Modern Technology’s Impact on the Supply Chain
Technology has changed the world that we live in. Its insidious tentacles have pushed their way into every corner of our lives, shaping the way that we eat, shop, date, stay in touch, and even do our banking. We order our takeaways online rather than phoning our local Chinese. We do our weekly shopping through supermarket websites, and buy our clothes from retailers without any brick-and-mortar stores to their name. When we want to start a new relationship, we look for people with similar tastes online. There is no escape from the touch and reach of innovation.
This is not a bad thing. Although many people lament the old days, and the old way of doing things, technology has made our lives more streamlined, more efficient, and more connected. Yes, we might not meet people organically, but we can speak to friends that we haven’t seen in a decade every single day if we choose to, despite the distance that separates us. It has made the impossible possible, and this is something to be celebrated.
The world of commerce has not escaped this influence, and the way that supply chains function has been revolutionized over the last decade. Here, we look at just some of the changes we’re seeing, and how they could benefit your business.
Increased choices of suppliers and buyers. If you’re involved in the commercial sector, then one major change that you’ll have noted over the past decade is your increased access to suppliers, or if you’re a supplier, your increased access to buyers. Thanks to the ever growing utilization of the internet, businesses are far less confined by geographical boundaries. Where once you would have been restricted to buying or selling from those in your local area, you can now shop around, as it were, to find the suppliers offering the lowest prices, or conversely to connect with buyers who will find your competitive charges enticing. This improved ability to join one end of the supply chain with the other has been transformative for the commercial sector, helping to forge hundreds of thousands of new and beneficial professional relationships.
Flexible lending systems. Successful businesses are akin to intricate machines, with capital acting as the oil that keeps all of the cogs turning. The more access a company has to money, the greater its chances of performing well. It’s good, then, that the development of new technology has helped spawn innovative credit lending options. Enterprises like Ebury have taken full advantage of this, taking the place of traditional lenders to improve businesses’ working capital, and fund supplier payments. Such entities have helped to increase the efficiency of the supply chain, creating a brighter future for many SMEs.
Increased choices for transportation and logistics. You cannot have a supply chain without transporting goods between suppliers and buyers, and thanks to the growth of internet usage, and the increasing number of consumers buying online, this is a sector that has burgeoned in recent years. The result is that transportation and logistics have become ever more competitive, helping to bring down delivery costs for businesses and customers alike. Today, a simple Google search will deliver thousands of specialist outfits to choose from, meaning that you can pick only the best and most competitive to act as part of your supply chain. As a result, delivery times have reduced, delivery costs have lessened, and online buying has boomed.
Improved communications. Supply chains that are faster, more efficient, more well-oiled, and more economical, but little of this could have been achieved without the improved communications abilities fostered by our ever-advancing technology. This allows business associates to be in touch with each other every step of the way, from providing immediate confirmation of orders from the supplier’s end, to sending an automatic signed receipt to the supplier once the buyer has received their delivery. Parcels can be tracked, orders amended at the last moment, and money transferred in an instant from one bank account to another, helping to create a system that is all of the above, and highly functional to boot.
When we look back at the world of business even a decade ago, it is almost unrecognizable from where we are now. If technology continues to develop at such a rate, imagine what we might see if we glance back again 10, 20, or even 50 years into the future. Change is happening, and in the commercial sector, it promises to keep on delivering.
Ben Barlow is a freelance finance writer specializing in stocks and shares, forex and ISAs. After studying business at Lancaster University, Ben worked at a number of financial institutions in London and New York and is now following his passion for writing.
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