Amid a perfect storm that will cause supply chain frictions for years to come, real-time data-driven technology is the digital lubricant.

The world has changed in the past two years, not least due to the surge in e-commerce. The fierce competition to get more goods moving more quickly has not only frustrated impatient consumers, but it has also left cargo increasingly vulnerable to damage, spoilage, or theft.

Factor-in trade wars; a looming European energy crisis; the Ukraine/ Russia war; and increasing pressure to reduce carbon emissions—and the already-complicated world of logistics is becoming more challenging than ever.

Bottom line: things probably will not be returning to normal any time soon. Anticipating, monitoring, and mitigating risks may be what managing a supply chain has now become. Sustainable operations will be ones that can pre-emptively identify a potential disruption, or at the very least respond the moment that it occurs.

Leveraging DX and location intelligence

But it is not all doom and gloom. Digital transformation is heralding the next era in supply chain management.

According to research, a third of logistics companies polled in the Asia Pacific region had been considering warehouse automation (33%) and electric vehicles (32%) as key investment priorities in the next two years. Far more were planning investments in digital technologies designed to achieve end-to-end visibility.

Amid supply chain woes, businesses are now focused on route optimization and planning, as well as real-time data to assess their performance and guide improvements to stay resilient. Today, logistics companies require fleet, logistics asset tracking, and shipment monitoring solutions that address unique logistics challenges. There has never been a better time to digitalize and harness the power of location.

With location tracking systems, businesses can streamline operations, reduce operational costs, increase revenue channels and gain efficiency within supply chain and fleet management. This approach also delivers a more sustainable way of doing business.

As a result, when it comes to fleet tracking and shipment monitoring, IoT location tracking technologies have an advantage over GPS and radio-frequency identification. This is because IoT can provide better route planning and real-time notifications, helping operators to reduce costs and increase efficiency.

Last-mile delivery also under pressure

Digital investment is not just about minimizing risk. It can also help to maximize competitive advantage.

A company that delivers a precise and reliable estimated time of arrival—rather than a vague “maybe eight to 12 weeks” advisory—will be one that customers will return to. That said, real-time tracking does not just smooth out a supply chain, it appeals to the customer who is waiting at the end of the delivery journey.

Today’s consumers want—and tomorrow’s customers will demand—total visibility on their orders. They will want to be able to glance at a map and know exactly where their orders are through the supply chain—even down to whether the raw materials were sourced sustainably.

Also, pressure on last-mile delivery is increasing as supply chains try to meet the cost and time expectation of consumers. This is where location intelligence tools such as order tracking notifications, and last-mile delivery applications can help alleviate supply chain pressures and give consumers their ideal delivery experiences.

With disruption on the rise, supply chains are facing an ultimatum: evolve or else. To combat these widespread bottlenecks well, businesses must prioritize efficiency, leveraging solutions that will reduce unnecessary waste, delays, and disruptions.

Fortunately, digitalization and location technologies are ready to be tapped and improved upon: to provide increased visibility and help organizations safeguard the security of their assets.