to technological advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT).

Making Your Supply Chain Future-Ready with AI

From helping organizations avoid shipping bottlenecks to providing consumers end-to-end supply chain visibility, the advantages that AI offers will become expected necessities as the ceaseless march of technology progresses. By adopting and implementing AI today, you can prepare yourself for uninterrupted success moving forward.

Practical Applications of AI in Supply Chain and Logistics

AI promises more effective, efficient, precise, and productive operations up and down the supply chain. But what exactly does this mean? Let’s take a closer look at just a few aspects of shipping and logistics that stand to benefit greatly from AI technology.

AI for Enhanced Warehouse Management

Warehouses rank among the top supply chain beneficiaries for technological advancements in the Internet of Things (IoT), as mentioned above. Driven by comprehensive AI systems, warehouse IoT involves the placement of sensors and readable codes on both physical equipment and inventory items to monitor environmental conditions, track movement, and provide real-time transparency for all operations. AI has proven effective at recording accurate warehouse inventory levels, too—reducing operational errors, increasing operational speed, and preventing operational waste.

AI in Streamlining the Loading Process 

Through advanced predictive planning and logical scheduling, AI can prevent shipping bottlenecks and generally make loading processes far more effective. Beyond these improvements, AI can transform loading processes entirely when paired with compatible material-handling robotic equipment. Driven by an AI “brain,” intelligent robotic units can go beyond loading and unloading to shelve, organize, pick, and pack specific inventory items, all while navigating environments autonomously and learning from their successes as well as their mistakes.

AI’s Role in Cost-Savings and Revenue Boosting

The added value that AI contributes in terms of both effectiveness and efficiency translates to an improved financial bottom line. According to independent business research by McKinsey & Company, 61% of manufacturing executives report decreased costs after integrating AI into supply chain operations. Likewise, 53% of manufacturing executives report increased revenues after AI integration.

Human Intervention in AI-Powered Supply Chains: Why It Matters

Although it has the potential to mimic human thought and instincts to a degree that is sometimes startling, AI is far from human in its inherent awareness. In terms of supply chain and logistics management, this means that it may misunderstand fundamental aspects of business operations that might be obvious to the ordinary person. As previously noted, AI systems are only as effective as the data that they receive. For these reasons and others, human intervention must be an essential component of any AI system, no matter how efficiently it runs and how quickly it learns on its own.

Will AI Replace Humans in the Supply Chain Industry?

It is certainly a powerful tool when placed in the right human hands, but AI won’t be replacing human beings in supply chain and logistics management anytime soon. The industry-changing effects of AI are vast and will impact employment in many ways, but human ingenuity will remain essential.

Learn More About AI as Part of Supply Chain and Logistics Operations

A good post-secondary educational program will not only deliver basic supply chain and logistics principles but also address AI and other modern advancements that are rapidly revolutionizing the field. 

The Global Supply Chain and Logistics Management program at North American Trade Schools (NATS) makes learning even easier by offering classes 100% online. Learn and request more information about this program with NATS today. 

Visit Our Blog Directory

Supply Chain and Logistics Management

Optimizing Inventory Management Techniques for Supply Chain Management

February 13, 2024

Female inventory manager shows digital tablet information to a worker

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and other pronounced challenges to the global supply chain, newspapers have devoted many headlines to matters that relate to shipping networks and logistics. This publicity has generated increased interest from people seeking to solve these challenges by pursuing a supply chain and logistics management career.

Completing a specialized supply chain and logistics management program like the one at North American Trade Schools (NATS) is a great way to lay the foundation for professional success in this field. This program covers essential supply chain management principles that include basic inventory control.

Importance of Inventory Management

The finished products and goods that flow out of an organization and the raw materials and other operational necessities that flow into it, inventory is an essential business component. Inventory management is the strategic oversight of this inward and outward flow to track and record the movement of inventory and ensure that inventory is available where and when needed. At the highest levels, logistics leaders attempt to optimize inventory management in supply chain systems.

The Role of Inventory Management in Global Supply Chains

Supply chains of all sizes rely on effective inventory management to meet the demands of businesses and consumers alike. Beyond guiding the global flow of goods from production to consumption, inventory management is necessary to ensure that stock remains replenished and distribution meets demand. Inventory management also prevents missed opportunities, unnecessary expenses, and general waste associated with maintaining excess or insufficient stock levels.

Key Techniques of Inventory Management

To play the necessary role in daily business operations and global supply chains, inventory managers have developed various processes and techniques. Here are a few of the most successful and influential:

Just-In-Time Inventory Technique

Known by the acronym JIT in the supply chain and logistics sectors, the just-in-time method of inventory management concentrates on eliminating waste by keeping on-hand inventory levels as low as possible. Rather than stockpiling large numbers of products and large amounts of raw materials, a JIT inventory manager will order small shipments of stock to replace inventory as needed to fulfill current orders and meet forecasted demand.

ABC Inventory Management Technique

A hierarchical system of inventory management, ABC involves analyzing and evaluating inventory items to prioritize certain items for procurement and storage. It consists of placing items into one of three categories that measure the value against volume. The “A” category contains items that account for roughly 20% of overall stock but up to 80% of inventory value. The “B” category includes items that account for approximately 30% of overall stock but roughly 15% of inventory value. The “C” category contains items that account for around 50% of overall stock but only 5% or less of inventory value.

First In, First Out (FIFO) Technique

The first in, first out (FIFO) inventory technique stresses the importance of shipping out or exhausting stocks of older inventory before ordering or producing newer inventory. Extremely important when dealing with highly perishable goods, FIFO assumes that the first inventory acquired will be the first inventory used or sold. Beyond its emphasis on rapid turnover, the FIFO rule can help accurately estimate current inventory value and calculate the cost of final goods sold.

Exploring Different Types of Inventory Control Systems

Systems used to manage and control inventory commonly fall into one of two general categories: periodic or perpetual.

The Periodic Inventory System

“Periodic” inventory management systems evaluate inventory for financial reporting purposes by performing physical inventory counts at specific intervals (typically monthly, quarterly, annually or at the beginning or end of established fiscal quarters). This systematic approach is commonly used by small and mid-sized businesses that find it both easy to implement and cost-effective over the long term.

The Perpetual Inventory System

Rather than examining inventory periodically, the “perpetual” approach to inventory management continually tracks inventory changes in real time using digital technology. Perpetual inventory systems eliminate the need for physical inventory checks, offering minute-to-minute updates of inventory changes and constantly recording those changes. This immediate reporting system ensures that inventory managers know the precise inventory level.

Inventory Management Methods and Their Application

The specific techniques employed within periodic and perpetual systems can serve a range of valuable purposes for effective inventory management.

Periodic Inventory Management Method

A key metric in the practical application of periodic inventory management is the cost of goods sold (COGS), which is calculated by counting inventory at the beginning of a period and then making the appropriate inventory additions and deductions throughout the period that tallies with a final count at the end of the period.

Perpetual Inventory Management Method

A perpetual system updates accounts instantaneously by recording each acquisition, disposition, and sale to offer an up-to-date COGS at any time. Other advantages of the perpetual inventory system include analyzing transaction details in real time and investigating inventory-related errors.

Implementing Inventory Control Best Practices

To maintain smooth and profitable supply chain and logistics processes, you cannot underestimate the importance of following industry standards to optimize inventory control.

Management Methodologies Used in Inventory Control

In addition to just-in-time (JIT), ABC inventory, and first in, first out (FIFO) methodologies, inventory managers can employ any number of valuable methods to control the flow and level of inventory. For example, an inventory manager would want to stress materials requirement planning (MRP) to meet ongoing production needs and communicate effectively with suppliers in the manufacturing sector. Other helpful inventory control methodologies include economic order quantity (EOQ), which times and sizes inventory orders to minimize setup and holding costs. Days sales of inventory (DSI) is also helpful; it calculates the average time it takes a company to turn over its inventory.

Tips for Managing Stock Effectively

Beyond timing inventory orders and prioritizing inventory items, stock managers should regularly audit inventory using all the tools. The frequency of these audits will depend on the risk of irregularity between projected and actual inventory levels. A good stock manager will also closely monitor the operational efficiency of internal processes as well as the external processes of suppliers and distributors. And you certainly cannot discount the value of modern technology in stock management.

How Technology Aids Inventory Management

Like most areas of business operation, inventory management has been entirely transformed by digital technology. Its timesaving and cost-cutting results are incredibly well documented, and any inventory manager who isn’t using industry-specific computer software and hardware has surely fallen behind those who are!

Use of Barcodes in Inventory Management

Everyone knows the UPC barcodes that scan prices on household items for easy checkout at the supermarket or department store. Barcodes are incredibly useful for maintaining absolute accuracy and efficiency in shipping, receiving, and storage processes.

However, fewer people realize that supply chain and logistics professionals use similar barcodes to track inventory from initial production to final destination. 

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in Inventory Management

Radio frequency identification (RFID) accomplishes the same ends as barcoding but adds many desirable benefits. While the data on a barcode is “read-only” and cannot be changed, RFID data can be updated in real time, which supports far greater flexibility in the supply chain.

Furthermore, RFID scanners can process many codes simultaneously from various angles, unlike barcode scanners, which require a direct line of sight and must scan each code individually.

Understanding Supply Chain Inventory Control

Regardless of the tools used to accomplish it, effective inventory control is essential for any organization that wants to outpace its competition. Here are a few guidelines to help you optimize inventory control processes and operations.

Supply Chain Inventory Control Techniques

One of the essential techniques in inventory control is demand forecasting, which involves using existing data to predict future consumer demand and maintain the proper types and amounts of inventory an organization needs to meet that demand. To ensure this inventory is on hand at the right time, many inventory control professionals keep safety stock in storage to deal with unexpected demand surges and set reorder points to trigger communications with suppliers at specific inventory levels.

How to Optimize Your Supply Chain with Effective Inventory Control

While addressing general inventory control approaches like those described above, many inventory managers are adopting innovative supply chain and logistics models, many of which would be impractical, if not impossible, without the help of modern digital technology. Cross-docking and dropshipping are two models that can support highly effective inventory control. Cross-docking eliminates storage costs and hassle by receiving supplier inventory and shipping it to customers immediately. Dropshipping goes even further by keeping no inventory in stock and outsourcing all direct consumer shipping operations to a third-party supplier or logistics provider.

Inventory Control Policies and Process for Efficiency

Whether moving raw materials into your company or delivering products from your warehouse, practical and streamlined inventory control policies and processes are an absolute must.

What to Include in an Inventory Control SOP

By establishing clear, standardized operating procedures (SOP) for inventory control, an organization can ensure that every relevant team member will know what to do every time an inventory item is moved. A comprehensive SOP will cover the reception of goods and supplies, the storage of goods and supplies, and the shipment of finished products. It should also address scheduling and security matters related to these inventory-related activities.

Basic Control Policies to Improve Inventory Management

Beyond the general SOP guidelines detailed above, wise inventory control professionals will diligently track any losses arising from theft or damage. Fortunately, countless traditional and state-of-the-art tools help inventory managers precisely do this!

Exploring Software Solutions for Inventory Control

For centuries, business managers have used written ledgers to track and control inventory. Today, pen and paper have given way to computer hardware and software, which have proven to be highly capable of managing inventory automatically and with far greater speed and accuracy.

Features to Look for in Inventory Control Software

When choosing a digital platform to govern inventory management, you should emphasize its ability to forecast inventory needs and develop appropriate ordering and distribution schedules. Depending on your particular wants and needs, you may also require inventory control software compatible with barcode/RFID scanning, customizable configuration, and actionable inventory analysis features. You must also decide between software as a service (SaaS)/cloud-based systems (which are generally more affordable) and on-premise systems (which are generally more effectively targeted and managed).

Benefits of Using Inventory Control Software

A good digital inventory management system can lead to many competitive advantages by boosting the speed and accuracy of inventory tallies and calculations, saving you a great deal in terms of time, money, and headaches.

How Can Proper Inventory Management Techniques Enhance Supply Chain Efficiency?

By following this article’s guidelines and best practices, inventory managers can dramatically boost productivity and drive ongoing improvements in global supply chain and logistics operations.

Global Supply Chain & Logistics – A Field of Growing Importance

Beyond essential inventory control, the supply chain and logistics profession is rising to meet increasing daily challenges. If you want to be a part of the solution to the many shipment problems plaguing the global supply chain, you owe it to yourself to check out the Global Supply Chain & Logistics Management Program at NATS. For more information, fill out the short digital contact form at the top of the page.

Visit Our Blog Directory

Supply Chain and Logistics Management

From Basics to Advanced: What to Expect in a Global Supply Chain & Logistics Management Online Program

January 19, 2024

The supply chain is an advanced and interconnected network that begins with raw materials and ends with a finished product that can be purchased by consumers. Defined as a chain due to the numerous links in the system, the supply chain is an interconnected entity that must flow seamlessly to reduce costs, expedite production times and improve customer satisfaction ratings.

As a result, the demand for trained and qualified supply chain managers is on the rise — with organizations particularly focused on finding professionals with an advanced understanding of global logistics and supply chain management.

If you are looking to pursue a career in this fast-paced, evolving field, you may want to consider enrolling in an online supply chain management course or global supply chain management degree program.

Uncovering the World of Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Global logistics and supply chain management are separate fields that are closely related. In logistics, professionals are focused on efficiently managing goods and services, with their primary goal being to preserve product quality and expedite processing times. On the other hand, supply chain management is the network that begins with raw materials and works toward production, manufacturing and distribution, ultimately ensuring that products reach consumers in a fast and affordable way.

While there are distinct differences, it’s clear that the two fields must work in tandem to ensure consumers can readily purchase the high-quality products they crave. It’s the only way the global economy can continue to move forward.

What Is Global Supply Chain Management?

Global supply chain management refers to the optimization of the supply chain on a global scale. While there are individual supply chains within local communities and countries, there’s also a larger, much more complex supply chain that exists on a global scale. Understanding the links of the global supply chain and knowing how to manage them effectively is critical to preserving the health and strength of the global economy.

According to ProLogis, global supply chain management is one of the most pivotal disciplines of 21st-century business, with the success of both small and local businesses and large corporations depending upon an effective and efficient global supply chain.

The Role of a Global Supply Chain Manager

Global supply chain managers are specialized business professionals who focus on developing and implementing advanced supply chain strategies on an international scale.

According to Zippia, the responsibilities of a global supply chain manager include:

  • Securing materials from the leading suppliers around the world and negotiating the best possible price.
  • Managing inventory.
  • Verifying that all suppliers are complying with safety standards and local regulations.
  • Collecting supply chain data and evaluating performance.
  • Identifying inefficiencies within the supply chain and addressing them.
  • Ensuring all products meet or exceed quality standards.

What to Expect From a Supply Chain Management Course

A digital education in supply chain is possible thanks to the availability of online global supply chain and logistics management programs. Whether you have already earned a degree in supply chain management or are enrolling in a certification program to specialize within your field, an online learning program can help you advance your career in supply chain and logistics.

E-learning for supply chain professionals can be completed on your own time, allowing you to effectively balance your existing priorities with professional development. Including both synchronous and asynchronous components, you are sure to enjoy a well-rounded and engaging experience that allows you to develop and improve practical skills in logistics.

Topics

The topics covered as part of your online global logistics and supply chain management program may vary, but some topics commonly discussed include:

  • The current trends shaping the global supply chain.
  • Best global supply chain practices.
  • The basics of logistics management.
  • Inventory control techniques.
  • Advanced logistics and distribution management.
  • Competitive globalization and its impact on the supply chain.
  • Supply chain risks.
  • The most influential stakeholders in the global supply chain.

An online logistics training program will provide you with in-depth, expert-level knowledge of global logistics and supply chain management while building your practical logistics skills. It’s an ideal professional development opportunity for anyone who wants to specialize in supply chain management.

Skill Development

Skill development is a key component of any online certification course or online degree program. Your supply chain management course curriculum will likely emphasize the following practical logistics skills:

  • Data harvesting
  • Data analysis
  • Supply chain and global logistics technology
  • Project management
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

This combination of hard and soft skills should help you feel confident and ready to dive into your role within the global logistics and supply chain management sector.

Required Coursework

Coursework that is required to complete an online certification may include:

  • Video lectures and slideshow presentations.
  • Collaborative projects with classmates that can be completed virtually.
  • Studying from textbooks and other online course materials.
  • Data collection and analysis to develop practical logistics skills.

Students who opt into online learning programs appreciate that they can balance their required coursework with existing responsibilities. Online learning in logistics is considered incredibly accessible, and a viable option for anyone looking to specialize or advance their career in supply chain management.

Benefits of Earning a Global Supply Chain Management Degree

You may enjoy both professional and personal benefits when you invest your time and resources into a global supply chain management degree. According to Indeed, the top benefits of this online degree program include:

  • Experienced supply chain managers are in high demand. According to the Government of Canada’s Job Bank, the number of job opportunities in the field is expected to increase by more than 8,100 positions by 2031. Your location, however, may determine what positions are available to you. Supply chain managers are expected to be in high demand in places like Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario.
  • The industry is expected to grow and expand worldwide, particularly as the global economy continues to strengthen and become more interconnected. Experienced supply chain managers who understand more than just the basics of logistics management will be able to pursue job opportunities in Canada and beyond.
  • Supply chain managers and logistics professionals can network with business leaders in a wide variety of sectors and industries. Networking in the supply chain industry includes more than just other supply chain managers, as you are often in contact with marketing professionals, suppliers, vendors and production experts.

Prioritize Your Career at NATS

The Global Supply Chain and Logistics Management Online program at North American Trade Schools is designed to help students find success in the global field of logistics, supply chain and operations management. Gain real-world competencies and skills while learning about new and emerging technologies impacting the global supply chain. You’ll also have the option to prepare and sit for the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) certification and the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification. Contact us today to learn more.

Are you interested in supply chain logistics courses?

Contact NATS for more information.

Visit Our Blog Directory

Supply Chain and Logistics Management

Key Benefits of a Global Supply Chain & Logistics Operations Online Program

January 19, 2024

Portrait of a young Asian supply chain management woman looking at inventory in a warehouse using a smart tablet.

In today’s globalized world, supply chain and logistics operations are increasingly important. Specifically, effective supply chain management ensures the flow of goods and services from a company is streamlined to reduce waste, maximize the customer experience, and help businesses gain a competitive advantage within their respective industries.

More than ever, businesses across the globe are relying on supply chain and logistics professionals to help streamline their operations. In fact, according to data from Job Bank Canada, an estimated 8,100 new jobs will open across Canada between 2022 and 2031, with 7,400 new job seekers expected to fill them. In Ontario, supply chain jobs are expected to grow by 35% between 2023 and 2027. To meet the demands of this growing field, online degree programs specific to the supply chain industry have become increasingly popular.

The Online Learning Experience: What Sets It Apart

Compared to traditional brick-and-mortar programs in global supply chain management, many students now prefer an online experience that allows them to work at their own pace and on their own time. This flexibility also applies to supply chain management and logistics programs, historically only available on physical college campuses.

Just as the internet has led to a more globally connected economy, it has also made it possible for training programs (such as supply chain and logistics programs) to be available entirely online. These programs may combine asynchronous learning resources and live, synchronous meetings with instructors and fellow students. The result is that nearly anybody can get the training they need to enter the global supply chain and logistics field or advance their current status within the industry.

What Does a Supply Manager Do?

What does a supply chain manager do, anyway? Supply chain managers play an increasingly vital role in the global supply chain, taking on the crucial responsibility of organizing all the logistics involved in producing and distributing a company’s goods from start to finish. From establishing business relationships with suppliers to directing the allocation of materials and delivering quality products, supply chain managers play a critical role in all product life cycle stages.

The global supply chain management salary can vary greatly depending on the location of the job, the person’s level of education and experience, and various other factors. However, according to Ontario Labor Market data, supply chain managers earn a median salary of $62,400 per year as of 2022.

Typically, supply chain managers need to have a certification in supply chain management or a similar designation. Some employers may also prefer applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a related field. In addition, prior experience working in supply chain management or in logistics jobs may be preferred.

What are logistics jobs aside from supply chain manager that you may want to consider in this industry? Some options include:

  • Supply chain analyst
  • Inventory management specialist
  • Shipping manager
  • Warehouse manager
  • Business intelligence specialist

The Need for Specialized Education in Global Supply Chain Management & Logistics

As business and commerce become increasingly global, the need for experienced and skilled supply chain professionals will only continue rising. Of course, as the world has grown ever more interconnected, complexities have emerged in modern-day supply chains that call for trained professionals to understand and overcome.

Increasing freight prices, material scarcity, and difficult demand forecasting have made supply chain logistics more complex, highlighting the need for expertly trained supply chain managers and other logistics specialists to tackle these problems head-on.

The Rise of Online Learning Platforms

Since the early 2010s, the availability of online learning programs has skyrocketed. According to Statistics Canada, postsecondary university enrollments have increased by 2.5% since 2021, with 7.5% more students graduating in 2021 compared to 2020 rates.  Today, there are some incredible opportunities in e-learning for supply chain professionals, including online logistics operations training programs and digital education for logistics operations.

Online programs appeal to many learners due to their accessibility and flexibility. Meanwhile, they tend to be more affordable than in-person programs; online programs may cost less per credit hour while also saving students on added expenses related to commuting to or living near campus.

Additionally, completing an online training program can help students get started in the supply chain field. Those who have been working in the field may even consider enrolling in a program as a means of upskilling and setting themselves apart from others, thus making themselves more marketable and advancing their careers.

Key Benefits of the Global Supply Chain & Logistics Operations Online Program

Thinking about enrolling in an online global supply chain and logistics operations program? The program available through North American Trade Schools (NATS) is a popular option for a number of reasons.

Flexibility and Convenience

Rather than having to attend physical classes on a college campus, an online logistics program allows students to study from anywhere and work around their busy schedules. 

  • Study from anywhere and fit lessons around personal schedules.
  • Working professionals can upskill without compromising their jobs.

Access to Industry Experts

Our program at NATS provides students with access to some of the supply chain and logistics management industry’s most notable experts, so you can start making real connections and building your professional network. 

  • Interaction with seasoned professionals and thought leaders.
  • Real-world case studies and problem-solving.

Cost-Effective Learning

It’s no secret that pursuing a higher education can be expensive. This remains true even if you’re looking to learn a trade. The good news? An online supply chain management program tends to be the most cost-effective approach, especially compared to an in-person program. If are seeking a way to save some money without sacrificing the quality of your education, an online program with supply chain management courses may be the way to go. 

  • Generally lower tuition fees than traditional courses.
  • Savings on travel, accommodations, and other miscellaneous expenses.

Networking Opportunities

When you enroll in our program, you could gain the unique opportunity to connect with fellow industry peers and industry professionals who can help expand your network and horizons. In some cases, you may be able to collaborate with others in the field on meaningful projects that could lead to future job opportunities and other exciting developments.

  • Connect with peers, mentors, and industry leaders globally.
  • Collaborate on projects, leading to potential job opportunities.

Updated Curriculum With Latest Industry Trends

NATS takes a lot of pride in ensuring our supply chain management programs are constantly updated to reflect what’s actually happening in the industry. This means students are always being taught based on the most up-to-date information and using strategies proven to be effective when they complete their programs and enter the workforce.

  • Continuous course updates to reflect the latest trends and technologies.
  • Hands-on experience with the latest software and tools.

Global Supply Chain & Logistics Operations Online Program – Learn More Today

Working in supply chain management can be challenging yet rewarding. If you’re interested in a career in logistics or career advancement in logistics, enrolling in an online trade program can be a great way to take the supply chain management courses you need to grow your skill set. Plus, earning a supply chain online certification saves the time and hassle of attending classes on a traditional brick-and-mortar campus, which can be a relief if you already have other obligations like a job or family.If you’re looking for a global supply chain and logistics program to help you learn the necessary real-world skills and competencies to thrive in this dynamic field, North American Trade Schools has you covered. This program is offered with flexible online learning activities and weekly live video conference sessions to maximize your learning outcomes—and all students have the opportunity to prepare and sit for the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) certification and the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification. Get in touch to learn more about the Global Supply Chain and Logistics program, or start your application today!

Are you interested in supply chain logistics courses?

Contact NATS for more information.

Visit Our Blog Directory

Supply Chain and Logistics Management

The Function of Data Analytics in Your Future Supply Chain and Logistics Career

January 16, 2024

A female supply chain and logistics professional holding a tablet in an office after supply chain and logistics training

The role of data analytics in supply chain and logistics is becoming increasingly important in the future. In an increasingly data-driven world, the ability to analyze, interpret, and apply data effectively will become more crucial than ever. This blog post explores how data analytics will function in supply chain and logistics careers, outlining its significance and the potential transformations it might bring.

Data Analytics Allows for Enhanced Decision-Making

The most immediate impact of data analytics in supply chain and logistics is decision-making. With the integration of comprehensive data analysis tools, professionals can make more informed decisions. Supply chain managers can identify patterns and trends in historical data with historical data analysis, resulting in insights that assist in strategic planning and execution. 

Data analytics provides insights into customer behaviour, market trends, and supply chain efficiency, allowing for more strategic planning and execution. This means anticipating market changes, adapting to consumer demands more quickly, and optimizing operations for better performance throughout your supply chain and logistics career

Improved Efficiency and Increased Cost Reduction

One of the primary goals of any supply chain is to maximize efficiency while minimizing costs. Data analytics plays a crucial role here. By analyzing patterns and trends in the supply chain, professionals can identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks. This can improve various aspects, such as inventory management, transportation routes, and supplier selection. Predictive analytics can be particularly beneficial, helping to anticipate and mitigate potential disruptions before they occur.

A supply chain professional holding a meeting in an office after supply chain and logistics training
Data analytics streamlines efficiency in your supply chain and logistics career.

Data analysis improves demand forecasting, a critical aspect of supply chain management. Advanced analytics can identify patterns in vast datasets, allowing for accurate predictions of future product demand. This capability ensures companies can meet customer expectations and optimize inventory management, preventing overstocks and stockouts.

Enhanced Customer Experience Through Personalization

Today’s competitive market places a high priority on customer satisfaction. Data analytics enables a more personalized customer experience by understanding and predicting customer needs and preferences. For instance, companies can tailor their services and products more effectively by analyzing purchase history and customer feedback. In addition to improving customer satisfaction, this can lead to repeat business and loyalty.

Supply Chain and Logistics Training Emphasizes Sustainability and Ethical Practices

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a priority for businesses. Data analytics can help supply chain and logistics professionals make environmentally friendly decisions. By analyzing data related to carbon footprints, waste management, and resource utilization, companies can identify areas for improvement and ensure they meet regulatory requirements. This also aids in boosting a brand image that appeals to environmentally conscious consumers.

Efficient Risk Management With the Integration of Emerging Technologies

Supply chains are susceptible to various risks – from natural disasters to geopolitical issues. Data analytics enhances risk management by providing tools to identify, assess, and mitigate risks. Predictive analytics can forecast potential disruptions, allowing companies to develop contingency plans. This proactive approach to risk management ensures greater resilience and stability in the supply chain, per supply chain and logistics training.

A female supply chain professional working in an office after supply chain and logistics training
Data analytics enhances supply chain stability in your supply chain and logistics career.

Finally, data analytics is crucial in integrating emerging technologies like AI, IoT, and blockchain into supply chains. These technologies generate vast amounts of data, which, when analyzed effectively, can lead to groundbreaking innovations in supply chain management and logistics.

Are you interested in supply chain logistics courses?

Contact NATS for more information.

Visit Our Blog Directory

Schedule Now
Skip to content