Watch: Navigating Today's Stormy Supply Chain

Watch: Navigating Today’s Stormy Supply Chain

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Today’s highly complex supply chain has to contend with a lack of skilled labor, says Dirk Hejnal, chief executive officer of Körber Supply Chain. That necessitates investment in automation technology.

The continuing labor shortage, whether for skilled workers or not, is driving more supply chain managers to consider investing in automation, Hejnal says. Of course, heightened customer demand for rapid delivery is pressuring companies to invest in automation, because the process of fulfillment is directly tied to the size and capability of one’s labor force.

At the same time managers are coping with labor gaps in their operations, the supply chain is growing ever more complex, Hejnal says. “Therefore, it’s always a discussion about how to deal with data, [and] how to provide sufficient data in order to support management decisions.”

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced analytics are among the areas everyone is interested in now, he says. “So you need the skills to use the multitude of data and data sources, in order to compress the data into a really solid information basis.”

Ideally, every company needs such technology, he says, but it depends on the business. “I think it’s too much to ask small to medium enterprises to have a fully automated suite. The data needs there are quite different. But for large corporations today, this is must-have technology.”

By definition, systems integration deals with complex issues and business processes. That’s why Hejnal says analysis precedes proposals and engaging in new semi-automated or automated warehouses.

To be sure, optimizing the working capital in a company is among the most important initiatives that the C-suite discusses today, Hejnal says. “Therefore, you have to look at everything from inbound to outbound traffic, optimize the speed, and of course minimize the failure rate.”

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