Supply chain disruption continues to be a pain point for businesses around Asia and the world. Many industry sectors continue to experience supply chain bottlenecks, raw material and component shortages, infrastructure issues, and continued rotating lockdowns in countries still managing the pandemic.
Within this issue, however, lies an opportunity. By collecting and using data that is continuously generated within and around the supply chains, they can be made smarter, more predictable, and controllable. This benefits FedEx, as well as its customers.
“Data and technology hold the key to unlocking and building better insights, increasing visibility and improving customer experience,” says Kawal Preet, President of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region at FedEx Express. “It’s no longer just information about the package, but also the environment in which the package is traveling that we’re collecting to generate those insights, and ultimately giving more control to our customers.”
Connecting Physical and Digital Networks
Every day, more than 20 million packages move through the FedEx network. Each one of them is scanned around 20 times before reaching its destination, moving in a combination of aircraft and delivery vehicles. FedEx teams around the globe need to be able to act quickly and decisively to ensure packages are delivered at the right time, and to the right place.
FedEx recognized early on how data drives innovation. Today, the analytics center in Singapore works closely with FedEx Dataworks, which is steering the company’s digital transformation using data to help optimize internal operations. The teams use machine learning, artificial intelligence and other advanced analytical methods to improve complex processes, prevent problems or make decision recommendations in real time.
“We are transforming our business to operate at the intersection of physical and digital networks, and to create even more value for our customers,” says Preet.
Big Data Powering Smart Logistics
Among the solutions recently developed is a near real-time package monitoring system that enables customer service and operations teams to anticipate issues, and take action to prevent shipments from being delayed. Predictive algorithms are used to prepare customs clearance information, ensuring that shipments can be delivered as soon as they arrive in their destination country.
In addition to parcel scanning, a sensor device can be placed inside a package or a container to transmit location, temperature and other data related to the status of the package to various types of access points throughout the FedEx network. This enhanced real-time visibility helps FedEx and its customers plan the next steps in their supply chain—for example, making sure that engineers are on site at the right time, ready to receive and install a critical spare part.
As supply chain disruptions look set to continue for the foreseeable future, logistics teams need to be able to think and act with agility. Real-time visibility into the progress of shipments in transit helps to ease some of the stresses of keeping a business on track.
“Using technology and ever greater amounts of connected, continuous and contextual data, we are transforming the way we operate,” says Preet. “Tapping into the full potential of data analytics can help us improve efficiency, reduce errors, avoid problems and increase transparency. And most importantly, deliver more intelligent supply chains for our customers.”