Flexcon Supporting Growth of IoT Resilient Supply Chain

With the events of the last few years just barely in the world’s rearview mirror, improving the resiliency and efficiency of supply chains is on everyone’s mind. It’s no surprise that the same was true at Promat 2023, and we were proud to be part of the discussion about building sustainability and managing risks through Flexcon IoT resilient supply chain products.

The theme of Promat 2023 was fitting, honing in on the future of supply chains in the digital age. Connected devices and IoT have the potential to change the conversation, but managing physical products still remains vital to building a truly resilient supply chain.

Sustainability, of course, can mean many things. It’s not just about protecting the environment, but also creating tangible business and financial benefits that improve customer and partnership service agreements. Read on for our takeaways on the resilient supply chain and what role both technology and physical products can play in that equation.

What is a Resilient Supply Chain?

Put simply, a resilient supply chain allows businesses to shift and adjust as their needs, and their customers’ needs, evolve. It’s about prioritizing flexibility and adaptability, enabling companies to gain four key abilities:

  • The ability to redefine products and services as customer needs or market conditions change and evolve.
  • The ability to respond to evolving customer needs by delivering products in new or different ways.
  • The ability to reroute products through more efficient supply chain steps as transportation capabilities shift.
  • The ability to reuse and repurpose material handling equipment to reduce waste and improve efficiencies.

As outlined by the Boston Consulting Group, resilient supply chains benefit businesses in three core ways. External market shocks or unexpected events have a lesser impact on business performance, recovery speed from these shocks increases, and the extent of the recovery can be greater. It’s a core risk management technique, made especially relevant by the recent experiences outlining the two impacts a global shock event can have on individual supply chains.

Adding resiliency to your supply chain also means creating processes that are more sustainable. This is where physical products enter the equation, better protecting products and technologies to improve efficiencies and deliverability rates. 

How Does Technology and IoT Factor Into Supply Chain Management?

Supply chains, by default, consist of complex processes involving many stakeholders. Within that environment, information sharing and efficiency can be difficult to achieve. IoT and connected devices can play a large role in changing that equation. 

As it stands, 90% of supply chain leaders are looking to build and enhance their digital supply chain capabilities. Industry expert Dipti Parmar explains just how significant the impact of that digitization can be: 

Today, the easy and real-time availability of data from loggers and other devices encourages “opportunity thinking” – manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and retailers can all plan further ahead, capitalize on opportunities in their chunk of the chain and even take calculated risks to increase revenue.

Thanks to long-range sensors and other connected devices, all parties involved in the supply chain can capture relevant data by tracking products and identifying bottlenecks. The resulting analytics and intelligence allow them to refine the process, creating significant efficiencies in the process. The democratization of that data increases transparency as all supply chain members look to optimize toward the same goals.

How Technology Can Increase Efficiencies in the Resilient Supply Chain Equation

Of course, it’s not just about improved analytics and increased data democratization. The benefits of inserting IoT devices into the supply chain can also make a huge impact on how resilient the chain becomes as a result. 

Through connected devices, IoT provides end users with highly visible, real-time logistics capabilities. This type of technology can improve the resiliency of the supply chain in a number of ways:

  • Smart devices allow storage units to maintain suitable conditions for the products they hold dynamically, which is especially relevant in industries like F&B, chemical and pharmaceutical, and others that rely on sensitive raw materials.
  • Real-time tracking of the products in the supply chain can improve delivery estimates along the entire chain, helping everyone involved, up to and including the customer. Now, we have the ability to know what to expect and when to expect it or make ad-hoc changes to avoid bottlenecks and delays. 
  • Data democratization increases supply chain visibility, allowing critical data to be shared and analyzed from multiple viewpoints to make more informed, realistic decisions about both improving individual aspects of the chain and addressing potential issues.

The effects of these benefits are both real and impactful. Sensitive products that are more protected will play a more significant role in becoming or remaining profitable. Delivery routes can be adjusted to meet the challenges of changing conditions. Customer feedback can be delivered more frequently and dynamically, customizing the purchasing experience in the process.

Built with connected devices in mind, supply chains can become more resilient thanks to increased adaptability. They can also become more sustainable, thanks to decreasing inefficiencies—a process that the right physical products can significantly impact. 

Building Sustainability Through Flexcon IoT Resilient Supply Chain Products

Technology undoubtedly plays a significant role in building the resiliency of your supply chain through improved risk management. But don’t forget about the role that physical products can play in focusing on the sustainability piece of the equation.

Supply chain sustainability is becoming an increasingly relevant and urgent topic. Using sustainable products, not just to ship through your supply chain but to power the supply chain itself, are better for your staff, the environment, and your budget. You might be amazed, for example, at the difference simple corrugated plastic containers can make in reducing disruption and improving cost-effectiveness.

Corrugated plastic containers are a great example of this dynamic. 

Most importantly, these containers are produced in an eco-friendly process, fabricated largely from recycled materials. Their outstanding strength-to-weight ratio means they require relatively few materials to create, while still being resilient enough for multiple trips through the supply chain.

Sensitive products in environment-controlled IoT storage can benefit from these storage containers since they can withstand greater variance in moisture, temperature, and even chemical exposure than most of their counterparts. Finally, these containers can even carry connected devices that provide data, strengthening the risk management equation in the process.

How Flexcon IoT Resilient Supply Chain Products Support a New Wave of Efficiencies

A more resilient supply chain has become a major priority across industries. Technological advances, especially in IoT, are leading the way, but they need the support of the physical environment that continues to form the backbone of the chain.

That’s why it has meant so much for us to build the Flexcon IoT supply chain support infrastructure. Our commitment to sustainability has allowed us to build products designed to be both versatile and eco-friendly, allowing manufacturers and brands across industries to get the storage solutions they need to improve their resiliency.

We’re in a new era of supply chain strategy and management, thanks in no small part to the many and frequent global disruptions we’ve witnessed over the last few years. Increasing the resiliency of your supply chain to protect against similar future disruptions means improving sustainability and enhancing risk management. IoT is an important step toward that goal, but don’t forget that physical products like plastic storage containers play an important role in both the journey and the solution.