Nitin Jayakrishnan, co-founder and chief executive officer of Pando, discusses how businesses can embrace new technology to meet the challenges of today.
“Every company and brand globally is now a logistics company,” Jayakrishnan says. Supply chain leaders are finding themselves “front and center” in the drive to enable business growth.
Every business today is also a technology business, he says. New applications are addressing both the supply and demand side, as networks become digitized and move to the cloud.
That said, companies continue to encounter challenges such as labor availability, freight-cost fluctuations and capacity constraints — not to mention broader issues like the need for American manufacturers to reshore production and reduce their reliance on China. “The landscape within which business is expected to operate is more volatile and complex than ever before,” Jayakrishnan says.
Those challenges, however, also offer opportunities to embrace technology in several key areas. One is planning, both for demand and supply, as companies strive to match capacity with actual market conditions. A second is execution of warehousing and transportation, with the goal of choosing the right mode, carrier and service levels in line with customer requirements.
A third area combines the first two, involving creation of a “virtuous cycle” of feedback between planning and execution, as companies “push the envelope forward in becoming more consumer-centric.”
The endgame is creation of an "autonomous” supply chain, as businesses end their reliance on frontline workers as their primary source of intelligence about the customer. With artificial intelligence stepping in to fulfill that role, humans can be freed up to start thinking strategically, rather than having to engage in constant “firefighting” in response the crisis of the moment. The degree to which a company embraces this technology determines whether it’s ultimately a “winner” or “loser,” Jayakrishnan says.
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