Supply chains across the globe have been disrupted following the prevailing pandemic. Did you know that robots can provide practical solutions to help counter such disruptions? With the right robot for your application, you can ease your supply chain operations and boost productivity. Read on to understand how you can use robots to counter disruptions in the supply chain and facilitate innovation in the industry.
Understanding Supply Chain Interruption
Supply chain interruption is any occurrence that interferes with the normal functioning of a company. The supply chain is a link between a business and its distributors. Any interruptions in that chain could be an indication that the business is incapable of availing products accordingly. Interruptions in the supply chain may arise due to various reasons in today’s world.
While countering some disruptions can be effortless, others are difficult to manage. An example of an easy to overcome supply chain disruption would be sourcing a different local supplier after your usual supplier shuts down.
A difficult to overcome interruption would be tensions between the nation where you source some parts and your nation. This problem becomes even worse when you can’t source parts from local providers.
Groups of Supply Chain Interruptions
Supply chain governance professionals say that various factors can trigger disruptions in the supply chain. These are:
- Natural calamities
- Artificial problems
- Company and financial growth
- Security and cyber exposures
- Geopolitical factors
- Compliance and influence issues
Prevailing Supply Chain Interruptions
The supply chain is currently more disrupted than ever before. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has grounded supply chains, while the growing ship sizes indicate that the world has not seen an end to the recent Suez Canal gridlock. On the other hand, the spiraling appeal for online products is worsening an already complex situation. Below are some of the prevailing supply chain interruptions.
Geopolitical circumstances are constantly evolving, even though the changes seem to be more rapid now than before. Some unique circumstances that may hinder supply chains include Brexit, shifting import taxes, and the USMCA (United States Mexico Canada Agreement.)
Transport and Labor Costs
Offshoring tasks in the past made much more sense seeing that labor costs were way cheaper. However, continued developments in such countries have pushed labor costs up, with entrepreneurs saving fewer costs. Transport is also a crucial factor. With the increasing fuel prices, the further businesses ship their materials and products, the more they pay. Fluctuations also make costs unpredictable.
The 2021 Suez Canal gridlock sent shock waves across the globe as the crucial trade route was blocked for an entire week. Approximately $9.6 billion worth of trade was held up during the unfortunate circumstance. Analysts say that the world should be prepared for similar logistic gridlocks as container ships become more extensive and more goods are internationally shipped along bustling trade paths.
Highly Complicated Chains
The more complicated the supply chain, the more susceptible to disruptions it will be. An example, in this case, would be if you pre-setup parts in one country and source supplies in another. Having a complicated supply chain is not an issue as long as it runs smoothly and you can manage it well. Problems arise when you cannot control disruptions. A simple supply chain is not only easier to run but is also more effective.
Natural disasters, extreme weather, and unstable environmental conditions can interrupt supply chains suddenly. The United Nations mentions that there has been an increase in environmental-based issues lately, indicating prolonged effects on the supply chains.
Countering Supply Chain Interruptions with Robotic Solutions
As previously mentioned, the simpler your supply chain, the less susceptible to disruptions it will be. In this case, the business will have minimal factors that can throw it off balance. Offshoring and outsourcing operations over the years have made supply chains more complex.
Executing operations in their local facilities was more costly for many companies than doing it in other nations. Today, however, robots provide a dependable avenue to execute production within your facility at reduced costs. Businesses stand to gain numerous benefits by deploying the robotic arm in their facilities. Currently, robotic automation is more practical for companies than interrupting the supply chains through offshoring.
Deploying Robots in the Supply Chain to Counter Disruption
Suppose you are considering deploying a robot in the supply chain; you want to do it as effectively as possible. In the past, robot deployments not only took a long time but also interrupted themselves. Today, implementing robotic automation is now fast and more straightforward.
Pre-structured robotic arm application equipment features all the attachments businesses may need to start within the shortest time possible. Today, businesses can complete automated deployment within hours, helping them to counter disruptions in the supply chain quickly.
Propelling Innovation in the Industry
In the past, robots were deployed to help perform repetitive and routine tasks, lacking the flexibility to modify operations easily and needing intricate programming for configuration and implementation.
With robots becoming more sophisticated, configuration times are dropping, the units require minimal supervision, and they can operate. The benefits for the supply chain are increasing as robotics become more able to operate round the clock with consistency and increased productivity.
Robots can execute overly dangerous tasks for humans while driving value and innovation in the supply chain by reducing primary and secondary operational expenses and boosting revenue potential. By deploying robots in the supply chain, companies will:
- Enhance productivity and efficiency
- Boost safety for workers operating in high-risk environments
- Reduce risk, errors, and the need to re-work tasks
- Boost revenue by promoting ideal order fulfillment rates, customer satisfaction, and delivery speed.
- Execute mundane and low-value tasks allowing humans to work together and focus on strategic operations whose automation is impossible
- Augmented learning through the collection and analysis of machine data
- Improved corporate brand by demonstrating cutting edge applications and execution of inventive technology
Today, businesses should consider deploying robotics in their applications. As technology advances and robot prices drop, supply chains in small and established businesses have no choice but to adopt innovative solutions. Apart from improved productivity and revenue, advanced solutions will boost delivery times and improve customer experience.