As the world around us continues to find itself increasingly connected and in tune with the reel of new tech that’s continually being launched, those of us working in the supply chain can’t allow ourselves to be left behind and must ensure we stay on top of emerging tech that can aid us in our work. With etailers such as Amazon providing innovative methods of delivery, most notably their use of drones, we’ve got to make sure we, as an industry, keep pace and don’t lose out to others applying new forms of tech to their processes.
While we certainly don’t have to resort to drones for home delivery just yet, there are a number of tech innovations that we will begin to increasingly notice in our work over the course of the next year, whether in passing or in actual implementation. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, AI in general is to become a more regular feature for the average consumer, and it is going to make inroads in the supply chain as well. The ability to programme machinery and systems with the ability to learn and adapt will prove itself invaluable as a means of speeding along the processes involved in different ecosystems, whether that be in-store or during transportation of goods, making our work more efficient and adaptable.
A tech that has developed a growing profile over the last year or so is that of the Blockchain. Blockchain means users can have total transparency for every transaction taking place, offering itself in particular to the likes of banks and political reports which require visibility at each stage. Working in an industry that is comprised of lists of transactions, whether that be in moving the stock itself or even additional services, such as our own in-store merchandising, Blockchain will undoubtedly become more and more frequent in our work. Perhaps one for a little further on than 2018, but definitely an emerging technology that we need to be aware of.
Autonomous driving and the development of electric cars will be another area in which we won’t see any kind of absolute conversion in 2018 but will again feature increasingly in conversations relating to the supply chain. With a recent spike in hype largely due to Tesla’s unveilings at the end of last year, the benefits autonomous and electric vehicles will have both in terms of safety and efficiency as well as environmentally will mean that, once the technologies are more affordable and available, they will surely be adopted on a large scale. Another one for the future, but something else that will continue to find its voice in our industry over the course of 2018.
Within our own services, whether it be our in-store merchandising offering or our movement of stock itself, these technologies will begin to prove their worth over 2018 and beyond. The potential benefits make the year ahead exciting for Westcoast Retail and the supply-chain in general; we just need to ensure we stay on top of developments and when the time comes, implement them correctly.