In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, effective supply chain management is more crucial than ever. As supply chains grow in complexity, the ability to accurately track and manage operations becomes a significant challenge. 

In fact, did you know that a staggering over 11,600 disruptions were reported worldwide in 2021, and the trend was not slowing down even in 2023? From labor shortages to geopolitical tensions, a multitude of factors are creating challenges for businesses. This is where the need for proper asset management is crucial to ensuring the highest ROI. And how do you get to manage asset tracking? Well, that’s where investing in enterprise software solutions comes in. 

Business leaders can invest in the latest technologies, partner with one of the renowned digital transformation services companies, build their own custom asset tracking software, and automate the process to make your business efficient and resilient. Now, you might be wondering whether asset tracking will be a good choice for your business. So, today, in this blog, we are going to decode the importance of asset tracking for your supply chain and also delve into the technologies that you can leverage to build the most robust and scalable supply chain software for your business needs. Ready to dive in?

What is Asset Tracking for the Supply Chain? 

Asset tracking in the supply chain involves monitoring the location and status of assets, such as inventory, equipment, and vehicles, using technologies like RFID, GPS, barcodes, and IoT. Such technologies always keep you on top of your assets (even in real time). However, modern technologies offer better transparency to empower your business by optimizing time and cost-efficiently.

Asset tracking vs Asset Management: Supply Chain Business

Now, you might be wondering what the difference is between asset tracking & asset management. In short, asset management includes asset tracking (location and status of your assets) but also involves the strategic planning, maintenance, and lifecycle management of these assets to optimize their utilization and value. The best part is that with the latest equipment and IoT-based tools, you can track and manage your supply chain assets accurately with no ‘guesswork.’ Here are the reasons why you should consider upgrading your business intelligence solutions for a better asset management process:

How digital transformation can grow your business?

Key Benefits of Asset Tracking for Supply Chains

Asset tracking is not easy in a large supply chain business, but with the right tools and software, you can track/manage your assets accurately. Here are the benefits you can expect from integrating custom software solutions for business asset tracking:

  • Streamlines operations with the help of real-time data.
  • Minimize delays and reduce fuel consumption.
  • Ensure optimal use of assets.
  • Prevent asset loss and reduce the need for costly replacements.
  • Analyze patterns, usage data, and insights to improve planning and forecasting.
  • Avoid unexpected breakdowns and extend asset lifespans.
  • Lower insurance premiums due to reduced risk of loss and theft.
  • Customers can even track their orders in real time, which offers transparency and satisfaction. 
  • Optimized routes help you with smarter resource allocation for smooth transport. 
  • Asset tracking minimizes delays and unnecessary maintenance.

So, tracking your assets is essential for transparency and safety. But how do you ensure it? Let’s see some examples:

Read More, Key Benefits of Implementing IoT-based Asset Tracking Systems in Supply Chain Operations

How Does Asset Tracking Bring Transparency and Efficiency?

Asset tracking technology, such as GPS, RFID tags, and IoT sensors, has revolutionized supply chain management. These technologies provide precise, real-time status of assets. For example:

  • GPS systems offer detailed tracking information for vehicles and shipments.
  • RFID tags are ideal for monitoring individual items or pallets within warehouses.

Such integration of real-time location data enhances visibility and transparency across the entire supply chain. With the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence, enterprise software solutions monitor the movement of assets at every stage and accurately predict equipment failure, maintenance, and downtime for the business. So, asset tracking not only brings transparency but also drives efficiency by optimizing the entire supply chain and logistics. Remember, reduced operation costs mean a higher ROI.

So, asset management is crucial for your business, but you need to focus on challenges that you usually face in your business. Let’s look at some of the common challenges and complexities in this industry.

The Challenges and Complexities of Modern Supply Chains

Due to globalization in supply chain management, the industry has become more competitive- materials come from one continent, get processed on another, and are assembled on a third. For example, your smartphone manufacturers purchase different parts from different countries and assemble them in your country. Yes, it makes it cost-effective, but it also leads to various challenges, such as:

  • The supply chain includes different manufacturers, distributors, logistics providers, and retailers. So, coordinating and communicating with all these players is difficult.
  • For larger supply chain businesses, goods travel long distances across continents. It often leads to delays due to different regulations, infrastructure issues, and unexpected events.
  • Without advanced tools and inventory management solutions, you may not get real-time data, so asset tracking and management become difficult. 
  • Global supply chains are vulnerable to disruptions. Natural disasters, political instability, and economic changes can affect the entire chain.
  • Different parts of the supply chain use different data systems. This fragmentation management process and lack of transparency often lead to poor decision-making.

For every business leader facing any of these supply chain challenges, you can utilize custom software solutions for better strategies and decision-making. Invest in a scalable asset-tracking solution to improve visibility and gain competitive advantages among your peers.

5 Cutting-Edge Technologies for Your Supply Chain Asset Management

Now that you have identified the challenges of your supply chain management, it is time to get a personalized solution for your business. Here are the technologies that you can use to boost your asset tracking and business efficiency:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

AI and ML are like super-smart assistants for managing staff in supply chains. Imagine AI noticing unusual readings from a machine sensor way before it breaks down. You can fix such things before they become big problems. Moreover, you can analyze the vast amount of data (past sales, trends, customer behaviors, demands, and supply) to utilize your assets properly. 

Maersk implements an AI system that analyzes sensor data from refrigerated containers. The AI predicts issues (like temperature fluctuations) or equipment malfunctions before they happen. Maersk takes immediate steps to prevent such issues. 

Cloud Computing for SCM

Instead of centralized storage, you can take advantage of cloud computing for your business intelligence solutions. It allows you to

  • Access data on inventory, deliveries, and equipment from anywhere.
  • Run supply chain software without expensive upfront costs.
  • Easily scale resources up or down as your business needs.
  • Improve collaboration with suppliers and partners by sharing data securely in the cloud.

Yes, it is possible in the real world. Walmart, a retail giant, uses cloud computing to manage its global supply chain. For their massive business requirements, they need servers in each region to track inventory and optimize deliveries. Walmart invested in cloud computing to access real-time data on stock levels across all stores from a central cloud platform. As a result, they react faster to changing demand, reduce out-of-stock, and optimize delivery routes for efficiency. With the help of modern technologies, Walmart gets a bird’s-eye view of its supply chain.

Internet of Things (IoT) in Supply Chain Management

The Internet of Things (IoT) revolutionizes supply chains- these sensors collect real-time data on location, temperature, and even vibration. Here is how it’s transforming the industry:

  • Ever wonder where your online order is? Retail giant Amazon uses IoT sensors to track packages throughout their journey, giving you up-to-the-minute delivery updates.
  • Moreover, pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer use IoT sensors in containers to monitor temperature and humidity. It alerts them to any potential issues before spoilage occurs.
  • Fleets like those at FedEx use IoT sensors in vehicles to monitor engine performance and predict maintenance needs. It avoids breakdowns, keeps deliveries on schedule, and reduces costs.

Robotics and Automation for Supply Chain Asset Management

Robots are an integral part of the supply chain, especially in asset management. Imagine robots with cameras patrolling warehouses, spotting equipment issues before they cause problems. This is exactly what many companies do with Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs).

According to a report by ABI Research, the use of robots in warehouses is expected to increase significantly by 2025. The report predicts that more than 4 million robots will be in over 50,000 warehouses worldwide by 2025. You can use robots to scan shelves and track inventory, which frees up your staff and reduces errors. Even vast outdoor spaces are no challenge – companies deploy aerial drones to inspect storage tanks and pipelines.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) also plays a vital role in keeping all operations safe and efficient. Automating such tasks provides you with real-time data that you can use not only for asset management but also to make important decisions for your business.

Cybersecurity for Supply Chain Assets

Asset management does not only mean maintaining the equipment and hardware; it is more than that! As supply chains become increasingly digitized, the risk of cyber threats grows, so you need robust cyber security measures to protect assets. Modern supply chains rely heavily on digital technologies such as IoT devices, RFID tags, GPS tracking, and cloud-based management systems. 

While these technologies enhance efficiency and visibility, they also introduce vulnerabilities. Cyber attacks can disrupt operations, cause significant financial losses, and damage a company’s reputation. For instance, a cyber attack targeting a logistics provider’s tracking system could result in lost or delayed shipments, leading to customer dissatisfaction and financial penalties. You need to invest in cyber security strategies to avoid such risks. 

Choose Personalized Supply Chain Software for Your Business

Now that you know the importance of asset tracking and technologies; personalized services and software are essential for optimizing your supply chain operations. It ensures seamless integration with your existing systems, which improves data accuracy and decision-making. Find the right digital transformation services for your company so that you can streamline processes, boost productivity, and gain a competitive edge. Invest in personalized asset tracking software to transform your supply chain management and drive business success.