UControl: The Evolution of Supply Chain Technology
Supply chain and logistics technology is growing at a rapid pace, giving organizations more control over their supply chain than ever before. Just a few decades ago, there was no way to track shipments digitally, whereas now, shipment tracking is considered the bare minimum when it comes to logistics. Not only is this technology necessary to keep your organization running efficiently, but it also allows you to create a better experience for your end customers.
At Unilog, we’ve been at the forefront of logistics and supply chain management with our Logivice program. Logivice is a cloud-based control tower that allows you to take control of your supply chain by compiling information about your products and shipments in real time. Now, we’ve enhanced this service even further with UControl. In partnership with Sensos, we’ve created UControl technology to give you even more valuable information about the way your supply chain works.
With UControl, you’ll place an iSIM sensor on your shipments, which delivers a wealth of information directly back to Unilog. This way, you can closely monitor your products while they are in transit. With UControl, you’ll get a real-time map view of your shipments, including notifications when they hit points of interest throughout your supply chain. Additionally, the sensor provides helpful temperature information and can even indicate when a seal has been broken.
We see this as the natural evolution of supply chain technology. As the economy becomes increasingly global, technology will need to evolve to keep up, and UControl is just one piece of the puzzle.
Technology’s Natural Evolution
This development of new technology and expectations is not unique to supply chains. It’s something that we’ve seen across many industries over the last century as we’ve learned more and improved on our technical capabilities. We’ve also seen the way that consumer expectations change and adjust as new technologies become widespread.
One easy comparison is technology used in cars. In the past, cars didn’t have any sensors to help you while you were driving. The driver needed to process a large volume of information at once and figure things out on their own, which made driving more challenging and arguably more dangerous as well.
Take the fuel tank, for example. To prevent drivers from running out of gas on the road, they introduced a light that would indicate when gas levels were low. As technology improved, this was no longer enough information for drivers. Car companies started including gauges that would tell you exactly how much gas you had at any point, so you could monitor your car’s gas usage and make more efficient driving decisions. In the future, automation and machine learning will enter the picture, which means that vehicles will be able to decide one their own when they need to refuel and potentially even locate the nearest fuel station using location data.
Another example within the auto industry is safety sensors. Over the past few decades, manufacturers have slowly started implementing location sensors in cars, which can alert you if you’re drifting out of a lane or if there’s another car in your blind spot. As this technology has advanced, there are now cars that provide assisted driving and can actually prevent you from drifting out of a lane. There are also companies developing fully autonomous self-driving vehicles, and while they haven’t hit the roads yet, it’s likely that they will become commercially available over the next few decades.
How does this relate to logistics and supply chains? Our technology has evolved at the same pace, and customer expectations have changed along with it. It’s no longer enough to just track the courier number of your shipments and hope for the best – you need further insights into where your shipments are going and what’s happening to them while they’re on route. This way, you can communicate directly with customers to set expectations, solve problems in real time as they’re happening, and use this information to adjust your shipping routes in the future.
Logivice and UControl have made it easy to track where your shipments are at any time. The system also makes it easy to communicate with manufacturers and shipping partners in one place. However, technology isn’t going to remain stagnant – it’s going to continue to evolve and grow over time.
In the future, it’s possible that AI will take over and the process will be fully automated. This means that packages would be able to re-route themselves to avoid weather problems or other issues and ensure an on-time delivery. While we’re still far away from this happening, it’s exciting to think about the possibilities that the future holds with these technologies.
In the meantime, if you aren’t already using technology to manage your supply chain, now is the time to start. Having a solid logistics foundation makes it easier for your company to expand globally and offer international shipping without putting undue strain on your finances and your operations. Working with a 4PL provider like Unilog will help you create an efficient supply chain strategy, and lets you outsource the toughest parts of your logistics to experts who know how to get the job done. Contact us today to learn more about our services and our proprietary supply chain technology.