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Businesses often cling to established supply chain practices, such as manual inventory management, picking, and packing, even if they are outdated and inefficient. However, such old methods can impede a company's growth and success, highlighting the need for change.


With technological advancements, businesses can now take advantage of supply chain automation. By implementing automation tools correctly, companies can enjoy cost and time savings, enhanced productivity, and future readiness, leading to long-term success. In this article, we'll cover industries that can benefit from this decision and how SAP digital supply chain solutions can help them out in this matter.


Supply Chain Automation: 7 Industries Examples


Examples of supply chain automation across industries

The use of automated supply chain tools has revolutionized the way businesses operate. These tools can automate almost every aspect of the supply chain, from administrative tasks to customer service. Below are some examples of how supply chain automation can improve various business tasks:




Automation can enable manufacturers to receive real-time demand signals from point-of-sale and eCommerce systems to inform their forecasts better, which can help them to optimize their production schedules and reduce lead times.


Additionally, automation can help manufacturers reduce waste, improve supplier collaboration, and enhance supply chain visibility.



Food and beverage

By utilizing advanced monitoring tools, organizations can ensure real-time tracking of their inventory levels and expiry dates. Such technology enables companies to optimize their operations and reduce waste while fostering sustainability.


Moreover, with the ability to track and trace products throughout the supply chain, businesses can enhance their food safety measures, ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, and safeguard their brand reputation.




Automation tools can help retailers enhance their customer experience, reduce costs, and remain competitive in the market.


For instance, automation helps retailers to optimize their inventory levels, reducing stock-outs and overstocking. IT solutions can also aid in improving their order fulfillment process, enabling them to ship products faster and more efficiently.


As a result, the company gets customer loyalty, enhances its brand reputation, and ultimately drives revenue growth.




Supply chain automation can optimize the distribution of medical supplies, drugs, and equipment, ensuring timely and efficient delivery to hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.


This can help healthcare organizations get the following:

  • reduce costs;
  • improve patient outcomes;
  • enhance overall efficiency.


By utilizing automation tools, healthcare organizations can track and trace medical supplies and equipment throughout the supply chain, ensuring regulatory compliance and reducing the risk of product recalls.


Moreover, automation can aid in inventory management and waste reduction, improving patient care and reducing costs.



Logistics and transportation

The logistics and transportation industry can benefit by enhancing the visibility and coordination of goods in transit, improving customer satisfaction.


Tools like SAP TM can optimize operations, improving efficiency and reducing lead times. Additionally, automation can help optimize routes and reduce fuel consumption, cutting costs and improving sustainability.



Energy and utilities

By adopting supply chain automation, energy and utility companies can improve their procurement and inventory management processes, increasing efficiency and sustainability.


Automation solutions reduce the time and effort required to source materials and equipment, ultimately improving overall efficiency. Additionally, inventory levels can be optimized, reducing stock-outs and overstocking, further contributing to overall efficiency.




By utilizing technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence, companies can boost efficiency and minimize errors in the order fulfillment process. This leads to optimized inventory management, expedited order processing, and reduced lead times, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and cost savings.


Moreover, automation enables businesses to track inventory and shipments in real time, increasing transparency and oversight throughout the supply chain.



Final thoughts

Supply chain disruptions are often unpredictable and uncontrollable. Some of them include:

  • public health changes;
  • geopolitical conflicts;
  • rapid demand shifts;
  • shipping delays;
  • climate problems and natural disasters;
  • labor shortages.


However, businesses can control their processes to enhance efficiency, predictability, and resilience. This is where supply chain automation can be beneficial.


By leveraging automation tools, firms can optimize workforce allocation, combining the capabilities of automation technology and human employees. Automating various aspects of the supply chain process can lead to reduced costs, enhanced accuracy, and a more secure future for the business.


Now companies can better prepare for unexpected challenges and ensure their processes are adaptable to changing circumstances.


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